Mobbing isn’t the same thing as bullying. It’s bullying run amuck, sweeping good people into an atmosphere of fear, rumors and lies, where group psychology takes hold. Bullying is an interpersonal conflict between two people, or one aggressive individual against a few. But mobbing is the aggression of a group of people against an individual. It’s not a fair fight. It’s not even a fight. It’s an execution. – Dr. Janice Harper, author MOBBED! A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO ADULT BULLYING & MOBBING Continue reading
Why are some adults more likely to blame themselves rather than the bully boss bearing down on them? A recent study links self-blame (guilt) to depression and shows that this dangerous combo inhibits the ability to express indignation. The first piece of advice most targets of workplace bullying encounter when they seek help is the important mantra that it’s not their fault. This should be coupled at every turn with “seek counseling” to deal with the depression that often accompanies bullying and can lock targets into a feeling of hopelessness rather than seeking proactive solutions or leaving. Continue reading
Found this great “pin” about workplace bullying.It should be posted by every watercooler: Continue reading
reprinted from the American Psychological Association Help Center
Q.How do you manage the prototypical “difficult boss?”
A. Successfully managing a difficult boss is a challenge but often feasible. First, you should try to understand the reasons for your boss’ difficult behavior. Assuming your boss generally behaves in a fairly reasonable manner, and that his/her difficult behavior seems to be a result of stress overload rather than his/her character, chances are good that the behavior can be modified. If your boss’ behavior seems to reflect a chronically hostile, abusive style of interacting regardless of the amount of stress in the worksite, the chances are less positive that the behavior can change. In fact, you may want to consider seeking counsel from a trusted mentor or human resources professional to evaluate your options. Continue reading
BACK OFF! is a remarkably useful and engaging survival guide that can help millions of targets, bystanders, and bullies that want to change their vile ways. I was especially impressed with the practical and powerful guidelines for battling against bullies without becoming one yourself. – Robert Sutton, Author of No Asshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss Continue reading
So, your boss is making you miserable and you’re in that space where you just can’t stop talking about what they did to you today? yesterday? tomorrow? Detail after humiliating detail? And, it’s just not fair and you’re mad and you can’t think of enough miserable adjectives to describe the truly despicable way you’ve been treated? And, now it’s late at night and you’re at the computer and you just want to tell the world? Here’s a sobering infographic I found on the Internet that let’s you see just who is checking out what you have to say. Continue reading
I met Beth through our warm and supportive Facebook Group which encourages targets, past and present, to share information and resources with each other. Beth is publicly sharing her powerful story, printed below, to help raise awareness about the devastating impact of abusive workplaces. She did reach out to the EEOC but says they couldn’t help because her employer was able to make the case that her termination was based on business protocol. The same hurdle is required in the pending legislation she is lobbying for. So, from that perspective, we ask what might have helped her? Some states compensate for the mental duress like Beth experienced and even include back pay/front pay. Currently that depends on what state you live in and many advocates are fighting to have current laws strengthened and expanded on a national level. Our warmest thanks to Beth for sharing her story - for more stories or to share your own go to our sister site NoJobIsWorthThis.com .
This is “My Story” about being bullied by the Practice Manager of a Doctors office. She had been there about three years. I was there over fifteen. Looking back and trying to put the pieces of my life back together. I now know what was the begining of her attempt to control me and the start of the bullying. I was blind Continue reading
Are victim/targets really always powerless?
According to leading researchers Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik and Sarah J Tracy “…Prior research typically characterizes targeted workers as powerless, as the term target might suggest. However, Lutgen-Sandvik (2006), Cowan (2009a), and Meares et al. (2004) all suggest that targeted workers resist bullying in many ingenious ways. These studies demonstrate the social processes involved in resistance as well as the forms of resistance most likely to result in providing relief from abuse. Taken together we see that communication scholars reconsider and critique the notion of the “powerless” target that heretofore has dominated workplace bullying research…” Continue reading
Using the media to bring attention
It’s not unusual for me to get emails with attached documentation from victims/targets suffering abusive work environments. Sometimes they hold up and sometimes the evidence suggests the real bully is the one reaching out to me – angry that they can’t dictate what management should be doing. No doubt mainstream journalists have had access to these stories for years and ethical concerns about printing subjective information that can destroy careers and businesses kill story after story. But, as bullying has become a popular topic among readers it’s now far more common to see allegations of abuse hit the headlines. The latest example out of Minnesota is featured in today’s Star Tribune: Continue reading
This New Years I’m giving thanks to all of you who have supported my work and helped me create a powerful network of websites and videos. Top on the list is my tech guru and videographer, Patrick Perrotto, who has always been there. He freely donated the use of his state of the art broadcast quality equipment and did much of the driving.
