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Bully Managers in IT Workplace

Type 1 of Corporate Psychopaths

News

Toxic managers

Books Recommended Links Workplace mobbing The psychopath in the corner office Understanding Borderline Rage
Paranoid Managers Female bullies Authoritarians Narcissistic Managers Fighting control freaks Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers) Negative Politeness
Learned helplessness Groupthink Office Stockholm Syndrom Communication with Corporate Psychopaths Surviving a Bad Performance Review Anger trap Communication
Case study of bullies Bill O'Reilly a classic bully John Bolton Work overload Stress Humor Etc

Aggression in inherent in psychopath and to tell that a psychopath is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet. But for some of them this pattern of behavior serves as the most favorite tactics and they tend to use it more often and more systematically. Those psychopaths have a distinct a tendency toward sadism and derive perverse gratification from humiliating and/or psychologically hurting and sometimes physically harming others. They just like to hurt, frighten, tyrannize. They do it for a sense of power and control, and will often only drop subtle hints about what they are up to.  That like physical abuse can let scars, in the form of PTSD. A Wikipedia noted in its Posttraumatic stress disorder

Children or adults may develop PTSD symptoms by experiencing bullying or mobbing.[11][12] Approximately 25% of children exposed to family violence can experience PTSD.[13] Preliminary research suggests that child abuse may interact with mutations in a stress-related gene to increase the risk of PTSD in adults.[14][15][16] However, being exposed to a traumatic experience doesn't automatically indicate they will develop PTSD.[17]

It has been shown that the intrusive memories, such as flashbacks nightmares and the memories themselves, are greater contributors to the biological and psychological dimensions of PTSD than the event itself[18].

At the same time they polish their aggressive, domineering manner in such a way to disguise any intimidation as legitimate corporate behavior. When we state that bullies are aggressive it does not mean that they stride into bars and start fights. First of all, many of them, especially high authoritarian brand, go to church more often than they go to bars. Secondly, they usually avoid anything approaching a fair fight. The classic example of a bully that you can study as an example what you need to deal with in corporate environment is a notorious FoxNews talkhead Bill O'Reilly. Here is a tutorial example of a bully behavior toward subordinate although the situation is slightly different:

Something more about behavior characteristic of such guys Bill O'Reilly Goes Nuts.  Those guys can be very tenacious even facing much intellectually stronger opponents replacing arguments with showing Ron Paul schools Bill O'Reilly. Here is another example Bill O'Reilly Gets Owned by Joan Walsh

Such pathological personalities always seek out positions of power, such as teacher, bureaucrat, manager, or police officer. You can also distinguish several subtypes. One not very convincing subtyping was developed by the Workplace Bullying & Trauma Institute. It includes for subtypes:

Ms Horm (cited in MacDonald, 2004) state, “Studies indicate that bullies are actually inept people who are not talented, maybe have a rage against themselves that they express outward toward people they see as being better than they are. It’s from a point of weakness that they express their violence toward others” (p.2). Thus, without the green flag there is little room for the bully boss and it is she or him that must prepare to leave the organization as opposed to the victim of the bullying.

Often bulling behavior is combined with paranoia tendencies (paranoiac self-defense).  Again this category is fuzzy.

  1. Many if not all corporate bullies can simultaneously be classified as paranoid managers.
  2. Many of them are also belong to the category of micromanagers.
  3. Dominant part also falls into the category of narcissists.

I would like to stress it again  that aggression in inherent in psychopath and to tell that a psychopath is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet. 

US National Center for Education Statistics suggests that bullying can be broken into two categories:

The most typical sign of indirect bullying is forcing the victim into social isolation. This isolation is achieved through a wide variety of techniques, including refusing to socialize with the victim and criticizing the victim's communication manner or other socially-significant markers.  Indirect bullying is more subtle and more likely to be verbal, such as the silent treatment, arguing others into submission, manipulation, gossip, staring, and mocking. While women can be as aggressive or even more aggressive then men (gender differences in aggression are subject to review; human society is too complex and direct project from animal world for example from great apes is of limited value) they usually are more indirect.

Here is one type from popular literature that fits the pattern:

The Fearmonger Boss. People do what a “fearsome” boss says because they’re afraid of him, which actually encourages further intimidation. He always has a threat, and he constantly follows through with that threat in order to keep his employees acquiescent.

Simplifying you can assume that most "classic types" of corporate psychopaths are simultaneously bullies. For example micromanagers (especially paranoid incompetent micromanagers -- PIMM) often are one trick ponies and just try to hammer suckers who are unfortunate enough to be their subordinates  into complete submission. Like a cancer, most organizations are infested with bullying in one form or another. Side effects of bullying may include low efficiency, bureaucratic muddle, lack of accountability, incompetence, greed, dishonesty and corruption. Bullying at is rife is large corporation. For example BBC managers have been described as "managers and damagers" ! Companies can develop corporate psychosis, corporate narcissism (ref, for example, Enron or Worldcom) or their own brand of Lysenkoism.

As being a bully is typical for all types of corporate psychopath this category, in general,  does not bring you to any deeper understanding of the problem you face. Bullying is just one of the intimidation tactics used by all corporate psychopath, especially narcissists (extremely easy to mix with bullies), micromanagers (more subtle strangulation type of bulling is used in additional to traditional methods of bullying) as well as paranoid bosses ( hypersensitive to critique and often taking offense where none is intended). 

Like with any type of corporate psychopaths only extremely naive people can expect to reform bullies.  Actually the best insight into bulling can be obtained not from reading "bulling self-help" literature, but from literature devoted to the analysis of  the behavior of the leaders of high demand cults.  The same is actually true for narcissists. Neither bullies nor narcissists usually act alone: they try to create their power base of patsies. And  you should not underestimate the role of patsies in bulling.  "Mobbing" -- a group activity at work in which one person is singled out to be eliminated is often the way bullies deal with their targets. Study after study in psychology proves that people draw a perverse strength from the group and will do in a group what they would never do alone. As Susan Dunn noted in her paper  Mobbing in the Workplace Has This Happened to You,

Normal moral behavior, common decency, if you will, is discarded by the same sort of mentality that produces a gang rape. Done by peers, subordinates and/or superiors, the goal is to force someone out using gossip, ostracism, intimidation, discrimination, humiliation, and just plain meanness.

As any psychopath  use violence to achieve their goals, those who are classified as bullies just use it more frequently and are more sophisticated in this type of sadism. Again it is very naive to think that they can stop that practice by appealing to their senses. As psychopaths they have none.

Female bosses are usually more cunning and inclined towards more sophisticated bulling (see Female Bullying ):

They also tend to more often combine direct and indirect intimidation (like ignoring you).  Again this is a kind of low-grade sadism, and most  bullies both male and female are undeniably sadistic and just enjoy to inflict pain. Female just tend to be more  malevolent, mean-spirited, and nasty. I think females constitute larger percentage of micromanagers, especially a special type which I call paranoid incompetent micromanager. Like one correspondent aptly formulate it: "I hate to say it but female bosses are worse than male bosses when it comes to attitude and bullying." They usually are more malevolent too. When organizational psychologist Mary Sherry wrote in a national newspaper that female managers were far more likely to bully staff than male ones it triggered a large reader response - almost all backing her view.

Tim Field believes the stereotypical view of men as aggressive and women as nurturing often prevents the female serial bully from being seen for what she is:  "A sociopath in a skirt."

It is important to understand that bully just want to "get" the target. The bully's criticisms and allegations, are usually based on distortion, blame and fabrication. They are fabrications for the purpose of control. Their typical tactics include:

Number One mistake people make is to not recognize the serial bully as a sociopath or disordered personality

Naivety is the greatest enemy - most people can't or won't believe that the person they're tackling is a serial bully, and consequently expect the bully to recognize their wrongdoing and make amends. Serial bullies cannot and will not - but they will ruthlessly exploit other people's naivety to ensure their own survival.

Never underestimate the serial bully's deviousness, ruthlessness, cunning, and ability to deceive - and their vindictiveness. The serial bully is easy to spot once you know what you are looking at: Jekyll and Hyde nature, compulsive lying, manipulation (or emotions, perceptions, beliefs, etc), unpredictability, deception, denial, arrogance, narcissism, attention-seeking, etc - whilst always charming and plausible, especially when impressionable witnesses are present.

In memory of Tim Field
The Gentle Man Who Battled The Bullies
24.4.1952 – 15.1.2006

 

The British Chartered Management Institute   distinguishes between 11 types of bullying behavior. According to the study, Bullying in the workplace - the experience of managers , the most common types were:

Other forms of bullying, in descending order:

According to available data women constitute the majority of targets, making up 75% of all victims of bullying. Tanenbaum also found that professional women were often hardest on their own sex [My boss, the bitch]

"Many professional women confess they prefer male rather than female supervisors. They complain that women at work refuse to share power, or withhold information, or are too concerned about receiving credit for every little thing they accomplish, or are cold toward underlings (male and female alike). In such complaints they use the word 'bitch' a lot," she says.

Tim Field believes the stereotypical view of men as aggressive and women as nurturing often prevents the female serial bully from being seen for what she is: "A sociopath in a skirt."

... ... ...

Evelyn Field said female bullies were often more subtle in their behavior than their male counterparts. "Women are usually less physical, they would use techniques such as excluding others, over-supervising and controlling and verbal abuse."

Ricky Nowak, a workplace communications training specialist and head of the company, Confident Communications, says women's bullying is "often quieter, behind closed doors, over the phone, via curt emails, or through giving their staff a sense of . . . (being overwhelmed), for example: asking women with families to stay behind when they don't really have to do so."

Nowak runs leadership groups for professional women and says she has had many disclosures from women admitting they had bullied their colleagues.

"It was behavior such as intimidating others, standing over them, giving colleagues the silent treatment and so on."

Evelyn Field describes bullying as a problem for everyone. "The micro level is the individual target who can be affected emotionally, physically, socially, career-wise, financially, family-wise over a long-term basis and many of them have severe health problems," she says.

"The onlookers also get affected — 20 per cent of onlookers will leave the job, others will have sick days and suffer poor morale. And the cost to industry is enormous — bullying is everyone's problem."

In the article by Roger Dobson published by Independent (Beware the bullying female boss)  the author stated:

"Workplace bullying among women is increasing, partly because they are occupying more senior positions," said Tim Field, an Oxford counselor who runs anti-bullying workshops. "Women when they are bullies tend to be more manipulative and divisive, whereas men in the same situation are more overtly hostile.

Women also tend to leave less evidence about their bullying activities. "In around 10 per cent of the cases dealt with by the advice line, suicide had been contemplated. Eight cases involved actual suicide." Elaine Bennett, a director of the Andrea Adams charity which was set up to tackle bullying, believes that the increase is probably in areas where women have not been in positions of power before. "Where women have been at the top for a long time, as in health and education, you do get the tyrant matrons and headmistresses."

She says that in some cases women moving into management jobs are copying the male managers who held the job before them. "Women who are finding themselves in roles which hitherto have not been held by a woman - maybe they are the first one on to the board or to be a senior manager - may well take on some of the traits of male managers with much more of a macho aggressive culture," she said. National Workplace Bullying Advice Line: 01235-834548.

Bullies don't usually torment everyone. Like any corporate psychopath bully at times can threaten and manipulate any of his/her subordinates, but usually they are very selective and carefully chose the victim. They like to intimidate people who are somehow bound to the particular place stronger then other or have nowhere to go. The factors that affect target selection include: the depth of the bully complex of inferiority, ability to bully without being punished or confronted, the level of target resistance and skills in countering bulling, etc.  In many cases, the serial bully appears to select targets in the order of his/her perception of danger of exposure of inadequacy.

Often bullies use deception combined with amoral behavior and blatant abuse of power that reminds the behavior of high demand cult leaders. And this analogy is actually far from being superficial. That's why it is extremely important to see bigger picture and along with bulling see all set of tricks used by a corporate psychopath. You need to study the topic and probably get some external help. If you are dealing with a psychopath remember that naivety is your  greatest enemy.  Attempts to "change" a psychopath are doomed and counterproductive.

One often neglected type of bulling is strangulating over controlling (aka micromanagement). Few publications consider it a typical "corporate style" bulling. Among few exceptions is a book "The Bully at Work" by Gary and Ruth Namie  They defined controller in the following way (p. 70)

The bully lives, eats, and sleeps to control others.  She never really experience life in any other way. Living, for her, is to control other with power. The power, real or imaged, she is both in title and her ability to generate fear and chaos in a work group.

Obsessive desire to control other is actually the modus operandi of all corporate psychopaths. Methods used can be different and have quite wide spectrum of individual variety but the essence is always the same: to control and enslave other like members of high demand cult. To protect themselves  from rebellion bullies destroy group solidarity by selecting set of patches and all spend a lot of time in "kiss-up" activities. They are usually well connected and adept in schmoozing up.  Among typical corporate micromanagers is a stereotyped harsh and petty female boss (over promoted secretary) or as this type sometimes called "paranoid incompetent micromanager" (PIMM).

Here are eight typical signs that you are bullied by a corporate psychopath: 

  1. Unrelenting petty control of projects and other activities.  Overcontrolling is type of intimidation preferred by psychopaths with obsessive disorder (control freaks); please note that over-control is the type of intimidation that is used in the same way as other intimidation methods. 
     
  2. Unfair and/or unexpected critique of your performance. Criticisms and allegations, which are ostensibly about you or your performance and which sometimes contain a grain (but only a grain) of truth. But generally they are targeted at you not your performance.
     
  3. Wooden-Stick Behaviors:  Behaving in rigid, inflexible, and controlling ways including severe cases of micromanagement ("my way or highway" mentality). This is typical for all corporate psychopaths but especially well noticeable in bullies.
     
  4. You have a distinct feeling that workplace became a constant battlefield
     
  5. She constantly ignores you:  do not answer your phone calls and emails.
     
  6. She rarely inform you in written and explicit form about your assignments. They prefer using phone instead or pass them via patsies in order to be able to twist it later; at the same he/she expects you to guest their slightest whim and run to do whatever humanly possible to meet their expectations.
     
