Another blog that I have brought over from Linkedin that I wrote a while back.
Bullying. Oxford Dictionary defines this as “A person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker” Medicaldaily.com say workplace bullying “involves one person, or a group of people, in the workplace who targets another person with unreasonable or intimidating treatment.”
This is has been canteen conversation in almost every company I have worked in and the passion in which people discuss this is always interesting. It has been something that I have experienced personally and I believe that it is right up there with non-professional bullying, depression, heartbreak and cancer; all of which I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even my worst enemies. Admittedly it’s hard for people to understand or empathise with, if they have never witnessed or experienced it first hand, I hope that this blog will give you an incite to how bullying occurs and how it affects individuals.
Throughout my many, many personal conversations and group discussions there seems to be a perception or theme that bullies only prey on the weak because they are an easy target, and I do agree this is an accurate perception, especially in adolescence bullying. The bigger boy picks on the smaller one to further affirm his superior stature over other kids. This behaviour is very common and is the age old story of dinner money being taken, lunch tray flipping, name calling, exclusion and isolation techniques. When you become a little older though, I have observed a major change in the characters that partake in bullying. It’s not always the size or an ability of vocal volume; in my experience, it can be a situation where one is in a bigger position of power or influence over an other, be it an assumed position of authority or an official person in management. Unfortunately, the consequences are very much the same; the victim being unhappy with deep rooted depression, withdrawn from normal social circles, family life or themselves.
The characters I have come across or witnessed in the last 10+ years have always been the person that has been in a job longer and “knows” better than anyone else or, using the term loosely, a team leader. Ben Parker said once to his secret superhero Nephew Peter “With great power comes great responsibility“. I think this is something many people in positions of power have forgotten and rather than using their power to better the lives of others, they choose, consciously or unconsciously, to become a bully and think only of themselves. As they do so, they lose sight as to what their role actually is. Lead, motivate, and inspire to achieve results. Instead, they focus solely on the proceedure and the results and a tick box itinerary to show they are doing what they can to get that next sale, avoid that next cancellation or negative feedback.
My experience of bullying comes in the form of unjust micro management, constant reminders of KPI’s or probation periods. Do as I say, not as I do attitude and sometimes plain and simple aggression. What I disagree with is that it’s only weak people that are bullied, as I said before, some people in higher positions can very organically become bullies. Take Stiffler from the American Pie movie series, in the final movie. American Pie 4: Reunion, we find him working in an office where he himself is a victim of bullying and mistreatment in the workplace. I would challenge anyone to suggest that he is a weak person. In fact, he was pretty much a bully himself with the constant teasing of others in high school. Because he got bullied in the end doesn’t make it okay and this overall piece in the movie was to show how some people can become lost when they don’t forward plan or choose to live in the past rather than just visiting it sometimes. It also highlights the theme of friendship and teamwork.
Bullying zaps my self-confidence and my overall health. I’m not productive, I can’t concentrate and I then don’t enjoy what I am doing. This is true in and out with the workplace. This action and reaction is something that has stuck with me since I was very young and I have developed my own techniques to deal with it. If you are interested to know more on that please do send me an inbox message.
Bullying can be interlinked with so many illnesses these days it’s quite frightening and the stress on our NHS takes as a result is mind blowing. Children that were bullied are six times more likely to smoke, drink too much, develop a serious or even psychiatric illness. By the time these kids are young adults their likelihood of academic success is smaller, post high school friendships weaken and being or becoming obese is probable. Our biggest problem just now is obesity and depression. 2/3 of people in Scotland are obese making us the third fattest country on the planet and for the at least 10 years psychological issues have been high in the top 10 reasons we visit the GP. The amount of money that is spent on treating depression is huge (NHS say £400m with a recommended expansion from 2015 onwards). Medicine and surgeries for treating obesity (Nursing Times say nearly £460m per year and could rise to £3bn by 2030) are also crippling the NHS. I’m not suggesting the stamping out bullying will eradicate obesity and depression but these ailments wouldn’t be considered epidemics.
Thank you for taking the time to look at my blog. You are welcome to contact me at any time if the topic is something that you want to discuss. Equally so if you are just an avid subscriber to blogs, thank you!