Over the years we’ve been to Massachusetts, Texas, New Jersey, New York (numerous times), Virginia (numerous times), Pennsylvania and Canada and I even took a few solos to Wisconsin, Texas & Wales. Pat arranged for Ed Hollema to donate his services as Audio & Asst Camera. Let me put it this way, had we all been paid for our time, services, and equipment it would have easily cost upwards of $200,000+. I am forever indebted to them both. Feel free to help by making a donation of any size.
This year our most popular posts continue to cover a wide range of topics and issues related to workplace bullying. We continue to focus on our mission to critique and offer new voices and alternatives to the current dialogue. Two 2010 posts ( about Mediation & OSHA ) are still extremely popular. Here’s a recap for 2011: Continue reading
I was fascinated by a recent series of articles in the Huffington Post written by Dr. Janice Harper and decided to learn more about her work. [Harper is the author of MOBBED! A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO ADULT BULLYING AND MOBBING ] Her 2010 paper, Just Us Justice, is the culmination of lessons learned from a chilling personal experience with mobbing in the workplace. Anyone uncomfortable that she links this phenomena to lessons learned from the Holocaust should read the in-depth article, Trial by FBI Investigation. The author details Harper’s horrific descent into what has been called an academic witch hunt.
I decided to give her a call and quickly found myself deep in conversation with a fascinating woman. She gave me permission to re-print excerpts of Just Us Justice which include Harper’s own perspective on how to survive mobbing. As important, she raises questions about the efficacy of laws, “zero tolerance,” and the “bully label.”
Just Us Justice
…If you are being mobbed, take an honest look at yourself and your own behaviors in fueling the aggression. Doing so does not in any way justify the violence that is being directed toward you, but just as you learn not to look a grizzly bear in the eyes if you should come across one, figure out what you are doing that is provoking your attackers. Don’t confront your attackers. Retreat, quietly document everything, but get your resume together and start applying for jobs – even if you don’t want to leave. Protect your reputation, safeguard your security and increase your options for escape. Do not accept any claims that you deserve this treatment, but do not accept the victim label, either. You have been mobbed because you have done something – however well meaning, however benign, however unintended to hurt anyone, however legal – but you have done something to trigger a violent reaction in others. The sooner you are able to identify what you have done to trigger these emotions, the sooner you can change your own behaviors and more favorably influence perceptions of you until the mob either diffuses, or you get out of their reach and into a new future…
How Survival Operates
Fighting the mob is like fighting a grizzly bear. When the bear goes after you, friends are going to run as fast as they can – away from the bear. And if you run in their direction with a grizzly hot on your trail, they will be outraged – not at the bear, but at you for putting them at risk. So what do you do once the bear gets a hold of you? Have a fair fight? Give that bear everything you’ve got? Good luck.
The more you fight a grizzly bear, and the longer you are visible and moving, the meaner that bear is going to get. What that means in an organizational setting is that you are no longer engaged in the warfare of work, but are instead facing a genocidal process. Leadership has given the signal that you are to be eliminated and it is okay to attack you, the mob has formed and the bear is coming your way. The more you fight the mob, the more force will be used to compel your elimination – regardless of how accurate, fair or even legal the claims are that are used to justify your elimination. Your anger will be treated as evidence of threatening behavior, your fear will be evidence of paranoid thinking, your confusion will be evidence of your erratic state and mental impairment, and your impaired productivity – from having your responsibilities taken away, your contributions ignored, your time invested in specious “investigations” and fighting for your job, and your emotions exhausted by the sheer weight of the battle – will become evidence that you can’t do the job. Importantly, reason – and public scrutiny – will not stop the aggression, but intensify it. The more you demonstrate that the attacks against you are wrong, illegal and just plain cruel, the more wrong, illegal and cruel they will become.
In order to survive, it may be helpful to take a lesson from those who survived the Holocaust. When the Holocaust got underway, those who fled early suffered the least and recovered the fastest. The longer a potential target remained in the shadow of the genocide, the more they suffered. Thus, the moment you discern the first scent of mobbing heading your way, lay low; if the mobbing has progressed, play dead. It may be necessary to file internal complaints to preserve potential legal claims, but the more you do, the more the aggression will intensify, so ask yourself if you really want to go that route. You may well lose your job unfairly, even illegally, and suffer grave losses as a result. But battling the grizzly bear can cost you your life.
