Workplace Bullying: 6 Reasons You Are Being Bullied At Work

 / 

,
workplace bullying being bullied at work

Targets of workplace bullying are often generous creatives who foster community and search for innovative solutions to knotty problems, characteristics that contribute to the success of the organizations they serve. So why are these top performers sometimes targeted for abuse on the job?

Let’s meet the players. The Namies (2009), founders of the Workplace Bullying Institute, use the following adjectives to describe bullies: Unpredictable, controlling, manipulative, and jealous. In contrast, targets of workplace abuse are thought of as innovative, competent, altruistic, and highly ethical. If you were to write these eight adjectives out on index cards and lay them upon the table, the opposing natures of the two descriptions are readily apparent, offering insight into who gets bullied and why.

To dig deeper into the bully’s selection process, below is a description of the top six defining traits of targets of workplace abuse, according to research, and why they trigger bullies to pounce. As you read, notice how bullies’ need for control and power thread the narratives (Carbo, 2017; Duffy and Sperry, 2014; Namie and Namie, 2009).

6 Defining Traits Of Targets Of Workplace Bullying

1. Well-Liked:

Targets tend to exude positive energy. They stop colleagues in the hall to see how they are doing and listen intently as they share. When a peer is chosen for an award, selected to work on a big campaign, or secures a record-breaking bonus, targets are often genuinely happy for their friend’s win. Colleagues enjoy targets’ company and often comment on their warmth and authenticity.

Bullies may become jealous of targets’ perceived social capital and spread gossip in an effort to tarnish targets’ reputations and get them excluded from work meetings and social events.

Bullies often employ the tactic of the “silent army” in which they tell targets how “everybody” was gossiping about them after work, but fail to supply names or details. These stories are often purposely fabricated in order to shake targets’ confidence and make them feel like they do not belong.

People Who Bully Others Are Highly Likely
Workplace Bullying: 6 Reasons You Are Being Bullied At Work

Related: When It’s Time To Leave Your Toxic Workplace: 5 Red Flags

2. Non-Confrontational:

Targets tend to be community builders, making sure each person feels like he is part of the team. When someone speaks to a target harshly or leaves her out of an important meeting, she makes the most generous assumptions regarding the behavior. She may think to herself, “I imagine he is just having a bad day,” or “She probably didn’t realize I was not on the calendar invite.”

Bullies seek power through the path of least resistance. When they make a move and meet with aggression, the bullies will usually retreat and seek out a new victim without claws. Bullies may be attracted to targets’ kindness and benevolent worldview and set out to take advantage of their good nature and forgiving spirit.

3. Highly Skilled:

Targets tend to be top performers in their field. They possess rich content knowledge and others often seek them out for advice. It doesn’t take long for targets’ expertise to shine through, resulting in well-earned accolades and promotions.

Bullies, on the other hand, may give the illusion of success, pretending to be experts and top producers. A peek behind their masks, however, reveals bullies’ tendencies to offload work on others, take credit for colleagues’ ideas, and deflect responsibility anytime someone questions their competence or work ethic. Bullies are often intensely jealous of targets’ expertise, so in order to maintain their Oz status, they employ manipulative tactics that enable them to hide their lack of skills in the shadows.

Some People Take Advantage Of You By Imposing Alleged Facts
Workplace Bullying: 6 Reasons You Are Being Bullied At Work

Related: 9 Ways To Develop More Conscientious Interactions At Workplace

4. Internally Motivated:

Targets are in competition with themselves, internally motivated to beat their last efforts. The satisfaction of a well-written article, a thoughtfully run in-service, or a successful product launch is a reward in itself. Targets tend not to require a saturation of external praise to maintain their self-worth.

Bullies’ fragile ego, in contrast, typically relies on constant validation for a job well done. They are more interested in public praise than personal growth. Perplexed by targets’ inward confidence, bullies may become frustrated when they can’t negatively impact targets’ level of performance by withholding their admiration and approval.

5. Curious:

Targets often possess an innate curiosity that calls them to be astute observers of their surroundings. They notice the small problems others have become accustomed to and aren’t timid about asking questions. Interested in growing their knowledge base and appreciative of diverse expertise, they reach out across departments and communities in order to expand their understandings and perspectives.

Bullies are interested in control and power. Targets’ propensity to question often shakes the status quo and calls attention to cracks bullies prefer to keep hidden. Reliant on a steep hierarchy for power, bullies become frustrated when targets make new connections bullies perceive may weaken their role as gatekeepers.

Related: 9 Traits That Promote Stress and Undercut Mental Strength At Work

6. Highly Ethical:

Targets tend to be altruistic, working to do the right thing even when turning a blind eye would be professionally advantageous. If wrongdoing is uncovered, targets first attempt to work through the designated organizational channels to achieve resolution. Though nonconfrontational by nature, if those attempts are ignored or rebuked, targets’ high ethical standards often charge them to become whistleblowers, despite placing themselves in harm’s way.

Bullies tend to be interested in appearances. They need the press release to be glowing and the reviews to be solid. If targets point out problems and shortcomings within the organizational walls, bullies may become frustrated by the exposure and shift to blame, shame, and cover-ups. When targets blow the whistle, they will likely be subjected to bullies’ tirades, wrath, and character assassinations with the most probable outcome of targets losing their jobs.

Related: A 3-Step Guide To Get Your Narcissistic Boss To Like You

In closing, it is important to note that it is not the targets’ fault they get bullied, for the traits they possess are exactly the ones top companies seek in the hiring process.