  7. You perceive that the reason for being bulled is that fact that you refuse to be subservient, to not go along with being controlled.  Bully often envy the target skills, knowledge or the ability to work with people.
     
  8. Group solidarity is destroyed. Bully instantly and purposely destroys group solidarity. That was they eliminate group resistance.

See also an excellent article by Joan Lloyd Management doesn't mean mind control; use power responsibly in St. Paul Business Journal (November 8, 2002 ).  In her WSJ article Overcontrolling Bosses Aren't Just Annoying; They're Also Inefficient Jared Sandberg noted :

Deeply untrusting and puffed up with some devil-in-the-details justification, control freaks wrest tasks from colleagues, along with the colleagues' sense of self worth. It's as if they were burned by someone or something long ago, and everyone they come into contact with is a walking evocation of the past demon. The irony is that in the name of efficiency and cost savings, these managers are often the most guilty of operating far below their pay scales.

Really close to bullies is an extreme type of micromanagers -- control freaks who more use strangulating control then direct attacks although they can use combination of both.  Both are typical and stereotyped corporate psychopath behavior. They are just variations of the same behavior pattern.

One of the better articles on the subject is the column by Tristan Loo How To Deal With a Difficult Boss.

The serial bully appears to lack insight into his or her behavior and seems to be oblivious to the crassness and inappropriateness thereof; however, it is more likely that the bully knows what they are doing but elects to switch off the moral and ethical considerations by which normal people are bound.


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[May 25, 2014]  IDG Connect – Is Bullying Rife in Tech by Kathryn Cave

May 21 2014 | idgconnect.com

“It was quite insidious,” says Alex [false name]. “The odd comment here or there. And he’d work his way through the team. Then he started on me and I stood up to him… and it got really ugly. Really ugly - to the point where I went and got a lawyer.”

“I am a really strong person,” continues Alex. “Anyone that knows me is just shocked by what went on. But he undermined me so much, it was this whole campaign. It got to the point where you think: am I imagining this is happening? It was very manipulative and subtle: complete psychological and mental bullying. It was awful. And it wasn’t [just] a mental health issue. It was a physical thing. One day I literally started haemorrhaging blood…”

It is at this point that the naysayers will often step in. If it is female being described she would be casually dismissed as “emotional” and most likely “always running to HR”. If it is a male, this it would be the moment to give a kind of appalled snort: clearly he should “man up” and learn to deal with “tough management”.

Yet throughout our conversation, it is plain to see that Alex is extremely bright and analytical; not overtly weak or emotional.  This is a firm, likeable and very self-possessed person. And still, although this happened five years ago, Alex is only starting to get over the experience now.

22% of IT Professionals Have Taken Time Off For Stress

The latest research from the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), released in Feb 2014 [PDF] shows 27% of adult Americans have directly experienced “repeated abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or work abuse.” And Dr. Namie, Director of WBI and widely regarded as North America’s foremost authority on workplace bullying, stresses this figure would have been far higher, if he had been less stringent with the definition.

Bullying is extremely hard to define. It can cover a raft of abusive behaviour, from obvious horribleness, such as shouting, hectoring and physical maltreatment. Right through to a devious spectrum of Machiavellian, psychological techniques, designed to break the victim from the inside. This can include too much work, too little work, ill-defined expectations, constantly changing the goal posts, along with the usual schoolyard fare of whispering in corners and making people feel worthless.

 

There is no overt legislation against it, and not only is it difficult to prove, it often takes the recipient a long time to realise it is really happening.  “I was paranoid. I had depression,” explains Alex. It had a terrible effect on me. To the point where it made me question my sanity.”

There is some evidence to suggest that whilst this problem exists everywhere, things might be worse in tech. In 2008 Computer Weekly produced an article which stated that the “IT profession is blighted by bullying”. Based on research from the UK Trade Union, Ignite, this showed that out of 860 IT professionals surveyed “65% believed they had been bullied at work, and 22% had taken time off work because of stress caused by bullying.”

Sam [false name], a senior IT professional I consulted, agreed with a lot of the findings but demurred: “To me it is not bullying, but sheer incompetence, and cronyism. Lack of openness and accountability at the top, micro-management and over-scrutiny, a lack of appropriate training and HR being useless. I have seen it, wondered how bad it can be - then experienced worse.”

Steve Jobs, the Tech Industry & IT Professionals

It is extremely difficult to pinpoint issues within IT as a whole because the community is non-cohesive. There are those who work in tech companies - in a range of capacities - and those who work in IT, in a wide range of industries. Yet many people agree that, like teaching and nursing, the tech industry itself, is particularly riddled with bullying.

Steve Jobs is the poster boy of both tech entrepreneurialism and bully-boy tactics. Dr. Namie believes his example is fairly common. “The narcissism of the tech entrepreneurs is excessive. The type of personality who starts these kinds of companies are very tough to deal with. They’re quite full of themselves and they’re not about democracy or inclusion. So, they’re natural bullies. But the media will never call them bullies because they’re seen as geniuses and they’re the inventors of our era.”

As late as this April, Jobs’ bullying made the news (again), as tech workers appealing to the legal system about Google, Adobe, Intel and Apple’s alleged conspiracy to keep workers’ wages low were asked to refrain “from unfairly portraying Jobs as a “bully” at the trial.” Cult of Mac reported “the companies said they don’t want the court to ban all of the Jobs evidence, just stuff gleaned from sources like Walter Isaacson’s biography that paints Jobs in a bad light.”

“A tech firm is like a dysfunctional alcoholic family where the parent is the drunk,” says Dr. Namie. “The poor family. Nobody else drinks but they all have to walk on eggshells. People check their dignity at the door in those kinds of companies. They live a deferred life because the sun is burning so brightly at the top of the company and everyone else is supposed to be a bunch of nothings. It is sickening. Our biggest task at WBI is trying to get people to understand they deserve more.”

He feels fundamentally, this stems from two factors: “[The first is] there is no boundary between home and work. The second is work pace.”

“Those two [factors] combined, make that industry so bullying prone, it is pure chaos. And people who get into it initially get a buzz form it, but they are human wrapped in the technology experiment [and] they underestimate the fact that biologically our stress response is way behind our technological need to innovate.”

Alex however, isn’t sure if bullying is worse in the tech industry than in others: “I’ve only ever worked in tech and so, I don’t know, I wouldn’t be able to comment. [What I do know though is] I wanted to have a career. And the industry is small. You don’t want to be seen as a trouble maker. You think: people will badmouth me.”

Sam, who holds a senior position in a large, traditional IT company, describes personal experiences as: “a classic tale of incompetence, [the] old boys club looking out for each other [and] HR being utterly useless. [These people] get promoted because they are safe and can be trusted, not because they are competent.”

“Not sure it is specific to IT-industry though? I believe this happens everywhere. There is a ‘leadership deficit’ in the world, in companies, in politics, everywhere.”

A Leadership or HR Issue?

“All of the business articles think that bullying is an HR issue,” says Dr. Namie. “It is not, it is a leadership problem because they establish the culture. HR does not establish the culture. So it should not be handled by HR, it should be handled at a leadership level. HR is the worst place to go. They are terrible in the States. ‘Feckless’ is the word I would use.”

Pam Farmer, an independent HR Professional, who runs consultancy firm Change Map and has 10 years’ experience of workplace bullying, agrees with this, to a certain extent: “It is critically important for the HR managers in the organisation to be fully confident that the bullying/workplace behaviour/conduct policy can be implemented and that they can run an investigation which is fair and free from interference.”

“Many HR people, 'HR Business Partners', can be too close to the business and do not stand sufficiently apart from line managers,” she continues. “They either see the complainant as a problem to be managed away or are themselves afraid of being victimised.  The HR community in general needs to recapture an independent position in this particular area.”

Both Dr. Namie and Pam Farmer stress that the organisational culture establishes a bullying environment. Farmer says “negative workplace behaviour can happen anywhere, in any profession and at any level. Yet she lists a series of factors that make this worse: poor standard setting; a high degree of change or pressure; a poorly understood or implemented performance system; poorly selected managers; and of course, limited opportunities to find other jobs.

Dr. Namie has run his organisation for 17 years and feels that companies should “care more” about the problem. However, they “either like the bully, they are afraid of the bully or they are the sponsor of the bully. In one way shape or form they are letting this go on and on.”

This tallies with Alex’s experience. The bully was a person in a senior position; he was head of the UK office, who remained unmanaged and unchecked by the business. This led to a top-down culture, where bullying was condoned throughout the rungs of his team.

The Bully vs. The Bullied: A Different World View

 

In extremely simplistic terms Dr. Namie believes these problems in the workplace stem from ideological differences. The people who are focused doing a good job are a very different breed to the people who are preoccupied with the career ladder. In black and white terms this is the political people vs. the non-political people: “the ones who care about the work and the ones who care about personal agenda.”

“That is the major distinction,” he explains. “The bullies are driven by their agenda. They fill their days with political dealings [usually] to the detriment of the company. So it is never about work getting done. It is never about being a tough boss, it is about getting it done for me.”

The people that tend to be targeted fit a profile too he says: “[They tend to be] a strong worker, a veteran worker and a technically skilled worker.”

“The target of bullying is a highly studied area,” agrees Farmer. “It may be that the bullied target is very good at their job, is anxious about their job, or speaks their mind, or is an independent thinker [there are] a whole variety of reasons.  Self-confident people who are viewed as 'strong' by others, can be targets for bullying.”

The best book written on the subject, “Bully in Sight”, is by Tim Field: a man who suffered a mental breakdown after being bullied in the IT workplace and died tragically young. In this he explains: there are “many reasons” why a person is selected for bullying but the two that “stand out head and shoulders above the rest are: being good at your job, often excelling; [and] being popular with people.”

This can, of course, manifest itself in a few different ways. Employees can bully managers. Peers can pick on peers. Yet in the words of Field: “Most cases of bullying occur when a manager uses the opportunity of position to bully a subordinate.”

“To try and convince someone that is thoroughly competent that they’re incompetent is a very cruel act,” says Dr. Namie. “A lot of time is spent doing that: they have the audacity to crawl inside someone’s head and tell them who they are, rather than letting people be who they are.”

”Bullies don’t come to us for study. But we meet them when we do consulting and – [if you] remember the narcissism, you won’t go wrong.” Delroy Paulus of Colombia University has identified the dark triad [pdf] of personality traits that normally show destructive people,  explains Dr. Namie, although sadism has subsequently been added. 

These people are (on a sliding scale) narcissistic, psychopath-like, (in that that they tend to lack remorse) and Machiavellian. “Look at that package - these are the people who are willing to meddle with others,” he continues. “They fill their days with political gamesmanship. And the other people, the targets, come to work to do their job.”

“[For the bullies] climbing the ladder is all of their work. It is their focus. It becomes a zero-sum game where they must obliterate all competition. They see co-workers as competition as opposed to peers, or a possible pool of friends. They see them as someone to dupe, overcome and climb over. And it is just Machiavellian. And some people don’t have that view at all. They’re co-corporative. They’re nice. They’re kind. The targets are in that group.”

“[For the bullied] the trauma comes from a destruction of their world view. [They believe]: If I work hard I’ll be recognised and I’ll be paid adequately and I can stay and do what I love, but they are cruising for bruising. If they fall into a workplace where they are arbitrarily assigned to one of these cruel people life for them is just horrible.”

The Bullied are Widely Ostracised at Work

The picture that emerges of the workplace is pretty bleak. “There are studies which show that the kind or altruistic worker is the one the group expels first. Because they can’t stand the fact that they set such a high moral standard. We’re afraid of the real people,” says Dr. Namie. “We’re scared to make friends with people [in the workplace].”

It is certainly true that ostracism is a big part of the experience of being bullied. “People outside the bullying situation and in the immediate environment (colleagues) are often fully aware of the bullying going on but 'do not believe it is my business' to intervene or raise the issue to anyone who could intervene,” says Farmer.

“The reasons are complex and research is being carried out into why bystanders remain on the side lines. My experience indicates that bystanders are willing to raise their concerns only if the organisation has clearly come out against bullying and that the bystander feels that they will not also be victimised or bullied,” she continues.

“I lost all my friends there,” says Alex. “People close ranks the moment they get frightened. And you become an outsider. People stopped talking to me which was terrible.” Everyone knows that social ostracism hurts, yet as Dr. Namie explains: “From functional MRI studies [pdf] we know it is genuine pain.”

What Can We Do About It?

The lack of clear definition, and deficit in legislation, makes workplace bullying extremely difficult pinpoint, let alone tackle. On top of which, people often turn inwards, blame themselves, or refuse to accept anything is happening at all.

“People need to know that they don’t need to take it,” says Dr. Namie but the terrible truth is “if they’re the sole wage earner they can’t move lightly.”

This is a serious problem that we all need to be aware about. It runs rampant through many organisations, poisoning whole teams from the inside. Whilst for the victim, bullying causes massive physical and psychological distress, leading individuals to doubt their entire work identity. This, in turn, fundamentally impacts their life and career; many feel they will never get another job again.

“Some people don’t come through it,” says Alex. “It is scary. I say to my children: you have to respect people. I’m a manager and you have to respect people and see them as a person. He didn’t care. He was awful. And I was a gibbering wreck.”

[Apr 19, 2014]  Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge 

April 16, 2014 | Slashdot

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-takes-real-effort-to-be-this-wrong dept.

An anonymous reader tips news of an incident in a Pennsylvania high school in which a student, Christian Stanfield, was being bullied on a regular basis. He used a tablet to make an audio recording of the bullies for the purpose of showing his mother how bad it was. She was shocked, and she called school officials to tell them what was going on. The officials brought in a police lieutenant — but not to deal with the bullies. Instead, the officer interrogated Stanfield and made him delete the recording. The officer then threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping. The charges were later reduced to disorderly conduct, and Stanfield was forced to testify before a magistrate, who found him guilty. Stanfield's mother said, "Christian's willingness to advocate in a non-violent manner should be championed as a turning point. If Mr. Milburn and the South Fayette school district really want to do the right thing, they would recognized that their zero-tolerance policies and overemphasis on academics and athletics have practically eliminated social and emotional functioning from school culture."

