07 March 2008

Are you being Bullied at work? How to tell ...

Being inflicted with bullying at work can cause you great distress, and is a waste of your valuable time and impacts on you personally and professionally. Your employer should care also as bullying effects the companies bottom-line, with impact to work performance, productivity and absenteeism.

Nasty peers and friends whom you thought friends! can really ruin your day and career if you don't see it coming, and it is too late to do anything about it without major effect on you and your health.

Isolating, silencing, ridicule, intimidation, sidelining, putting you down in front of peers ... the list of bullying tactics are endless. Sometimes the victim does not even know it is happening to them, until a nasty pattern forms, some refuse to accept it is happening and block it out, but this aids the bully to continue.

How to identify the behaviour :: How to stop it !
The following is an excerpt from
"Bullies in our midst," from the October 2007 issue of Canadian Living Magazine.

Kelly is an impressive woman: charming, tall, confident and a pleasure to be around. Her track record as a stellar and well-liked employee is impeccable. Kelly, 51, was promoted regularly throughout her career, and people value her opinion; former coworkers keep in touch and often turn to her for advice.

Three years ago, after successfully battling a serious illness, Kelly left a demanding position in the private sector in search of fewer deadlines and earlier nights. She accepted a management position at a government department, working indirectly with youth, because it appealed to her ethics. “The organization had a cause. I liked that,” she says.

Tension at the office
But almost immediately Kelly noticed something amiss. Employees rarely chatted, tension was in the air, and her staff soon began complaining to her about unrealistic deadlines or being shot down whenever they expressed ideas or concerns to management. Many were afraid they were going to lose their jobs because the feedback from the head boss – nicknamed Dragon Lady – was always negative. “They were being told things like, ‘Your work is falling behind; you must be lazy,’” says Kelly.

Then one morning the boss sauntered through Kelly’s department and complained that some of her staff weren’t there by 8:30. “Your productivity levels must be very low,” she declared. Kelly stuck up for her employees and explained that she had given them permission to come in at 9:30 or later when they had worked late the night before. Dragon Lady didn’t argue, so Kelly thought it was the end of that. She was wrong.

“All of a sudden my work schedule became a big problem,” says Kelly, who had negotiated flexible work hours when she was hired to avoid rush-hour traffic. Her boss started demanding that she arrive by 8:30. “It was brought up every week in meetings: Why was I not there earlier?”

Months of pressure

After months of pressure from her boss, Kelly dug out her notes from her meeting with HR and sent a letter to both HR and her superior outlining what had been arranged. Nothing more was said on this topic, but Kelly was ordered to numerous early morning meetings that were irrelevant to her. She ended up staying later, sometimes until midnight, to complete her work and was shut down whenever she offered options. “I felt absolutely humiliated,” she says. “I was being treated like a little child. There were days I cried all the way home.”

One day Kelly lamented her current work situation to a former boss over lunch. He looked at Kelly and told her, “You are being bullied.”

“It was one of those a-ha moments,” says Kelly. “I was able to step out of my workplace environment and look at what was going on as an observer.” Kelly could see the intimidation, fear tactics, shaming and silencing – the bullying.

Source: www.canadianliving.com Story by Susan McClelland

1 comment:

  1. Independent contractors are only independent for tax purposes, you know. They are not always that independent otherwise.