In contrast, the aforementioned list serves as a call to action to enact protective workplace legislation and adopt strict anti-bullying policies in order to retain top performers and cultivate work environments where employees are encouraged to be curious, motivated to be kind, and inspired to innovate solutions to problems that hamper growth and stifle community. Bullies not only damage targets they collapse organizations. Everyone wins in a bully-free workplace (except the bully of course)!

References

Carbo, J. A. (2017). Understanding, defining and eliminating workplace bullying: Assuring dignity at work. New York: Routledge.

Duffy, M., & Sperry, L. (2014). Overcoming mobbing: A recovery guide for workplace aggression and bullying. New York: Oxford University Press.

Namie, G., and Namie, R. (2009). The bully at work: What you can do to stop the hurt and reclaim your dignity on the job. Chicago: Sourcebooks.

Written by: Dorothy Suskind, Ph.D
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission
workplace bullying being bullied at work pin
Workplace Bullying: 6 Reasons You Are Being Bullied At Work
workplace bullying being bullied at work pinop
Workplace Bullying: 6 Reasons You Are Being Bullied At Work

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

Are Adult Temper Tantrums Dangerous? Recognizing and Addressing the Risks

Are Adult Temper Tantrums Dangerous? Understanding The Risks

Adult temper tantrums can be really unpredictable and you never know which direction they might take. This article is going to discuss the dangers of temper tantrums in adults, so that you know how to protect yourself.

KEY POINTS

Adult temper tantrums are not necessarily physical but can still hurt a partner.

Adult temper tantrums can easily slip into domestic abuse.

Adult temper tantrums are destructive for the person having them and those they are directed against.

Some children have temper tantrums in response to unmet needs or desires. Tantrums are especially comm



Up Next

Spotting Emotional Neglect In Childhood: 8 Important Clues

Spotting Emotional Neglect In Childhood: Important Clues

Anyone who has been through emotional neglect in childhood knows that it never leaves you; it haunts you for the rest of your life. It’s like an invisible wound, that may not leave invisible scars, but it can shape you in ways you might not even notice.

Maybe it was the feeling that something’s missing from your childhood, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it. Well you are not alone. Many people experience emotional neglect without even realizing it.

Today we are going to talk about the impact of emotional neglect in childhood, and what are the symptoms of childhood emotional neglect in adults. This isn’t just another list – it’s a chance to understand yourself and your emotions better.

R



Up Next

Romantic Manipulation: 10 Subtle Phrases To Watch Out For

Romantic Manipulation: Sneaky Phrases That Signal Trouble

Romantic manipulation is sneaky, and it can creep into a relationships without either person fully realizing it. We have all heard those phrases that sound sweet or caring but leaves a bitter aftertaste, making us second-guess our feelings.

Manipulative partners often have a way with words, twisting them to control or belittle. So, are you curious to know the signs of romantic manipulation, and the things manipulative partners say?

Whether you’re navigating your own love life, or just looking out for your friends, this article will help you spot the subtle signs of emotional trickery. So, are you ready to dive in?

Related:



Up Next

Flying Monkeys: The Narcissist’s Secret Weapons

Flying Monkeys: The Narcissist’s Secret Weapons

Have you ever heard of the term “flying monkeys” or “flying monkeys of the narcissist”? Who are they and what do they do exactly? This article is going to explore everything about who flying monkeys are and what role they play in narcissistic abuse.

‘Flying Monkey’ is the term given to those agents and allies that collude with an abusive person. Their role is to continue carrying out tormenting the victim on their behalf.

If it’s during the relationship, the abuser gets to abuse by proxy as it’s other people that are getting their hands dirty.

If it’s after the relationship has ended or you’ve left that job or left that area, it’s a way of perpetuating the abuse. Again though, the abusers hands are clean as others are doing the work for them.

<



Up Next

4 Warning Signs Of A Toxic Leader

Warning Signs Of A Toxic Leader

Have you ever worked with a toxic boss or toxic leader? If you have, then you know how horrible and malicious they really are, and if you haven’t, then read on to know the signs of a toxic leader so that it’s easier for you to understand what you are dealing with.

KEY POINTS

Poor, toxic leaders demand unquestioning loyalty and service to the leader.

Bad leaders rule by a sense of fear, both of outsiders and of the leader’s wrath.

Good leadership empowers followers, shows concern for them, and benefits the collective.

All too often, people fall prey to self-serving



Up Next

Eggshell Parenting Meaning: 5 Signs You’re Making These Mistakes!

Eggshell Parenting: Signs You're Making These Mistakes!

Parenting is one of the most sincere tasks in every individual’s life that should be done with utmost care and coherence. However, the relationship between parents and their children is often tampered by the mental, and behavioral issues of the parents.

Thus, mood disorders and the violent nature of parents can affect the child’s life. Eggshell parenting is one such consequence. In this blog, we will guide you to understand eggshell parenting and show you the risky spots you should avoid.

What is Eggshell Parenting?  



Up Next

Top 6 Most Notorious Serial Killers In History and Their Psychology Unleashed

Top Most Notorious Serial Killers In History

Some of the most horrifying and notorious murder cases in criminal history are those in which the most notorious serial killers caused irreversible harm to society by their horrific deeds. Motivated by an intricate network of psychological, social, and frequently pathological elements, these infamous persons have perpetrated atrocities that persistently enthral and appal the public.

Every instance sheds light on the dark psychology of serial killers, from Ed Gein’s horrific acts to Ted Bundy’s deliberate and planned killings. Investigating these sinister tales reveals not only the specifics of their heinous deeds but also the patterns and reasons behind them, providing insights into one of the most ghastly aspects of human nature.

6 Most Notorious Serial Killers In History