What Kind of Bullies are There in the Workplace?
Many people believe that bullying is something that is found only on the playground. But the fact is that many people find that there are bullies in the workplace. Quite often these are the people that never learned how to stop bullying and have continued their behaviour into adulthood. Adult bullies like children can fall into different types.
Stress Bullies: Adult bullies are often acting out on stress either at home or in the workplace. They are unable to deal with these feelings and take their aggression out on others. This person may not normally be a bully but cannot handle the problems of stress. These bullies tend to be short tempered and are very easily agitated. This type of situation is usually temporary.
The Client Bully: These bullies can be very hard to deal with. Nurses, teachers and people in the service industry tend to fall victims to this type of bullying most often. These people are bullied by the people they are serving. Nurses are bullied by patients, teachers get bullied by students and general customers bully people in the service industry. Often there are strict guidelines that these jobs have to follow so dealing with a bully can be a real challenge. Many people who are power bullies take advantage of people in these professions.
Power Bully: This type of bully uses an employee’s fear of losing their job to intimidate them. They get people to skip breaks, lunches and work longer hours, on a regular basis out of fear. They places unreasonable tasks upon the employee, knowing that they will be unable to finish in a normal day and will have to work longer hours. The victim complies because they are intimidated. This type of bullying often occurs in smaller work places, where there employees do not have resources like an union to fall back on.
Promotion Bully: This type of bully is a person who gets a minor promotion and suddenly gets ideas of grandeur. They become ‘power happy’. They realise that they have been given some authority and begin to exercise that authority but they do not know how or when to stop. Often they are not adept or have the skills to approach the employees in a positive, appropriate manner. This bullying can be easily remedied by sending these people on a basic people skills course.
Controlling Bully: This bully is usually in a position of some authority. They have an obsessive need to be right. The only way of doing things is their way and they will become angry and abusive if any dares to challenge their way of thinking. They feel threatened by change, often feeling like it shows their own inadequacies.
Gang Bully: This type of bullying often targets someone new or different in the office. A group of employees who are friends will target a victim. They will exclude the victim from ‘water cooler’ conversations, lunch activities, use gossip and rumours to intimidate, isolate and humiliate their victim.
They will attempt to undermine the person’s work and make them feel like an outcast. Quite often this type of bullying is hard to stop because the group will stick together, and it is easier for an employer to replace one person who does not seem to fit in rather than the entire team.
Unfortunately no matter what profession you are in you are bound to come across a workplace bully of some kind. Few States or Provinces have any kind of laws or regulations on workplace bullying. Workplace bullying can be very hard to define or prove. Your best strategy for handling these people is to get information on verbal skills and techniques that will enable you to get the bullying to stop. Bullying should never be tolerated.