Update: 04/17 04:36 GMT by T : The attention this case has gotten may have April 16, 2014April 16, 2014something to do with the later-announced decision by the Allegheny County District Attorney's office to withdraw the charges against Stanfield.

killfixx 

Rewarding the bullies... (Score:5, Insightful)

This is why people don't like going to the authorities...

Not only was his problem not taken care of, but he was actually punished for trying to protect himself non-violently!

Fucking ignorant fucks!

I usually don't feel this way, but as a person who was endlessly bullied, I hope they eat a bag of diseased dicks.

Another person who will be afraid of authority.

And, what if this kid commits a Columbine-esque revenge scenario? They'll blame it on some other bullshit, not their own lack of souls...

FUCK!

cusco  

Re:Rewarding the bullies... 

When Columbine happened the first thing that came to my mind was, "If it had gone a little further when I was in school . . ." A friend who was also bullied in school said that she had the exact same thought.

schlachter 

Re:Rewarding the bullies... 

can the police officer force the boy to destroy evidence?
what would have happened if the child refused?
is that a PA law? In some states you can record.

shess

Re:Rewarding the bullies...

Here's the thing: Everyone has been bullied at some point in their life. Not all children are prone to it, but there is always a bigger kid prone to intimidation tactics when growing up.

Getting bullied that once, for a few minutes, is kind of different from being frightened of school itself because you keep getting slammed into lockers, etc. In one case, a thing happened to you and you move on. In the other case it becomes a formative epoch in your life which you spend decades dealing with, if you ever manage it.

Quirkz

Re:Rewarding the bullies... 

Survival of the fittest is the only rule in life.

Don't be silly. Survival of the fittest applies to the wild. The entire *point* of culture/civilization is to blunt that harshest of rules. It doesn't always work so well, and it can easily be exploited, but the GP is entirely correct when he says that bullying should be treated as wrong and discouraged.

Enigma2175

Re:Rewarding the bullies... 

As for the action taken by the school, one really has to wonder as to what kind of cretins make up the school administration. And what they could possibly have hoped to achieve by filing charges, other than a nasty (and well deserved) publicity backlash? Although for a society run by lawyers, that's perhaps what one would expect. Squeaky wheel gets a beating, and a teenager gets hauled in front of a judge on charges of "disorderly conduct" in a school. Seriously... Can any of the officials involved in this case look in the mirror and tell themselves that they are doing the Right Thing?

Article is bullshit. It says:

"School administrators threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping before eventually agreeing to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct."

School administrators do not charge anyone with anything. They are not the law and do not file charges or determine what charges should be filed. It sounds to me it is a lot more likely that the police determined that a crime had been committed BECAUSE IT HAD. Pennsylvania is one of the few all-party consent states [wikipedia.org] and it is illegal to record somebody without notifying them that you are recording.

The kid DID break the law. If you don't like that law (I certainly don't) then get it changed but to whine about school administrators and police enforcing the law that is on the books doesn't get it changed.

jeffmeden

Re:Rewarding the bullies... 

This is why people don't like going to the authorities...

Something is terribly broken at that school... From TFA:

"According to Love, as the teacher is heard attempting to help her son with a math problem, a student says, “You should pull his pants down!” Another student replies, “No, man. Imagine how bad that (c**t) smells! No one wants to smell that (t**t).” As the recording continues, the teacher instructs the classroom that they may only talk if it pertains to math. Shortly thereafter, a loud noise is heard on the recording, which her son explained was a book being slammed down next to him after a student pretended to hit him in the head with it. When the teacher yells, the student exclaims, “What? I was just trying to scare him!” A group of boys are heard laughing."

The incident happened in direct contact with one of the boy's teachers. The teacher failed to control the classroom, failed to discipline the antagonists, and apparently failed to report the incident to the administration (wonder why). The boy's only hope is to get the hell out of there, his teacher (and probably most of the administration) is disturbingly incompetent.

nblender

Re:Rewarding the bullies...

I also was endlessly bullied durings gr 6-9 in an era where you were told "Just ignore them and they'll leave you alone" (they didn't)... When it started happening to my son, we immediately reacted and went to the principal... Her reaction? "Well, your son is rather meek and introverted. My kids were like that until I put them in Hockey and that changed their lives.. You should put your son in Hockey.". When we insisted she do something about the bullying, we were told she wasn't able to do anything unless the bully's parents agreed there was a problem (they didn't)... The most she could do was keep the kids separated. The end result was that the bully raced out during recess and started playing with my son's friends... Due to the mandatory separation rule, my son was effectively ostracized. He would try to play with other kids but the bully would just wander on over when the teachers weren't watching... So in essence, my son was punished for going to authorities.

Eventually we shifted him out of that neighborhood school and into a charter school; where he's much happier and has boatloads of friends.

There's a lot of lip-service being paid to 'zero tolerance'... I haven't seen any actions.

cusco

Re:Rewarding the bullies...

As children most cops and most judges were the bullies. For that matter, so were a lot of school administrators. They don't understand the problem, or that there even is a problem. I was suspended for finally hitting back in junior high school, and almost expelled when I did it a second time.

LifesABeach

Re:Rewarding the bullies...

I believe you are describing the current post authoritarian decade that finds its declining numbers of leaders faced with the issue of self survival. The easiest way for them to do this is to point a finger at the weakest person they can quickly identify; then say that person is the problem to be solved.

Re:

Nah, 1970s when you could still carry a pocket knife without being automatically expelled. Which I did, but then so did they, and bullies always travel in packs.

stdarg

I think the reason is probably that common bullying doesn't look that bad when it's not happening to you. Verbal bullying is often quite funny to onlookers. Minor physical bullying looks like no big deal.. almost on the level of a prank.

Probably another factor with administrators is that, as adults, the kids all look like kids to them. The difference between a bully and a victim to an adult is much less than to the bully and the victim themselves.

That said, it's incomprehensible to me how a kid gets in trouble for standing up for himself to a bully. I just don't understand what's going through the administrators' minds. They are probably horrible people.

Anonymous Coward

Re:Rewarding the bullies...

Yup I used to see bullies first hand at my school, but I was bigger then pretty much anyone. The teachers ignored bullying, they just didn't care.
I decided to become an "anti-bully".

I made it known that if any kid was getting bullied they could come to me and I would protect them, unlike the teachers, so I became friends with a lot of kids and we would all hang out with each other at school, protecting each other en mass. I never went out of my way beat up anyone but I stood up for myself and for the kids I was protecting, sure I got into a few altercations at the start but not much.

Within a year bullying pretty much seemed like an all time low within the school, and some of the original bullies actually became our friends. The thing is bullies usually have deeper issues and I found they generally fell into one of three groups:

  1. Anti-socials who could never make friends since they don't fit into any of the social groups, it eats away at them so they eventually belittle other people. I generally found these the easiest to "convert" since they finally have something they always wanted: a friend
  2. Parental issues, usually their parents are drunks, or pay zero attention to them. This group is harder to get into because the issues are generally so deep-rooted. But often just lending an ear and letting them vent was the biggest success.
  3. Alpha males who think they have something to prove, since they were alpha males, I generally didn't bother trying to make friends out of these guys, they always turned me off anyways

gstoddart (321705) 

WTF??

So, kid gathers evidence of bullying by other kids, gets charged?

That is insane.

So, if I take a video of someone stealing my car, would I get arrested? Under what circumstances could I do that and not be charged? WTF doesn't gathering evidence of bullying get an exemption from wiretap laws?

Whatever law enforcement and officers of the court were involved in this are total morons. This makes no sense at all.

Talderas (1212466) 

Yes, the kid got charged because he violated Pennsylvania's wiretapping and recording laws. Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state so both parties to the conversation must consent before a recording can be made.

No, you would not be arrested and charged for video taping someone stealing your car because you aren't recording a conversation.

 Anonymous Coward

Yes, the kid got charged because he violated Pennsylvania's wiretapping and recording laws. Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state so both parties to the conversation must consent before a recording can be made.

A good lawyer would get it thrown out for Necessity.

"In U.S. criminal law, necessity may be either a possible justification or an exculpation for breaking the law. Defendants seeking to rely on this defense argue that they should not be held liable for their actions as a crime because their conduct was necessary to prevent some greater harm and when that conduct is not excused under some other more specific provision of law such as self defense." - wikipedia

Recording the bullies was NECESSARY in order to prove the bullying existed, so it could be dealt with.

Talderas (1212466)

I'm going to play devil's advocate here because I read the article to see what event had transpired.

Necessity typically requires three tests to be a valid defense, the defendent needs to be breaking the law to avoid a significant risk of harm, there were no adequate lawful means to address the situation, and the harm avoided was greater than the harm caused by breaking the law. The problem in this situation is the second one. The problem is that neither of the articles suggested that any other steps were taken to stop the bullying prior to committing the recording. That's the problem. There's no suggestion that the boy told his mother about the bullying, there's no suggestion that the mother contacted the school about the bullying before the recording was made. All that exists is a vague statement that the boy felt powerless so he made the recording. No suggestion as to why he felt powerless, be it lack of response when bringing the issue up or due to his own disabilities. This situation, unlike many of the clear cases of necessity, had a long period of time over which to address the problem rather than requiring near immediate action such as to prevent someone from being injured or killed.

crakbone (860662) 

From what I remember from another article (several days ago) the teen recorded the incident to convince his mom that he was being bullied ( he had told her several times but she did not believe him). He had evidently requested help from teachers as well.

When his mom saw the evidence she told him to show the principal the recording. The principal then called the police without informing the mother or talking with her about the incident.

She was later called in. Mind you this recording was made IN FRONT of a teacher. In a full classroom. I would think there would be no expectation of privacy in a room filled with students and a teacher. In a building with security cameras, in a state that has had schools actively monitoring the students even at home ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robbins_v._Lower_Merion_School_District  ).

BobMcD (601576)

There's no suggestion that the boy told his mother about the bullying, there's no suggestion that the mother contacted the school about the bullying before the recording was made.

The teacher is present on the recording as well. The authorities had 'been contacted', since they were directly witnessing the events. There's no additional onus to rub their noses in it. The idea that a teacher feels the words 'cunt' and 'twat' being used in her presence are acceptable is absurd.

Re:

To be honest, this story comes across as a bit sensational. Two minutes of research shows an *out* from the wire taping statute.

Necessity is a defense, although quite tough to use in practice; it's a bit like successfully using an insanity defense -- possible, but highly unlikely. Also, the necessity description you provide is a general statement of the principle, not the language Pennsylvania has adopted. As a common law defense, the state courts adoption is what controls. Moreover, necessity isn't al

j-beda (85386) 

To be honest, this story comes across as a bit sensational. Two minutes of research shows an *out* from the wire taping statute.

Necessity is a defense, although quite tough to use in practice; it's a bit like successfully using an insanity defense -- possible, but highly unlikely. Also, the necessity description you provide is a general statement of the principle, not the language Pennsylvania has adopted. As a common law defense, the state courts adoption is what controls. Moreover, necessity isn't always a defense (even if you prove the elements) -- it depends upon how the statue is written.

Turning to the OUT I mentioned above, there is an exception built right into the statue. Full text can be found here:
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/c... [state.pa.us]

In relevant part, the wiretapping statute provides:
---------

  5703 Provides "**Except** as otherwise provided in this chapter, a person is guilty of a felony of the third degree if he: (1) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, electronic or oral communication;"

  5704 Contains a long list of exceptions. For the most part they apply to police, telecom, or telemarketers (go figure). Subsection 17 is relevant here ...

  5704 (17) Any victim ... to intercept the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, if that person is under a reasonable suspicion that the intercepted party is committing, about to commit or has committed a crime of violence and there is reason to believe that evidence of the crime of violence may be obtained from the interception.

If the bullying was as bad as the article describes, the student could surely have reasonable suspicion that the party was about to commit a crime of violence.

You can read more about this here:
http://www.phila-criminal-lawy... [phila-crim...lawyer.com]

Good point!

Sabriel (134364) 

WTF? Bullying _is_ against the law. You repeatedly intimidate and threaten me, causing me to fear for my safety? That's "assault". You trip me, making me drop my lunchbox? That's "battery". And so on. Just because you're a child and in a sane system you would be required to undergo counselling rather than also be facing fines/prison as adults might, or because in the farcical bizarro world of many schools that you get away with it, doesn't make what you're doing even remotely lawful.

That officer who, instead of conducting a proper investigation into a potential serial harassment/assault/battery case, told the victim to delete the recording or be charged with felony wiretapping? That officer should be hauled up to explain why he shouldn't be charged with "destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice under colour of authority", which are federal crimes. And if it was done under orders from above? Add "conspiracy under colour of authority".

But, of course, that's in a sane and rational justice system that actually contains justice, rather than the authoritarian sociopathic farce that is far too common.

(note: exact wording of charges may/will differ depending on your jurisdiction / country of residence)

Talderas (1212466) 

The principal told the boy to delete the recording, not the officer.

gstoddart (321705) 

Yes, the kid got charged because he violated Pennsylvania's wiretapping and recording laws. Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state so both parties to the conversation must consent before a recording can be made.

Yeah, and supposedly this school has a zero tolerance policy towards bullying.

And according to TFA, the bullying was happening in the class room, with a teacher present. Which means the school had more or less abandoned their role in policing this, and the kid was left with no other recourse.

Shortly thereafter, a loud noise is heard on the recording, which her son explained was a book being slammed down next to him after a student pretended to hit him in the head with it. When the teacher yells, the student exclaims, "What? I was just trying to scare him!" A group of boys are heard laughing.

What teacher can't be watching this in their own classroom and NOT understand that bullying was happening?

If the teacher who was physically in the room wasn't doing anything, WTF good is telling the school about it? Because the school is either indifferent, clueless, or incompetent to address the issue.

And the officer involved?? I would also say was incompetent or indifferent:

He later answered as to why he thought the disorderly conduct charge applied to this case by saying, "Because his (the student's) actions - he engaged in actions which served no legitimate purpose." He then read the statute as, "Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by acts which serve no legitimate purpose."