To save it, consider these tactics:
- The more evidence you produce to defeat your attackers’ claims and actions, the more determined they will be to get rid of you – which means finding fault any way they can. Mobbing is not a conflict over facts and reasons, but a conflict over power and emotion. Reserve the evidence for future legal claims if you must, but whatever evidence you provide, keep it to a minimum, fact based, and stripped of emotion or counter-attacks. It may be helpful to have an attorney or pragmatic friend – unassociated with the workplace – draft your complaints or responses for you to be submitted in your name, to minimize the emotion.
- Communicate to your closest friends and colleagues at work (or wherever it is that you are being mobbed) that you want to keep them out of this and will be keeping your distance until this is over. They will be relieved, grateful to you, and have less reason to turn on you. Get your emotional support elsewhere.
- Do not assume that if your conflict involves your status as a member of a group of people (by gender, race, ideology, whatever) that other members of the group will support you, no matter how blatant the discrimination. They will be courted by management, provided rewards, and they will be afraid. They will almost always turn against you. The exception to this rule is when the group has been established within the organization for some time and they are secure with their positions – in other words, they have critical mass. The less diversity within the organization and the more recent the diversification of the workplace, the more likely the other members of the group will declare that there is no discrimination and you are the problem.
- Similarly, do not expect that if you file a sexual harassment action, that feminists will support you, and do not expect that if you are accused of sexual harassment, that men will support you – no matter how vocal they have been about their views on the topic. For the same reasons that those closest to you and a member of your same group are likely to turn on you, you will be alone if you file, or are subjected to, any internal investigation.
- Do not expect that a person’s political ideology, stated values, or religion will have any bearing on how they respond to your attack. The more they are committed to a moral framework, the more strongly they will likely condemn you so that they can persuade themselves that they are acting within their moral code.
- Beware the bully label. If you are angry, complain, or express anything negative, you can expect to be labeled a bully at some point in the mobbing process. Zero tolerance policies for bullying, sexual harassment, racism, discrimination, and workplace violence might sound like progress, but they enable an organization to justify eliminating anyone once they are accused of any of these offenses. Lay low so that you are not accused.
- Bear in mind that the most effective accusations are those which are outlandish, and/or contrary to everything you openly believe in, a principle which Joseph Goebbels well understood when he advised Hitler that if you tell a lie big enough and often enough, people will believe it. If you openly oppose sexual abuse, you may well be accused of sexual misconduct. If you openly oppose racism, you may well be accused of making racist remarks.
- This is because people tend to believe an accusation of such nature could not possibly be made unless there was some evidence to support it.
- Moreover, as people are conditioned to view you adversely and be prompted by “concern” for you and to “watch for” certain signs, they will see what they are told to look for.
- Do not expect threats of lawsuits, appearances by attorneys, internal investigations, transparency, or reporters to calm the storm. It will worsen it. If you consult an attorney, do not let your employers know. An attorney eager for a lawsuit will probably not have your best interest in mind.
- Get out. No matter what the cost, mobbing is not something most survive. Take pro-active steps to protect your health, career and finances by finding new employment, before your reputation and your spirit are destroyed. Whatever the costs of leaving, consider your assets and preserve then. Leave before your reputation is destroyed, your finances wiped out by attorney fees, your spirit savagely attacked. When you are at war, you can win. But mobbing is not a form of warfare, it is a form of genocide, and the only way to survive genocide is to flee.
- Bullied or Mobbed at Work? Read The New Survival Guide (bullyinworkplace.com)
Managmement Today [UK] gives advice on how to deal with BIG EGOS:
If you are their boss
This is your key responsibility – so don’t shirk it, even if they are your star performer. It is rare in business today that one person can do everything; you need the whole team to succeed. Tackle them directly, and in private. The key message is ‘You are great, and you could be even better’. Focus on the fact that this type of behaviour is hindering their promotion prospects.
If you are their colleague
Remember to have the right mindset – you are not trying to put them down, you are trying to help them to be more effective. Tackle them in private, and if you can get another colleague to come along too then that helps. You need to show them that it’s not just ‘you versus them’ but that there is a wider consensus within the team that things need to change. Focus on giving them alternative behaviour strategies.
If you are an underling
This isn’t your responsibility – but you can transform the working environment and your own reputation positively if you choose to tackle the big egos – remember David and Goliath. Strange as it may seem, it’s best to tackle them in a very public forum: our culture does not allow egotists to crush the little people, so you will get back up from others. Focus on how their behaviour is demoralising you and others – so the emphasis is not on them, but the effect it has on you. Try and have a word with one of their work colleagues beforehand so you know you have an instant ally.
We all want great strikers on our team who can get the ball in the back of the net at the critical time. We all accept that with some of these skills is bound to come a good dollop of personal ego, and we can cope with it most of the time. We also all have a duty to stand up to these egos when they get too big for their boots