Top #3 Harmful Definitions of Workplace Bullying

definition workplace bullying

The purpose of my documentary research into the topic of workplace bullying has been to ask several questions – chief among them is:

Can workplace bullying be defined? If so, how and who decides? How do we avoid – and recognize – false accusations? 

Below are some popular ways of defining workplace bullying that may be doing more harm than good. This article recognizes the work of those who have gone before and is respectfully intended to break down silos and build bridges that encourage broader more inclusive discussion as we move closer to a legislative solution.

1. NO HARM, NO FOUL: Continue reading

The Dark Side of The Workplace Bully/Victim

“..the majority of bully-typifying traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychoticism, and the aggression measures) were associated with being a victim…”

Many surveys show that 25-35% of today’s American workforce self-report that they are suffering the devastating impact of bully bosses. But, as a new Canadian study shows, it’s not always that simple. Take for example the darker side of bullying – the Bully/Victim. Apparently some victims may share certain personality traits with their bully; disagreeableness, dominance, and aggression. And, as noted above, this includes the “dark triad” associated with bullying behavior; machiavellianism, narcissism, psychoticism. “As an example, the bully-typifying trait verbal aggression may be directly associated with the bullying of others (Parkins, Fishbein, & Ritchey, 2006). It is also, however, associated with argumentativeness (Diamond, 2005), a possible ‘annoying’ factor that may provoke others to bully those who score highly on the trait.”

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We Believe What We Want To Believe

The two teenagers who killed 13 people and themselves at suburban Denver’s Columbine High School 10 years ago next week weren’t in the “Trenchcoat Mafia,” disaffected videogamers who wore cowboy dusters. The killings ignited a national debate over bullying, but the record now shows Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hadn’t been bullied — in fact, they had bragged in diaries about picking on freshmen and “fags.” [USA Today] Continue reading

New Workplace Bullying Book Offers Hope!

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

When Bosses Are Bullied

We all know it exists.  The co-worker that just makes their boss’ life miserable and meetings are power struggles that hinge on games meant to humiliate the manager and make them look foolish.  Or the employee refuses to provide important information or perform a task on time in order to sabotage their Boss and make them look inept to their superiors.   Maybe the employee’s ideas weren’t implemented or they don’t like the performance review they received.  Maybe they don’t like authority.   Groundbreaking research in this area shows that the impact is the same.  The study below found that: “Over half of the interviewees (including most of the managers who experienced an experience of upwards bullying) reported an increase in stress, along with anxiety symptoms such as shaking and sleeplessness. Interviewees also reported experiencing anxiety attacks and clinical depression.” Continue reading

“Arrogance” in the Workplace

“We are living in the age of arrogance”

Stanley B. Silverman says he was intrigued with the idea of measuring the level of arrogance in the workplace.  Silverman, Russell E. Johnson and several Colleagues came up with the 22 item WARS scale to define these behaviors and the result is both fascinating and confirmation of what many of us have always suspected. The higher the level of arrogance the lower the level of performance, self-esteem and humility. At the core of the arrogant boss is the idea that they need to make sure that “their candle burns brighter” than anyone else by making “everyone else’s look smaller.” In a real life replay of the emperor’s new clothes, messengers are destroyed if they don’t tell these bosses what they want to hear – even if it actually destroys the business. Continue reading