I would say the legitimate purpose was to demonstrate that the bullying was, in fact happening, was happening while there was a teacher present, and that nothing at all was being done about it. He certainly didn't create a "hazardous or physically offensive condition". Sorry, but I think the cop was a fucking idiot.

I'm inclined to agree with the lawyer on this one. The police misapplied the statute here, forced the kid to destroy the evidence, and then didn't do a single thing about the problem.

And people wonder why kids go into school with guns? I can't even believe the story has a link to a contest to win an AR-15.

I read this whole story as a complete failure of the police and school to understand and deal with the actual issue here.

Re:

Your interpretation of the actions of the police as incompetent are probably mistaken because of a failure to appreciate the true goals and motives of the police here.

This story makes me pause and consider cui bono.

It appears the mother went directly to the principal rather than the teacher. The recording and transcription also seems to cast the teacher in a poor light.

So it would seem the initial complaint was as much against the ineffectiveness of the teacher as it was against the bullying itself. It

Attila Dimedici (1036002)

There are two things about this. Pennsylvania's "two-party consent" only applies in situations where those being recorded without their consent have a "reasonable expectation of privacy."

I have a problem with the judge finding that people (teachers and students) have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the classroom.

The other thing is that the Pennsylvania law also has an exception that states that you do not need to permission of someone who is committing a crime in the recording. That would not have applied in this case since not all of those being recorded were committing a crime. (I am not sure if any of the actions recorded crossed over into criminal territory, or not. Although if I was a judge, or on a jury, they are at a minimum close enough that I would be unwilling to convict the person recording them.)

Re:

So, if I take a video of someone stealing my car, would I get arrested? Under what circumstances could I do that and not be charged? WTF doesn't gathering evidence of bullying get an exemption from wiretap laws?

Depends on what your state recording laws are. Do you live in a one-party consent state or all-party consent state? Are you recording just video, just audio, or audio and video? Does the other party have an expectation of privacy (e.g. recording bullying in a restroom). Was the recording done cove

Re:

Actually, almost all all-party consent states have an exception for recording someone who is committing a crime. Of course that would not apply in this case since not all of those recorded were committing a crime (even if the bullying actions recorded crossed over the line into criminal behavior).

Opportunist

Quite logical reaction

What did his mother expect from the school as a reaction? Siding with the victim of bullying? Seriously? Allow me to give you a brief rundown of how school deal with bullying.

What a school wants is "peace". They want pupils to shut up and not cause a problem. Especially not a disciplinary one. So how do they deal with bullying? Well, easy: Not at all. Because it is not a school's problem. The bully has his victim, is satisfied and will not cause any other problem towards the school, its property or its faculty. The victim is being pushed and punched.

Now when does the school run into a problem in this scenario? Right. When the victim does not want to play his role anymore. That is when the school runs into a problem. Because now they have to do something. Until that moment, there was no reason for a reaction. A pacified bully is no problem, and a victim that lets the bully kick him is none either. The very LAST thing the school wants is to be forced to take action against the bully. Because then not only does it draw attention to the bullying problem, it puts a very unhappy bully at their hands, someone who knows how to cause trouble if he wants to, who may or may not be even supported in his actions by his parents.

The school's reaction is a logical one: The victim upset the apple cart. He created a problem for the school. What the school wants is him to shut the fuck up again and swallow the punches.

Kjella

Reminds me of a story how I read on how one girl "solved" her bullying problem, they'd raised the issue several times with the school to no effect. Dad finally has enough, teaches her to fight.

She grabs the head of the lead bully and slams it on her knee, broken nose, blood everywhere.

School threatens to expel her, her dad threatens to sue the shit out of them for everything she's been through.

Like the good cowards they are, the school backs down and manages to convinces the bully's parents not to press charges either. She's now forever known as that crazy kid, but nobody's messing with her anymore. It's sad but school is mostly a lawless territory where violence is often the last and only means to defend yourself.


Time for another plan: (Score:3)
by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @08:24AM (#46765967)

Assuming this kid doesn't get his tablet smashed as the very next level of bullying...

He needs to record the bullying again, but this time, the recording needs to go directly to all local media outlets, and perhaps directly to social media as well. This may not make much difference to the bullies on the bus, but it's a lot harder for the bullies in the school administration or police department to bury.

It is still possible to shame entrenched bullies out of positions of authority. It doesn't often happen, but it's worth a try. It's certainly a Noble Cause.
Reply to This Share Flag as Inappropriate

Legal Analysis (Score:5, Informative)
by What'sInAName (115383) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @08:25AM (#46765975) Homepage Journal

Here's an interesting article that looks at the legal aspects of this case:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/04/14/crime-for-high-school-student-to-secretly-audio-record-his-tormentors-in-the-classroom/

short version: The charges are bullshit.

AbRASiON


All joking aside

I'm sure I speak for a few slashdotters when I say, I copped it at school too.

The few times teachers got involved, I was apparently doing the wrong thing, not the person picking on me. As far as I'm concerned, if there's one thing I could change about my childhood - it would be the balls to stand up for myself and at least settle on a point in the pecking order. The few times I did stand up for myself, while incredibly scary for me - worked out in the end. The people involved generally left me alone after that.

This is instinctual bullshit, bullies themselves are often more messed up than the people they intimidate, normally stuff from parents, older brothers or god knows what, bad homes, drugs, alcohol, abuse - etc. None the less playground bullying and intimidation is simply alpha dominance rubbish but it's also part of life and nature. The last person who is going to help properly with this is a teacher unfortunately.

SlurpingGreen

Same old, same old.

I was assaulted once by a kid twice my size in middle school. He was harassing a group of 5 girls, taking their bags and throwing them on the ground. I asked him, "Why are you being such an asshole? Why don't you just leave them alone?" He punched me in the back of the head when I turned to walk away, then took about 12 swings at my face while sitting on top of me. I never hit him at all, just deflected most of his attacks.

The next day, the school administrator gave both of us detention for a week. He said I shouldn't have used foul language.

I think there's a kind of deep inability on the part of adults to distinguish between rough play that got a little out of hand and a bully who's completely out of control. I can't see any school policy fixing that.

Ihlosi (895663)

Re:Same old, same old. (Score:4, Insightful)

To this day I'll never understand why teachers were so blind to the fact that the bigger stronger "athletic" kids constantly harassed the weaker kids.

You're lucky, since in your case the bullies were actually considered to be part of the party at fault.

And the teachers actions are easy to understand when you realize that they're not interested in justice - they want peace in the classroom.

Formorian (1111751) 

Assistant Principal doesn't believe it was bullyin (Score:3)

(assistant principal Aaron ) Skrbin testified that the district had records of Love complaining about students bullying her son, including an incident in October in which a student hit her son with “spitwads,” even after her son told him to stop.
“To be blunt, I would not classifying that as bullying,” Skrbin said.

WTF?!?!?!?

Re: Assistant Principal doesn't believe it was bull

I was bullyed in high school. Swirlies/harrassment/vocal/physical. Worst 4 years of my life. I never had the courage back then to stand up, and/or tell my parents. I've since grown and now I'll stand up to random people on street harrassing a complete stranger. It's just gaining confidence, but in HS it's hard to gain that while being bullied.

But spitwads are a form of bullying, esp if requested to stop and it doesn't and it escalates. It's a way of hummiliating someone. I can't stand teachers/adults in position like this and they nothing against the bullies. no let's punish the victims. I always hoped that with the bullying issue brought more to light a few years ago, this would end, but nope teachers still blaiming the victims. It's sickening.

SecurityGuy

Re: Assistant Principal doesn't believe it was bull

My child was harassing another kid in school. It went on for months. The other kid didn't want to go to school anymore. It was a Big Deal. Finally, the parent called me because she wasn't successful in getting the school to stop it. I called the principal and asked basically "where the hell is your anti bullying policy" and got the same response. He didn't consider it bullying. As you said, "WTF?!?!?!?!". The first I'd ever heard of this was when the other parent called me. More parents need to get involved in schools. Show up at school board meetings. Read them the riot act when they need it. Campaign against the bad ones at election time and for the good ones.

Oh, and you can bet my kid stopped that crap that day.


colfer

mixes special ed (Score:4, Insightful)

The special ed kids with learning disabilities are mixed with the ones with behavioral/emotional disabilities in this school. In other words, people that get made fun of, and people that are a danger to them. Sheep and wolves. Must make the regular classrooms nice to remove both the slow learners and troublemakers.

The same thing happens in homeless shelters, where it's hard to protect the defenselessly mentally ill from the bad guys. And prisons, where a lot of mentally ill people live due to the policies of our country.

Another problem in this case is that the police and the judge are an extension of the school administration, and see themselves that way. Also, it is a small Western Pennsylvania school district surely dominated by athletics. Also, we don't know the full story. This could be the best school in the world, but I somehow doubt it.

Dcnjoe60

Wire tapping? 

The kid needs a new attorney. From Pennsylvania's own site:

The law does not cover oral communications when the speakers do not have an "expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation." See 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. 5702 (link is to the entire code, choose Title 18, Part II, Article F, Chapter 57, Subchapter A, and then the specific provision).

Therefore, you may be able to record in-person conversations occurring in a public place without consent. However, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any conversation that common sense tells you is private.

The recordings he made were all in the public venue. Also, while recording conversations in PA requires the consent of both parties, that is only for the purposes of meetings, phone conversations, etc. Otherwise, recording the school play or little league team would be a violation under the law in PA and it isn't.

No, either the story is short on a critical fact, or a grave injustice has occurred.
 

[Mar 30, 2014] Retrieving a Moral Comportment in an Age of Violence and Bullying By Fred Guerin

 March  29, 2014 | Truthout 

Journalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. Truthout relies on reader donations - click here to make a tax-deductible contribution and support our work.

In a recent "Report to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice and Public Safety," the Canadian government, in an entirely predictable fashion, expressed the desire to address the issue of cyber-bullying through criminal code reform.1

There is, of course, nothing wrong with revisiting the law in light of new technologies and electronic manifestations of certain crimes that might not have been contemplated originally. However, phenomena such as aggression, violence, bullying or cyber-bullying cannot be remedied merely by resorting to criminal injunction. The latter also involve historical, social, cultural, economic, institutional and moral issues. This fact was underscored in part by the working group charged with making the report when it acknowledged that the phenomenon of cyber-bullying is, in fact, a "recent manifestation of the longstanding social problem of bullying." The Working Group concluded that a multifaceted approach should be taken. One can imagine that this slightly more complicated and nuanced finding was not received with overwhelming enthusiasm by a government that tends to reduce social and economic problems to issues of disciplinary, procedural or criminal reform.

It has, in fact, become common for governments and zero-tolerance schools, workplaces and institutions to reduce complex child and adult relational issues to simple behavioral problems and to unreflectively respond to the latter through procedural or disciplinary reform. This punitive mind-set relieves governments, educators, judges and managers of the responsibility to look for social, environmental, economic or historical reasons and causes or to examine whether their own policies and perspectives actually might be exacerbating an already-bad situation. The reality is that recognition of individual accountability should not prevent us from also reflecting upon other causes and contingencies that might help us to better understand phenomena like cyber-bullying.

There are many forms of individual and group aggression, violence and bullying: emotional, psychological, physical, verbal. There are also many different contexts where the latter can show up: in the home, at school, in the workplace, in academia or in the military. What all of these have in common, however, is that they involve asymmetrical power relations and the infliction of intentional harm to others by coercing, intimidating, spreading rumors, isolating or humiliating them. What is disturbing is how prevalent aggression, violence and bullying have become, not just in North America, but around the globe. This fact should push us to look beyond present cultural or technological explanations and reflect upon deeper historical, political and economic origins.

Human history may appear to tell us that cruelty, aggression, violence and intolerance is ingrained, natural or intrinsic in human affairs. This conclusion is appealing because it conveniently explains away rather than explains the phenomena. However, it is a hasty generalization not wholly supported by the facts. In reality, there are many individuals, historical cultures and societies that live and have lived in relative peace. Many more initially were aggressive but, over time, became much less so. Indeed, one could persuasively argue the opposite thesis: that we are naturally cooperative and peaceful, even if not always altruistic beings. This does not mean that we do not have any potential to be aggressive or violent. What it does mean is that when violence, aggression or bullying become ubiquitous and normalized, we need to inquire into the conditions, causes and contingencies that gave rise to this latter state of affairs.

From the more recent historical perspective of the last century we get a sense of what preceded the present culture of aggression, cruelty and violence. The 20th century was marked by unprecedented mass destruction, violence and ideologies of hatred and intolerance on an international scale. Various manifestations of totalitarian government practiced efficient forms of human repression, abrogated the rule of law on a systematic basis and devalued democracy and accountability. In the latter part of the century, powerful corporations were encouraged to advance an ethos of endless insatiable greed and allowed to profit immensely from environmental destruction, human misery and natural or man-made disasters. What was the inevitable result of this in human relational terms?

The creation of perpetual turmoil - war, violence, profound wealth disparities, the continuous repudiation of the rule of law by the powerful - inevitably throws the human condition into a state of flux or chaos.2 When this happens, we experience a sense of powerlessness and an intrinsic fear that we are profoundly vulnerable to those who have power. Some respond to this sense of powerlessness through aggressive behavior and bullying of others whom they deem weaker than they. In fact, many and perhaps most of us become conditioned to believe that the only way to regain power is by intimidating or overpowering anyone who is perceived as fragile or without power.

In a state of political, economic and legal flux where laws are made and continuously nullified, where inviolate human rights are arbitrarily violated, where greed and narcissism are considered normal and even virtuous, where increasingly violent film, television and video games desensitize us to the pain and suffering of others, where massive wealth disparities are structured into national and international economies, we inevitably cease to be oriented by notions of commonality and cooperation. Instead, we become rivals and competitors who readily take on aggressive comportments, xenophobic or intolerant attitudes and bullying tactics.

The legacy of 20th century violence, aggression and turmoil has continued in entirely recognizable ways in the 21st century. Perpetual war, carceral attitudes, gun violence, xenophobia, fundamentalist religious perspectives, racism, sexism and massive wealth disparities persist - and in some cases, they are escalating. At a domestic level, we have seen a rise in child, spousal and elderly abuse, workplace harassment and bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing and teens who inflict violence on themselves and, in extreme cases, take their own lives in desperation and hopelessness.

No doubt there are very local reasons and causes of violence, aggression and workplace or cyber-bullying, and we must always respect the unique circumstances of each situation, and carefully examine all the facts and contingencies. However, what is abundantly clear is that we also suffer under a more general and deeper apathetic malaise when we extol narcissistic and selfish attitudes, believe that aggression, abuse or intimidation is acceptable, or take pleasure in the humiliation, degradation and suffering of others. When this happens, we become morally disfigured at both an individual and collective level. In essence, we lose the capacity to orient ourselves according to virtues such as friendship, love, respect and justice.

The question we need to ask is whether it is even possible to restore or rediscover any sort of moral comportment at a ground level, given our present world. The wager here is that, although difficult, it is in fact possible. Implicit in this wager is the idea that we can change things on a larger scale when we think and act morally at local levels.

To adopt a moral attitude toward others is not to be enslaved by rules, ideology, dogma or fundamentalist religious attitudes, but rather to comport oneself toward another in such a way that we make an effort to think from their perspective, and not exclusively from our own. In this sense, moral orientations proceed not just at the individual level, but also at a social and political level where we are asked to think from the perspective of different cultures, genders, races, national or international interests and allegiances. To be moral in this sense is to refuse narcissistic or selfish orientations and resist insular nationalist or xenophobic perspectives.

If restoring a moral orientation is first about pausing to think, it is also about acting in the world in such a way that thinking can be realized in just and fair relations with others. We are, in an important sense, the sum of our actions. To become just, respectful or fair persons means that we think and act our way toward others in a just, fair and respectful manner. As the philosopher Aristotle might say, we become just persons when we do just deeds. In a fast-paced, competitive world, this will not always be an easy task. It may even appear insignificant or inconsequential. The reality is, however, that it is one of the most powerful ways we can individually and collectively transform ourselves and our environments. Additionally, to become practiced at thinking and acting in a just and respectful way toward others allows us to glimpse something fundamental about how we might intervene and respond to injustice or unfairness at a more universal or global level of thinking and action.

So what does the recovery of a moral perspective entail? Minimally, it requires that we think and act toward others in a way that encourages us to:

  1. Discover and develop a moral voice.
  2. Recognize and respect others as unique and irreplaceable persons.
  3. Understand justice as solidarity.

These three elements or orientations are by no means exhaustive. However, they have the virtue of allowing us to see things from different, although inextricably related points of view. They also have the advantage of being orientations grounded in a fundamental sense of the moral as the enactment of thinking and acting from the perspective of another.

Discovering and Developing a Moral Voice

Discovering and developing a moral voice is a way of talking about cultivating the virtue of courage - in this case, the courage to resist a prevailing culture of silence and passivity. Many different social and occupational contexts press us to remain mute, or not to voice our displeasure when we witness systemic injustice, distorted and reprehensible language, actions, laws and policies. For example, when we are online or in the workplace, most of us tend to avoid confrontation. In most cases, this is probably a wise course. However, there are always exceptions. There are times when taking a courageous moral stand is called for - when we must speak up for ourselves or especially for someone else. When friends, relations or co-workers are degraded, when they are treated unfairly, disrespectfully or in an arbitrary and unjust way by others we must speak up for their sake as well as our own. It takes daring to act in such a public way. Speaking out is difficult and in some cultures subversive. However, it is also rewarding - and very often a transformative and humanizing experience.

What prevents us from developing a courageous moral voice? No doubt, in some measure we fear standing out from the crowd and we dread being left out or isolated by friends, acquaintances or co-workers. This is true in the schoolyard, the workplace or in online chat rooms and social media contexts. In the schoolyard, we have all felt the profoundly painful and humiliating sense of being singled out for censure or left out of a dominant group. In online relations, just as in the schoolyard, allegiances and rivalries form and we can experience the pressure to go along or risk exile and isolation.

In the workplace, there may be different reasons. In desperate economic times, the stakes are always high. The risk of losing status or position - of being seen as a whistle-blower or a trouble maker - is always present when one speaks out. In the face of isolation or economic loss, we look away rather than confront the injustice of favoritism or bullying. Instead of challenging prejudicial, racial or sexist views or remarks by supervisors, schoolmates, friends, family members, co-workers or union brothers and sisters, we keep silent. We swallow our personal grievances, go along with the crowd, censor our moral outrage or suppress the uneasy feeling that something unfair or unjust is happening. We rationalize and persuade ourselves that it is not our business to interfere when favoritism or bullying shows itself and that we can't do much to change things anyway. This is the moment when we need to pause and think again so that we may retrieve a moral voice. Why is this so important?

Anyone who has been a victim of harassment, ridicule or bullying in school, in a social or community group or the workplace is not just someone who has been wronged but someone who may have lost the vocal power to articulate the wrong that has been done to them. This form of disempowerment occurs in various ways. It may quite literally be that the injured party feels threatened or embarrassed into silence. Alternatively, he or she may be able to speak, but their words will simply be unable to fully capture the sense of profound wrong that has been done to them. In a real sense, they have lost their voice - and it is up to us, as moral beings, to speak up on their behalf.

What happens when we don't do this? What a culture of silence permits can be gleaned from the disturbing array of statistics:

More than a million children and teens are harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyber-bullying in online chat rooms and through social media.

In the end, to retrieve or rediscover a moral voice is a matter of persistently thinking and acting toward others in a just, respectful and fair way. It is about learning from and actively affirming exemplary persons who say to us by their actions: "No, I will not be a party to cruelty, bullying or injustice." It is, finally, about discovering in ourselves that we are much braver than we might think. In fact, to discover or retrieve a moral voice is one of the most fundamental and rewarding forms of courage we can embody as thinking and acting beings.

Recognizing and Respecting the Other as a Unique and Irreplaceable Person

The second means through which we can recover a moral perspective is realized through thinking and acting in the recognition that it is always a person rather than an object or thing who stands before us: a person is a complex, unique and irreplaceable being who can experience joy, sorrow and humiliation and undergo suffering and grievous loss. As persons, we each have a history, a unique story to tell; as persons, we embody diverse interests, desires, obligations and allegiances whether at school, online or in the workplace. These aspects of personhood mark us as distinctive beings, worthy of recognition and respect. How does this sense of recognition and respect unfold?

As thinking, self-conscious beings, when we respect ourselves, we are implicitly accepting who we are. This does not mean that we never make evaluations about what we have done, or that we have no desire to become better persons. What self-respect means is that we have neither an inflated sense of our own importance, nor a debilitative feeling of self-hatred. In respecting ourselves, we are affirming who we are - and we are implicitly recognizing that this who, this person, is unique and multidimensional. In much the same way, to respect another person is to accept them for who they are. It is to recognize that they too are unique and many-sided. In a crucial sense, to accept and respect ourselves as persons is at the same time to attest to the other as, equally, a person.

Once again, there are many reasons that might account for letting go of or forgetting this moral comportment toward others. In the workplace, there are power differentials and competition; online, there is a sense of omnipotence and anonymity; in the social-political context, there might be rivalries and profoundly differing perspectives. In fact, the failure to respect and recognize others as unique and irreplaceable might seem inevitable in a culture that obsesses over celebrities and encourages the rampant desire for celebrity status through reality television. Moreover, we leave little room for moral recognition in a narcissistic culture that is steered by hedonistic consumption, global free-trade zones, corporate economic downsizing, privatization and deregulation. In such a world, it may appear that we have no alternative but to operate in a very selfish and strategic way. Thus, it might be claimed that our failure to recognize others issues out of the necessity of self-preservation: it is a necessary selfishness, because it is a necessarily brutal, competitive and selfish world. But what is wrong with this picture?

The problem is that if selfishness is something that issues out of necessity, then we must conclude that we cannot choose to act unselfishly. Even seemingly unselfish acts will tend to be interpreted as, at bottom, selfishly motivated. Perhaps we should not be surprised at this, living as we do in a world that valorizes profit over people and trumpets the motto that greed is good. However, the reality is that if we were to literally and consistently adhere to such a maxim of selfishness, we wouldn't survive long as a species, and we could never, in any way, be morally accountable to each other. To experience discomfort at this point is probably a good thing. It means that one has witnessed people who engage in unselfish acts all the time. Anyone who has developed a close relationship with another person, anyone who has loved or cared for a sibling or aging parent, anyone who has raised or participated in raising children, anyone who empathizes or has felt the pain and suffering of others can perfectly grasp this fact. We want our husband, wife, friend or fellow human being to do well, not for our sake, but first and foremost for their sake.

As parents, we strive to act unselfishly toward our children as a matter of course. When we see them acting selfishly or bullying others, it bothers us - we do not encourage them to continue such behavior. Rather, we go to great lengths to instill in them a sense of sharing, responsibility and care for others. We know implicitly that they are capable of learning this. We also know that nurturing in our children a sense that they are connected with others also helps them to discover who they, as unique persons, are. To lose this sense of recognition toward others as unique and irreplaceable beings would not just be to become loveless and friendless - it would be to cease to remain a person. A world where we actually lived according to a rule of selfishness would not be, in any way, recognizably human. To recognize oneself as another, to see the other as unique, irreplaceable and worthy of respect is to continuously say no to the valorization of selfishness and narcissism.

Understanding Justice as Solidarity

The third moral comportment directs thinking and action beyond immediate relationships with people we know toward people we do not know. How does this sense of connection with and respect for others as persons emerge in the context of relations with those who are actually strangers to us? In family and among friends, it emerges out of love. But it is well said that the other side of love is justice. There is nothing vague or idealistic about justice. It expresses a basic universal human concern toward others.

From a more limited procedural perspective, to be just is to be impartial - to treat everyone as equal before the law. From a more substantive moral perspective, justice is made possible through the thinking and acting realization of solidarity with all other human beings. In the unionized workplace, solidarity is a way of talking about power in numbers and the collective struggle for reasonable wages and fair working conditions. But, as the best unions know, the word solidarity has a deep reservoir of meaning that goes beyond mere strategy, countervailing power or the preservation of local interests.

Solidarity, in fact, expresses an ineradicable existential human need for belonging. It presupposes that we are social beings who are intimately connected to each other, even if we do not know each other in any intimate way. It is not driven by tribal allegiances, but by deeply held universal values of fairness and reciprocity that help us hear the cry of those who needlessly suffer, or advocate on behalf of the powerless in their struggle for recognition no matter where they live, what language they speak or what culture they belong to. To understand justice as solidarity is to recognize both what distinguishes us and what we have in common. It is to grasp that we are a plurality of unique individuals, cultures, languages and races that share a common world; it is to internalize a fundamental obligation to look beyond race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or disability and defend each and all from abuse, violence, arbitrariness, bullying and cruelty. If ever there was a positive moral meaning to the word globalism, it can be discovered through this very sense of justice as solidarity.

To conclude, the recovery of a moral voice, the recognition of the other as a unique and irreplaceable person, and understanding justice as solidarity are three distinct but related moral comportments. Each, in its own way, invites us to think and act toward others in a way that retrieves a more potent sense of moral accountability in our ongoing relations with family members, co-workers, friends and indeed all who bear the mark of humanity.

NOTES

1 For an executive summary see http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/other-autre/cndii-cdncii/  . The report was undertaken in January 2013. Soon thereafter the government intervened and pressed officials to expedite the process and submit a final report by June of the same year. This need for an expedited process followed in the wake of the cyber-bullying, sexual assault and tragic suicide in 2012 of Rehtaeh Parsons of Nova Scotia, and the bullying, sexual assault and equally grievous suicide of Amanda Todd in British Columbia in 2012. Both of these teens were bullied by other teens that used the internet and social media as weapons of isolation, ridicule and humiliation. Rehtaeh Parsons mother was fairly unambiguous in her claim that the justice system failed her daughter. One can certainly sympathize with this perspective, but it is also critical that we grasp that the failure was not just at the criminal level, but also a social, institutional and moral breakdown.

2 A similar point is made by Naomi Klein in her groundbreaking book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Picador 2008
 

[Mar 08, 2014] I was bullied and beaten every day. Programming saved my life by Daniel Tomlinson

theguardian.com

One of the worst incidents occurred around year five, when I was 10. I was on the chubby side and a running "joke" began, the "humour" being that all farts began with me. For example, a blemish on the assembly room floor would result in: "Hey, Dan, did you sit here? There is a burn mark on the floor. Did you fart?"

So it wasn't unusual when one morning one of my classmates claimed I had farted and the whole room burst out into gales of laughter. But what was unusual was that the teacher joined in. She made me go round opening all the windows. As I did it, everybody watched and stared, laughing and making comments as I passed.

Events like this hurt. They hurt because they showed that even the people who were there to look after and protect children didn't really care. I wish I could say occasions like this were rare.

It wasn't always bad though. During reception and the start of year one, I had friends, I did well, and for the most part was happy. School wasn't a huge challenge, and I enjoyed learning about the things I had not yet come across in books. But when I moved to a better-ranking school in year one, I never settled in, and they never quite welcomed me. And when I entered year two, my life began to change into a living hell.

I remember how it started. At first it was a few students who used to make remarks about my weight that I pretended not to hear. But these were then adopted as names for me. So I soon became Fatty or Nerd to most of my peers. They would chant them in the most horrible voices. And then came the quips. They were the worst to bear. "Hey, Fatty! Don't jump – we might have an earthquake." And so on.

My young mind could not understand why they behaved like they did, so I began to blame myself. I thought that I had done something wrong. That I was responsible for everything that was happening. I struggled to try and fit in, to make it stop. But nothing worked.

Then, when we moved into year three, things became physical. They would punch, kick, slap and push and for the first time, I turned to the people who were there to protect me: the teachers. They did nothing.

I would spend a lunchtime writing a letter explaining what had happened; then the bullies might lose a break time. As you might expect, I soon gave up on the system. But this didn't mean that the bullies gave up on their need for self-inflation.

When my parents found out and tried to talk to the teachers, still they didn't act. Recently I spoke to my parents about it and they recalled that one day they booked an appointment with the deputy head. When they arrived and explained the situation, she simply replied: "This meeting is over. Please leave."

This happened a few times. Whenever we tried to get them to deal with the issue, it was swept under the carpet, brushed aside like a dirty little secret. We also tried going to our local council and were promised calls that never came.

For the first year or so, I hoped that it would just be a phase, that people would grow out of it and that it would be over. I hoped that I could move on and have the happy childhood that adults seem to recall every time I said I wanted to grow up, to be done with school.

Then, as if I needed more to differentiate me and give them another point for ridicule, I had to start wearing glasses. Eight pairs a year, in fact. Thrown over fences, torn from my face, chucked under cars, stamped on.

Now I even turned to God. The one who answers prayers. Performs miracles. I tried every day. I begged. I pleaded. I asked. Yet putting my faith in God to solve my problems left me on the edge of suicide.

I became quite violent for a time, responding in kind to the physical onslaught because I couldn't keep in the fury. It's not something I'm proud of, and it is a part of me that I fought to change. Violence solves nothing. I admit that it offered a temporary outlet for my anger and angst but it did not solve any problems.

The first time I was properly violent, I had been riding my bike home from school. I had barely got any distance when someone pushed me over a low fence. I remember the anger boiling up inside, surging to get out. I tried to hold it in. I heard the boy laughing and I let it go. I picked up a fallen branch from a nearby tree, ran at him and swung it at his head. If I'd been an inch lower, he would have been blinded.

I still remember my feeling of liberation – that something was finally being done about the problem. So it continued. And naturally I was the one the school was harder on, because they teach that sticking up for yourself in any way is bad. They teach us to allow ourselves to be manipulated and hurt.

But then, in my darkest hours, the days where I'd spend my time considering the best way to end everything, my love of taking things apart to see how they worked led me to discover programming, a system of logic and creativity.

Daniel Tomlinson Daniel Tomlinson at home on the south coast. Photograph: Richard Saker for the Observer

I discovered programming mostly by accident. I was curious about how lots of things worked, and was fascinated by the big black box in the corner of our dining room. Programming was a beacon of hope in a world dominated by sadness. It granted me the freedom to create and destroy, to craft worlds that were mine to manipulate. It also led me to discover some of the greatest friends I could ever imagine. People who would listen to me when I was down, offer advice, and treat me like a human being. An equal.

Through this, I had an outlet, a way to channel my sadness, and that offered moments of true happiness when I built something new. I also developed a passion for making things that still comes through to this day. The joy of taking something from start through to completion, then seeing other people use them on a daily basis, is magical.

Programming also allowed me to learn more, as it provided a practical application for the theories of maths and physics. The art of debugging taught me how to think about problems logically, rationally, and to persevere. It also taught me about teamwork and collaboration, allowing me to work with others in school without wanting to explode in anger. They still bullied me, but it gave me the resolve to block that out and continue with the task at hand. Its logical ways clicked with me, and I loved it.

I loved that it (mostly) did as I said, nothing more, nothing less.

I did still have dark times and bullying for many more years. The days were long and unforgiving, evenings peaceful but fleeting, nights long but sleepless. Some days I still wanted to end it. But the knowledge that people were there for me – people who didn't just sympathise and tell me that others would grow up soon – stopped me from ever harming myself, from ever making that leap, even though I faced more bad treatment in secondary school.

I was beaten both physically and emotionally almost daily by those around me. I remember waking up every morning, physically shaking at the thought of rising and going to school. Some days I couldn't move with fear. I'd pull the duvet over my head to block out the world and hope that when I moved it, it would be Saturday. Other times I would pretend to be sick just to stay away from it all.

I was once chased around the school and fields by someone wielding a stick, because I didn't agree with them. Nothing came of it. Nothing ever came of it. Schools cannot deal with the violence and troubles that happen under their noses. How can they? They have no punishments that really mean anything to the ones that receive them, and the parents of such students do little to reinforce the message.

I recall that, on a particularly bad day, I ran out of an art class and kept running until I got home, because I couldn't bear to stay at the school any longer. I was scared and upset, I didn't know what to do. So I went home and worked on my own things, to give my mind a challenge, and to distract me from the pain.

I was the one everyone teased – because they could. I even began to hate my own name, Daniel Leslie Tomlinson, because whenever anyone remembered the middle bit, I'd be laughed at until they tired of it again. They didn't care that I was named after my granddad; they found it humorous because the female version of the name sounds the same.

I was affected academically, and over the years slipped from being a high-scoring student to barely scraping by. This was due to missed time, and the fact that when I did attend I felt so anxious that I ceased to function. Don't get me wrong; I didn't fail. I let myself down by getting lower marks than I was capable of.

In my later school years, however, there were a couple of truly amazing teachers who helped me to get through my time in school. Their lessons and openness provided me an outlet whenever I needed it, and for that I shall always be thankful.

I am now 17. When people hear about my school days, they often ask: "Is there anything you would change about your past?", and my answer is no. Because even though I suffered for so many years, it shaped the person I am today. A human being who stands up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. A human being who tries to improve the lives of others with everything I do, and who helps anyone that needs it.

Although things at school stayed tough, programming gave me a life outside it. I cannot stress enough the importance of finding a passion and like-minded people if you are being bullied. Connecting with others taught me that it wasn't my fault, that I wasn't to blame, and that there was a better future ahead.

Over the 10 years that I have been coding, I have met amazing people from all walks of life. I've worked on some of the coolest ideas that I've ever seen, won awards and travelled all around the country to meet people and attend or speak at conferences. It has increased my confidence around people, and allowed me to make some amazing friends.

Software development has also given me a new life in a new place, doing a job that I love – building applications that people will be delighted to use every day. I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds, new experiences that are yet to come, and new people that I'll get to meet.

I also now have the opportunity to aid others who have bullying problems, and will help anyone who needs it. Bullying needs to stop, both in schools and out. It happens around us every day, and far too many people have the wrong attitude towards it. That must change.

If you have been affected by any of the same issues as Daniel, contact beatbullying.org

 

[Feb 02, 2014]  Bully Nation By Yale Magrass and Charles Derber

On international arena its not simply bulling. It is also divide and counque strategy that is in works.
Truthout

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has appropriately been called a bully. This has implications well beyond Christie. His calling out has the potential to shift the growing public conversation about bullying from a psychological narrative about abusive individuals to a new discourse on institutionalized bullying, carried out by ruling institutions and elites.

The current focus on bullying - like much of the discussion about guns and gun violence - has tended to focus on individuals and mental health. It is a therapeutic narrative. Bullying is seen primarily as a psychological problem of individuals. The victim needs therapy, better communication or adaptation skills. Bullies are characterologically flawed and need therapy or perhaps legal punishment.

But there is little or no discussion of larger social or cultural forces in the United States and the American institutions or leaders who bully other countries or workers and citizens at home. Institutionalized bullying is endemic to a capitalist hegemonic nation like the United States and creates death and suffering on a far greater scale than personal, everyday bullying, as important and toxic as the latter might be.

Moreover, much of the everyday bullying that is the current media focus must be understood as the inevitable consequence of a militarized corporate system that requires a popular mind-set of bullying to produce profit and power. The individual bully is the creation of the bully nation.

The United States openly views itself as the world police force, a benign hegemon morally ordained to impose its interests and values on the rest of the world and justified in the name of freedom, human rights and antiterrorism to do to weaker countries what it wants. It spends more on weapons than its next 20 largest competitors combined. President Obama proclaimed "[S]o long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known." To peasants living in small countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia - where the United States has sent armed forces, used drones to bomb, and often overthrown the government - polls show that a majority of people see the United States as the greatest threat to their security, and fear it. Hegemony here seamlessly unfolds as morally sanctioned, institutionalized bullying.

America makes heroes of bomber pilots like John McCain and offers them as role models for children and adolescents to emulate. They see the media applaud the bullying behavior of their own government that dispatches police, soldiers, FBI and CIA agents into foreign nations to kill and wreak havoc - from Afghanistan to Somalia to Columbia. If you kill enough, whether in a just war or not, you may win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

If bullying brings esteem to a nation, then surely that is a behavior to strive for. Potential recruits for an aggressive military need to be immunized against scruples over violence and bullying. This becomes an implicit part of their education, whether or not it is ever publicly admitted. Accordingly, schools and adult authorities often turn a blind eye toward bullying. After two world wars, the Army lamented that a majority of combat soldiers never fired a weapon. They called for a change in the training of soldiers and the education and upbringing of children to correct that. By that measure, they have been successful. In Vietnam, Iraq and Afganistan, the majority of combat soldiers killed.

Sports has played a vital part in preparing children for institutionalized aggression, bullying and combat. In football, the goal is to attack the opponent and knock them down, a hard hit that keeps the opponent dazed on the ground is sometimes encouraged by coaches and cheered by the crowd. In schools and campuses, the athletes are often the popular heroes and also the bullies, involved too often in sexual violence or drinking binges in bars that lead to fights or crimes.

Only recently would they expect sanctions against bullying. Indeed, the more they bullied, the more popular they would be. Even before World War I, President Theodore Roosevelt insisted that elite universities like Harvard would have to enhance their football teams if America were to dominate the world. He declared: "We cannot afford to turn out college men who shrink from physical effort or a little physical pain." For the nation needed men with "the courage that will fight valiantly against the foes of the soul and the foes of the body."

The aggression and competiveness of bullying pervades civilian life as well as military. As the beacon for the rest of the world to emulate, the culture the United States wishes to export is capitalism. Capitalism's staunchest defenders proclaim competition to be its fundamental operating principle. The monopolistic corporations and the wealthiest 1% have been the most aggressive, bullying anyone who stood in their way by outsourcing their jobs, lowering wages, stripping away benefits and firing those seeking to organize unions.

The bully demonizes their victim. In American capitalism, elites have long defined the losers in the competitive struggle with the words used by Mitt Romney to defame the 47%: undeserving "moochers." They are weak and lazy and don't have the stuff to prevail. As victims, they deserve their fate and must submit to the triumphant. Those, like the wolves on Wall Street who bully their way to the top, should be there; those who couldn't or don't, belong where they are.

Bullying is the means through which the corporate empires were built. Carnegie and Rockefeller intimidated and threatened their rival capitalists to cede them an ever-larger share of the market. They brought in Pinkerton goons to beat striking workers into submission. Workers were forced to either sign "yellow dog" contracts and pledge not to join unions, or be thrown into the street. Similar bullying practices continue today. Corporations warn entire communites they will shut down factories and undermine the local economy if they do not accept low wages and minimal regulations. Banks entice consumers to borrow through predatory loans and then raise interest rates and threaten foreclosure. The corporations are clear they have the power and will not tolerate challenges from weaklings who fail to know their place.

Bullying enhances the ideology that the strong are strong and the weak are weak, and each deserves to be where they are. This attitude pervades America's culture, government, military, corporations, media, schools, entertainment, athletics and everyday life. The first step to a solution is shifting the conversation to institutional bullying, moving beyond simply a therapeutic narrative to a political one aiming toward transformative social change. As long as the United States embraces militarism and aggressive capitalism, systemic bullying and all its impacts - abroad and at home - will persist as a major crisis. 

[Jan 19, 2014]  Power + Incompetence = a Bullying Boss

Here’s some gratifying news for any employees out there who are feeling bullied by a tyrannical boss: That aggressive behavior may have little to do with you, and a lot to do with your boss’s feelings of incompetence. A new study in Psychological Science found that when managers are made to feel insecure about their job performance, their aggressiveness skyrockets. “Power holders feel they need to be superior and competent. When they don’t feel they can show that legitimately, they’ll show it by taking people down a notch or two” [New Scientist], says study coauthor Nathanael Fast.

The researchers got 410 volunteers from various workplaces to fill out questionnaires about their position in the workplace hierarchy, how they felt about their job performance, and their aggressive tendencies. They also conducted a series experiments on the volunteers. In one, they manipulated the subjects’ sense of power and self-worth by asking them to write about occasions when they felt either empowered or impotent and then either competent or incompetent. Previous research has suggested that such essays cause a short-term bump or drop in feelings of power and capability [New Scientist]. Next they asked the volunteers to set the level of punishment for (imaginary) university students who got wrong answers on a test. Those people who felt more powerful and more incompetent picked the harshest punishments, the study found.

So what’s to be done with a bullying boss? Coauthor Serena Chen says a little ego stroking may make life easier for everyone. “Make them feel good about themselves in some way,” Chen said, suggesting this might mean complimenting a hobby or nonwork activity provided it is “something plausible that doesn’t sound like you’re sucking up” [San Francisco Chronicle].

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DISCOVER: So, You Want to Be the Boss?

Tom Fox Bullying at Work

Finally, if you find your boss is beyond repair and higher level management is disinclined to take action, you many need to consider looking for a new job. Even with federal jobs in short supply due to budget constraints, there are still opportunities at many federal agencies. But don't just take the first opportunity that comes your way. Find something that aligns with your longer-term career goals. Otherwise, you may be miserable again, but for different reasons.

For more information, take a look at these Harvard Business Review blog posts - one about diagnosing and eliminating workplace bullying and another about stopping "mean girls" in the workplace. There's also a Workplace Bullying Institute that offers online resources, books, coaches and other materials to help those who feel they're being bullied at work.

Please do something. You owe it to yourself to work in an environment where you can succeed.

If you've been bullied -- and lived to tell the tale -- please share your thoughts by leaving a comment or emailing me at fedcoach@ourpublicservice.org.

This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.

[Feb 02, 2013] Battling Bully Bosses Fox News

90 percent of the workforce suffers abuse from their bosses at some point in their careers

Ever wonder what happened to those nasty schoolyard bullies who terrorized you as a child?

If recent studies and popular films like "The Devil Wears Prada," "Office Space," and "9 to 5" are any indication, many of them have entered the workplace and have become bosses.

Susan, a clerk at Walgreens, left her job because her manager would yell criticisms at her, in front of long lines of people at the check out. Meg, a marketing director, describes a former boss who called a special staff meeting because he was upset that employees took too long to come by his office and say, "Good morning."

Another employee counseled his manager not to interfere with an intricate computer program during the time he would be out for nasal surgery. The manager did not heed the advice, and subsequently called the employee in to fix what he had done. The employee, who was still in outpatient recovery, drug-laden and eyes swollen, arrived at work to fix the program and fell asleep at his desk during the process. The manager chastised him on the spot for sleeping on the job.

Prof. Harvey Hornstein, who served in the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology at Colombia University for over 30 years estimates that 90 percent of the workforce suffers abuse from their bosses at some point in their careers. Management researcher Chandra Louise says 80 percent of employees who quit their jobs do so because of problems with their bosses. And according to a recent Gallup poll, half the workforce would fire their boss if they could.

So can anything be done legally to combat a bully boss?

New York Law School Employment Law Professor Arthur Leonard says that if there is some kind of discriminatory aspect to the bullying, "then discrimination law may come into play.” The Supreme Court has interpreted Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act as covering workplace harassment, if the victims are singled out because of characteristics covered by the statute, such as race, religion, national origin, and sex.

But according to Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie, founders of the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, just 25 percent of workplace bullying is aimed at members of a legally protected class. So what is the other 75 percent of harassed employees to do?

A number of states have introduced "healthy workplace" bills to combat office bullying, but so far, none have been passed into law. In terms of common law tort remedies, some employees have successfully brought claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, but such cases are rare. Leonard says the problem is to prevail in such a claim and that "the conduct has to be totally outrageous. Some courts describe it as “beyond the bounds of civilized society.'" Moreover, Leonard says that in most jurisdictions, the distress has to manifest itself in physical symptoms of some sort. For example, employees have to establish that the abuse caused them to lose weight, break out in hives, or have trouble sleeping.

So, what sort of conduct might be extreme enough to support such a claim?

"One kind of case that I have heard about," says Leonard, "is where an employer believes a theft has gone on and they don't just interrogate employees, but they strip search them. Of course, physically assaulting employees would also be considered outrageous." The bottom line, according to Leonard, is that litigation is not the best solution in most workplace bullying cases. "Litigation is time-consuming, drawn out, expensive, and your chances of winning are, at best, difficult to predict,” he said.

So what should you do if you are the victim of workplace bullying?

The first thing employees should do is complaining to higher management. In most cases, utilizing existing grievance procedures is the most efficient way to get relief. According to Leonard, remaining silent can harm a potential litigant's chances should the harassment ripen into an actionable discrimination claim. He said that employees have to, “show not only that the conduct was objectively bad, but that subjectively the conduct was unwelcome — and if they allow it to go on too long, a court is going to say 'if it was so unwelcome, why didn't you complain to anybody?'"

In addition, employees should keep a detailed account of every instance of bullying they can recall, along with their response to it — especially any complaints or grievances they have made, and any investigations the company has undertaken in response to those grievances. Employees should also take into account of anything in their disciplinary file. Sometimes, companies respond to employee complaints by investigating the supervisor, deciding there was nothing to the claim, and putting something adverse in the employee's file-and that could be tantamount to illegal retaliation.

Thankfully, some have begun to address workplace bullying head on. In 2004, the Canadian province of Quebec outlawed "psychological harassment" in the workplace.

The Seattle law firm Perkins Coie has adopted a "no jerks allowed" rule, which helped earn them a spot on Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For."

Still, much more needs to be done to protect employees from workplace bullying. For starters, federal and state civil rights laws should be expanded to include general anti-harassment provisions for all employees. At the management level, company procedures should be expanded to allow for anonymous grievances from employees who might otherwise feel too intimidated to come forward.

One way or another, employers must be made to understand that bullying is not only inefficient and ineffective, but it's bad for business. Bosses who engage in it will ultimately be held accountable.

[Jan 20, 2013] When bullying has tragic consequences…

January 20, 2009 | Random Thoughts

I recently read this tragic story in the Daily Telegraph. Mike Gardner, a communications manager with the Sussex police force, committed suicide because he could no longer endure the bullying he received at the hands of his boss, Ms Mary Gardiner. “So why didn’t he leave the job if it was so bad?”, I hear you ask. The thing with bullying is most victims don’t see the warning signs until it’s too late. By the time you realise you have to get out of there, your self-esteem is gone and you lack the confidence to apply for other jobs so you feel trapped. This leaves you with three options: stay and fight, stay and don’t do anything about it or leave. Walking out of a toxic environment is difficult if one has family responsibilities like Mike Taylor did. This is a man who worked with the Sussex Police for 17 years and enjoyed his job – that is, until Ms Gardner showed up.

Ms Gardner’s behaviour is becoming very common. ‘Management by fear’ is what one does when one is incompetent and insecure. When bullying goes unchecked in a workplace, you know that HR is not doing its job properly. When someone decides to take their own life as a result of bullying, it’s not because they are weak, it’s because they have been so psychologically damaged that they just want the pain to stop. As Mr Taylor wrote in his note to his wife, ‘I need peace’. Those three words say it all.

Mr Taylor’s story is a really sad one. I, like many others, used to think that victims of bullying were weak – until I experienced it myself. While I never thought of suicide as an option during my experience, I know a few people who have. I always told myself that if I ever got to that point where I thought of killing myself, I would not be leaving this world alone – that bully and a few HR people would come along for the ride.

[Jan 20, 2013] Bullying in the public sector

"bullying in the public sector has taken on a new form:  it is now ruthless, relentless and increasingly becoming commonplace"

July 3, 2009 | Random Thoughts
I have just finished reading The Bullied Blogger’s blog and, though part of it is fictionalised to hide her identity, it is riveting stuff.  The Bullied Blogger, a UK university lecturer, was being victimised and fought to bring her bullies to justice.  Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop though I already knew how it would end – no matter what happened, she would lose.  You see, her situation is one that is played out very often.

In the UK, the public sector is supposed to be where all the employment laws are rigidly followed but this is often not the case. Working in the public sector can be a positive and rewarding experience if you work in an organisation or institution that actively discourages unacceptable behaviour in the workplace and protects employees from any reprisals for reporting inappropriate behaviour.

In recent times, bullying in the public sector has taken on a new form:  it is now ruthless, relentless and increasingly becoming commonplace.  I am not referring to one-off episodes of unacceptable behaviour but to a pattern of behaviour which, over a period of time,  is designed to demean and humiliate the target and make them feel worthless. It is awful to witness and even worse for the target.

I have seen hard-working, enthusiastic, assertive colleagues reduced to broken, quivering wrecks due to victimisation. When I was going through my own experience, I read as much literature as I could on bullying -  “Stand up to the bully”, “Complain to someone higher up”, “Take out a grievance” they all said.  ‘Fight back’ was the general advice given.  You see, fighting back is okay when you are a child being bullied in the school playground but when you are an adult in the workplace, it’s gets a bit complicated because office politics come into play. 

When the target approaches HR for help, HR all too often tries to cover up the bullying and if  the target continues to complain about the bullying, they suddenly find that spurious allegations have been made against them which require  ‘disciplinary action’. Those spurious allegations will pre-date the date of the target’s complaint about bullying to give the illusion of any disciplinary action being fair in the eyes of the law.  It is a tried-and-tested formula used to shut up the target.

My suggestion to anyone in that position is that if you value your mental health, family life and career then don’t bother fighting. Put all that energy into finding another job instead. Get out of there before your sickness or employment record becomes so tarnished that no other employer will touch you. Some may see this as a coward’s way out but I see it as an opportunity to change your job while your life and health are still intact. You can fight your case all the way to an employment tribunal if you wish but even if you win the battle, you still would have lost the war. The  experience will adversely affect your health, your family life and your career and no amount of compensation or justice can make up for that. And after the ordeal, while you are busy trying to put back together the tattered remnants of your once happy life, the bully has already moved on to their next target, with no remorse for the damage they have caused in your life.

watch-v=Q4SSS5fyNPo&feature=player_embedded

I now refer to that employment as the place where my career almost died.
>[Jan 20, 2013] |  Bullying – Ms Pratt should have kept her mouth shut
Corporate helpline has no confidentiality. and should not be expected to have one, despite claims to the contrary...
February 23, 2010 | Random Thoughts

In the UK, extensive media coverage has been given to the allegations of bullying in Gordon Brown’s office. These allegations were disclosed by Christine Pratt, the founder of the National Bullying Helpline.

I know what it’s like to be bullied. I was recently forced to leave my job in the public sector due to bullying and I still have the psychological scars of my experience.

People who ring the bullying helpline assume they are speaking to someone in confidence. By breaking that confidence, Ms Pratt has placed those people in a difficult position. If there really is a bullying culture in Mr Brown’s office, his office will track down the source of those calls and those employees will suffer reprisals for ‘bringing their employer into disrepute’ – because that’s how it works in a bullying culture.  In an environment where bullying is prevalent, bullying is the elephant in the room that everyone pretends not to see and woe betides the person who points out the elephant.

Christine Pratt, who claims to have been bullied in the past, should have known better than to pull a stunt like this. But then, her latest antics will come as no surprise to those who are already familiar with the questionable tactics she uses to drive business from the helpline to HR & Diversity Management, her commercial interest.

I think Christine Pratt shot herself in the foot with this one. Who would want to ring the bullying helpline now?

[Mar 30, 2012] Review 'Bully' is eye-opening -

March 30, 2012 | CNN.com

But in the case of "Bully," Weinstein isn't just mounting a PR blitz -- he's fighting the good fight. The movie is a sensitive and eye-opening documentary about the epidemic of bullying in American public schools. It's a film that would do well to be seen by as many teenagers as possible, and Weinstein had wanted to show it in schools. Yet "Bully" received an R rating, all because the F-word is used in it a handful of times. The Weinstein Co. has now decided to release "Bully" unrated. This doesn't solve the problem, since some theaters refuse to show unrated movies. So the very audience that Bully was made for still might have a hard time getting near it.

... ... ...

"Bully," directed by Lee Hirsch, takes a sympathetic, insightful look at five anguished kids from suburbanhis only reality.) Kelby, a 16-year-old lesbian, suffered abuse to the point that she tried to commit suicide three times.

Why are these kids targeted? Some of it is based on looks and prejudice, but much of it represents nothing more -- or less -- than the ostracization of those who are lonely or shy. They're viewed as "outsiders," and then vilified for it. "Bully" is a portrait of good kids reduced to shells of themselves by a climate of toxic hate and fear.

There's only one thing missing from the movie, and that's an in-depth look at the bullies themselves. We're forced to guess at what has made them into junior sadists. My own conjecture is that their almost complete lack of empathy represents the channeling of a larger current of intolerance now at loose in the culture -- the kind you see increasingly in politics, not to mention all over the Internet.

[Aug 03, 2010] When Students Become Class Bullies, Professors Are Among the Victims

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Katherine Almquist is certain that, every semester, at least one of her students will push the limits of classroom civility and the professor-student relationship. The wild card, however, is just how over-the-top the incident will be.

"It's all about acting out aggression now. They don't hold anything back," says Ms. Almquist, an associate professor of foreign languages at Frostburg State University. "Dealing with it is just part of my job."

She is not exaggerating.

[Aug 03, 2010] Professor Says School Cultures Can Help Prevent Bullying

Newswise — While bullying seems to be an endemic problem throughout American schools, a Westfield State College researcher believes that school culture can have a major influence on the degree to which bullying impacts the students and the quality of education.

Elizabeth Stassinos, associate professor of criminal justice, has designed programs that help area schools combat bullying. Stassinos, a Holyoke, Mass., resident, offers hope that schools can adopt strategies to curb bullying, just as they have dealt with other challenges in education.

“The real answer to bullying is similar to the answer to the problem of creating more effective schools,” Stassinos said. “It includes better training for teachers, more teachers and counselors, smaller class sizes, and support so that bullying can’t go unnoticed.”

“One thing I've learned from reading the bullying literature is the first thing we have to do is to eliminate the audience for the bully because the bullies exist for their audience,” Stassinos said. “The bully's identity has become a performance of violence for others, usually masculine violence, but the performance of violence is now being acted out by women and girls more than in the past, an unfortunate trend.”

“It is encouraging to see our college faculty work so closely with area schools to improve education on all levels,” said Evan S. Dobelle, president of Westfield State. “There are many serious issues, such as bullying, that are significant barriers to achieving a quality education.”

In 2006, Stassinos taught a weekly creative writing class to inmates in the women’s unit at the Hampden County Medium Security Facility in Ludlow, Mass. Before long, she began to wonder why some people become bullies and violent criminals, while others do not.

Stassinos is now engaged in research on bullying and used her knowledge to develop and facilitate two staff workshops on bullying at Southwick-Tolland High School in Southwick, Mass. last year.

With the help of guidance counselor Rachel Salvidio, Stassinos trained the staff in current sociological and criminal justice theories and gave them tools for recognizing and addressing bullying.

During her workshops, Stassinos covered issues such as the dropout rates of bullies and victims, training faculty as “first responders” in bullying incidents, and cyberbullying with cell phones and Internet social networking sites such as Facebook.

Salvidio said she feels bullying is a serious problem in all schools, yet school staffs are not given the platform to discuss it on a professional basis. “We, as a school community, were thrilled to have Elizabeth come in and share her expertise with us,” she said.

“We’ve had Elizabeth Stassinos come to Southwick-Tolland Regional High School several times,” Salvidio said. “She’s able to facilitate excellent, professional discussions about the origins of bullying, the effects on the bully and the victim, and what we can do at the high school level by way of prevention and education.”

Using the “violentization” theory of Seton Hall professor and criminologist Lonnie Athens, and renowned psychologist Robert Hare’s research on bullying and psychopathy, Stassinos seeks to learn more about how children are socialized to become violent and why many victims of bullies become bullies themselves.

“Bullies are often victims first and are seeking to perform that victimization on others,” Stassinos said. “It’s so important that teachers and administrators learn the signs and symptoms of bullying. These behaviors are an important issue now with the recent tragic consequences at local schools.”

Stassinos plans to present another bullying workshop this year at the Center School in Holyoke, Mass.

“I’m hoping that these teacher retreats and forums give teachers and counselors a chance to speak freely, describe their hopes for the school, and feel supported by faculty at other schools and at Westfield State,” she said.

In addition to her work on bullying, Stassinos, who earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Virginia, studies deviance and cross-cultural anomie, a debilitating feeling resulting from the loss of normal social life. This occurs in such circumstances as wartime and during times of rapid social change or accelerating technology.

Like the late sociologist Robert K. Merton, Stassinos and other criminologists today believe that this tear in the social fabric, between a culture’s goals and its people’s means to achieve these goals, encourages individual criminal behavior.

“At Westfield State, we are trying to create and model the classroom and culture that we think fosters scholarship and harnesses the energy of discussion without creating the aggression and insecurity that can lead to anomie, hopelessness, as well as school and even college bullying, intimidation and aggression,” Stassinos said.

“We use our classrooms to model open dialogue that is small-workshop oriented. For example, our linked courses model an intimate and committed intellectual community with double the academic firepower,” she said.

Stassinos teaches a linked course with Jennifer DiGrazia of the English Department faculty called, “The Writer and the Detective.” This class links two required courses for freshmen and creates community between English composition students, who are also criminal justice majors taking criminology theory for a combined 6-hour course.

“In this way, 20 students get two professors linking the content and form of coursework and create for themselves a community of writers and detectives, who are studying the causes of crime,” she said. “The dynamic is encouraging and the professors are guiding discussion and writing juries every step of the way. The energy that goes into bullying and hazing can be channeled into learning.”

Stassinos’ anthropological work includes essays on the study of deviance by Boasian anthropologists Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. Boasian anthropology is based on the teaching and writing of Jewish anthropologist Franz Boas. This “culture and personality” school of anthropology places culture as the fundamental key to understanding race, ethnicity and gender.

Stassinos teaches courses on criminology, deviance theory, and prison culture and educational rehabilitation with an anthropological perspective.

[Aug 03, 2010] When Students Become Class Bullies, Professors Are Among the Victims - Google Search

[Jul 15, 2010]  Bully or Victim More Similar Than We Might Think Scientific American Podcast

July 10, 2010 |  scientific american

We might think that bullies are quite different from the victims of bullying. But those who become either a bully or a victim actually share similar outlooks and have similar difficulties dealing with their environments. There is, however, one significant risk factor for bullying.

 

Researchers reviewed and analyzed 153 studies and found that both victims and bullies have poor problem-solving skills within social situations. They also found that boys bully more than girls but here’s a significant point: Those who do poorly in school are at a higher risk of becoming a bully. The research was published this week in the journal School Psychology Quarterly.

 

Typical bullies have negative attitudes toward others, feel badly about themselves, and most likely grew up in a home with conflict. Victims share much of same, negative attitude, conflict in the family.

 

But the dividing characteristic: bullies dislike school and tend to perform worse academically than those who later become victims.

 

Most current solutions try to enforce anti-bullying rules or simply remove the bully from bullying situations. The authors note, however, that the most successful intervention is three-pronged. They suggest simultaneously targeting the areas that may be influencing the potential bully or victim in the first place: the parents, the peers and the schools.

 

—Christie Nicholson

endbullyingnow:

While it's true Targets (aka victims) may struggle to interpret social situations, this is what brings on the bullying.

Rather, the undermining and adversive controlling nature of being bullied causes the Target to second-guess their perceptions of social situations.

It is the bullying that brings about this insecurity, not the insecurity that brings about the bullying.

Angela Monaghan, On T.R.A.C. for BULLYING PREVENTION, endbullyingnow@gmail.com

[Jul 05, 2010] Bullying of Academics in Higher Education

Because of the serial bully's Jekyll and Hyde nature, compulsive lying, charm and plausibility, the validity of this person's testimony cannot be relied on in disciplinary proceedings, appeal hearings, and under oath at tribunal and in court. Emphasize this when taking action.

Mediation with this type of individual is inappropriate. Serial bullies regard mediation (and arbitration, conciliation, negotiation etc) as appeasement, which they ruthlessly exploit; it allows them to give the impression in public that they are negotiating and being conciliatory, whilst in private they continue the bullying. The lesson of the twentieth century is that you do not appease aggressors.

The disordered thinking processes of the criminal / antisocial mind are succinctly described in Stanton E Samenow's book 'Straight talk about criminals'. For example:

"Certain people who I term non-arrestable criminals behave criminally towards others , but they are sufficiently fearful [and knowledgeable of the law] so that they do not commit major crimes. We all know them: individuals who shamelessly use others to gain advantage for themselves. Having little empathy, they single-mindedly pursue their objectives and have little remorse for the injuries they inflict. If others take them to task, they become indignant and self-righteous and blame circumstances. Such people share much in common with the person who makes crime a way of life. Although they may not have broken the law, they nonetheless victimize others." (Chapter 8, The criminal mind exists independent of particular laws, culture or customs)

In Samenow's 1984 book 'Inside the criminal mind' he uses this description:

"Some criminals are smooth rather than contentious, ingratiating rather than surly, devious rather than intimidating. They pretend to be interested in what others say. Appearing to invite suggestions, they inwardly dismiss each idea without considering its merits. They seem to take criticism in stride but ignore it and spitefully make mental note of who the critic was. They misuse authority and betray trust but are not blatant about doing so. With the criminal at the helm, employee morale deteriorates. His method of operation sooner or later discourages others from proposing innovative ideas and developing creative solutions." (Chapter 6, Work and the criminal)

From: http://www.bullyonline.org

[Jul 08, 2010]   Tales of Corporate Oppression

I used to work a grocery store which was governed by a woman I would be accurate in describing as a "bean counter".

One day I called in sick, which I was, and this very lovely woman called me a liar and hung up on me. This infuriated me to the point that I called right back with every intention to resign my post but to frustrate me even more she put me on hold for ten minutes. Now, this may have been a good thing since I realized while I waited that quitting my job would hurt me a lot more than it would her. So I decided to resort to using some civilized verbal abuse (and it was indeed civilized, some words that were in my head did not escape through my mouth) and expressed my discontent with her attitude towards me as an employee. The conversation ended amicably with us coming to a common understanding. Or so I thought.

The next time I came into work I was summoned to her office. Once I got there I received no eye contact from her (her attempt to dominate the situation) and in front of her was my punch clock printout, with every day where I was even just one minute late highlighted. In this group of days being late my average was about three minutes past the hour - and this is in Iceland, where if you're ten minutes late, you're on time (in Mexico I'd have been there before she was). Still she gave me a long lecture on what a bad employee I was - this coming from the only boss I've had who hasn't given me outstanding recommendations - while my department head stood by almost burying his face in his hands. I countered with the argument that I made up for it by never taking a cigarette break, since I don't smoke, and her reply was... that nobody in the company smoked. Which was an insane lie (or delusions of some kind) since more than half of the staff were smokers at that time.

It's safe to say that I lost that battle unfairly but was redeemed when this very lovely woman got fired for being an uptight *enter civilized verbal abuse*.

[Jul 04, 2010] Bullying of Academics in Higher Education

The bullying of academics follows a pattern of horrendous, Orwellian elimination rituals, often hidden from the public. Despite the anti-bullying policies (often token), bullying is rife across campuses, and the victims (targets) often pay a heavy price.

"Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence." Leonardo da Vinci - "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men [or good women] do nothing." Winston Churchill.

[Jul 03, 2010]   When the Boss Feels Inadequate

"Power holders who do not feel personally competent are more likely than those who feel competent to lash out against other people."
June 01, 2010 | Bullying of Academics in Higher Education

ABSTRACT

When and why do power holders seek to harm other people? The present research examined the idea that aggression among the powerful is often the result of a threatened ego. Four studies demonstrated that individuals with power become aggressive when they feel incompetent in the domain of power. Regardless of whether power was measured in the workplace (Studies 1 and 4), manipulated via role recall (Study 2), or assigned in the laboratory (Study 3), it was associated with heightened aggression when paired with a lack of self-perceived competence. As hypothesized, this aggression appeared to be driven by ego threat: Aggressiveness was eliminated among participants whose sense of self-worth was boosted (Studies 3 and 4). Taken together, these findings suggest that (a) power paired with self-perceived incompetence leads to aggression, and (b) this aggressive response is driven by feelings of ego defensiveness. Implications for research on power, competence, and aggression are discussed...

CONCLUSION

The present findings highlight the importance of perceiving personal competence when holding a position of power. Power holders who do not feel personally competent are more likely than those who feel competent to lash out against other people. Additionally, the finding that self-worth boosts assuage the aggressive tendencies of such power holders implies the effectiveness of a strategy commonly employed by underlings: excessive flattery. It is both interesting and ironic to note that such flattery, although perhaps affirming to the ego, may contribute to the incompetent power holder’s ultimate demise—by causing the power holder to lose touch with reality.

Full paper at: http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~nathanaf/power_incompetence_and_aggresssion.pdf

[Jul 03, 2010] It's official: Your bullying boss really is an idiot

"Blind flattery may not be the best solution for the 54 million US citizens estimated to have experienced workplace bullying. But easing leaders into new positions of power, or telling them that it's natural to feel daunted, could prevent future outbursts"
Bullying of Academics in Higher Education

Got a bullying boss? Take solace in new research showing that leaders who feel incompetent really do lash out at others to temper their own inferiority.

"Power holders feel they need to be superior and competent. When they don't feel they can show that legitimately, they'll show it by taking people down a notch or two," says Nathanael Fast, a social psychologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who led a series of experiments to explore this effect.

In one, Fast and his colleague Serena Chen, who is at the University of California, Berkeley, asked 90 men and women who had jobs to complete online questionnaires about their aggressive tendencies and perceived competence. The most aggressive of the lot tended to have both high-power jobs and a chip on their shoulder, Fast and Chen found.

To see if a bruised ego can actually cause aggression, the researchers manipulated people's sense of power and self-worth by asking them to write about occasions when they felt either empowered or impotent and then either competent or incompetent. Previous research has suggested that such essays cause a short-term bump or drop in feelings of power and capability, Fast says.

Feel-bad factor

Next, Fast and Chen asked their volunteers to select a punishment to be given to university students for wrong answers in a hypothetical test of learning. Volunteers chose between horn sounds that ranged from 10 decibels to a deafening 130 decibels.

The volunteers who felt the most incompetent and empowered picked the loudest punishments – 71 decibels on average. Workers who felt up to their jobs, selected far quieter punishments, between 55 and 62 decibels, as did those primed to feel incompetent yet powerless.

Flattery seems to temper the aggressive urges of insecure leaders. When Fast and Chen coaxed the egos of these volunteers by praising their leadership skills, their aggressive tendencies all but disappeared. This is proof that leaders are aggressive because of a hurt ego, not simply a threat to their power, Fast says.

This might also explain why leaders of organisations both big and small surround themselves with yes-men and women, he says.

Blind flattery may not be the best solution for the 54 million US citizens estimated to have experienced workplace bullying. But easing leaders into new positions of power, or telling them that it's natural to feel daunted, could prevent future outbursts, says Adam Galinsky, a social psychologist at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois.

From: http://www.newscientist.com/

[Jan 22, 2010] The Atlantic Online December 2009 The Science of Success David Dobbs

In the years since Suomi took over Harlow’s Wisconsin lab as a 28-year-old wunderkind, he has both broadened and sharpened the inquiry Harlow started. New tools now let Suomi examine not just his monkeys’ temperaments but also the physiological and genetic underpinnings of their behavior. His lab’s naturalistic environment allows him to focus not just on mother-child interactions but also on the family and social environments that shape and respond to the monkeys’ behavior. “Life in a rhesus-monkey colony is very, very complicated,” Suomi says. The monkeys must learn to navigate a social system that is highly nuanced and hierarchical. “Those who can manage this, do well,” Suomi told me. “Those who don’t, don’t.”

Rhesus monkeys typically mature at about four or five years and live to about 20 in the wild. Their development parallels our own at a fairly neat 1-to-4 ratio: a 1-year-old monkey is much like a 4-year-old human being, a 4-year-old monkey is like a 16-year-old human being, and so on. A mother typically gives birth annually, starting at around age 4. Though the monkeys copulate all year, the females’ fertility seasons are only a couple of months long. Since they tend to occur together, a troop usually produces crops of babies that have same-age peers.

For the first month, the mother keeps the baby attached to her or within arm’s reach. At about two weeks, the baby starts to explore, at first within only a few feet of its mother. These forays grow in frequency, duration, and distance over the next six to seven months, but rarely do the babies pass out of the mother’s sight line or earshot. If the young monkey gets frightened, it scampers back to the mother. Often she’ll see trouble coming and pull the infant close.

When the monkey is about eight months old—a rhesus preschooler—its mother’s mating time arrives. Anticipating another child, the mother allows the youngster to spend more and more time with its cousins, with older siblings in the maternal line, and with occasional visitors from other families or troops. The youngster’s family group, friends, and allies still provide protection when necessary.

A maturing female will stay with this group all her life. A male, however, will leave—often under pressure from the females as he gets rowdier and rougher—when he’s 4 or 5, or roughly the equivalent of a 16-to-20-year-old person. At first he’ll join an all-male gang that lives more or less separately. After a few months to a year, he’ll leave the gang and try to charm, push, or sidle his way into a new family or troop. If he succeeds, he becomes one of several adult males to serve as mate, companion, and muscle for the several females. But only about half the males make it that far. Their transition period exposes them to attacks from other young males, attacks from rival gangs, attacks from new troop members if they play their cards wrong, and predation during any time they lack a gang’s or troop’s protection. Many die in the transition.

Very early in his work, Suomi identified two types of monkeys that had trouble managing these relations. One type, which Suomi calls a “depressed” or “neurotic” monkey, accounted for about 20 percent of each generation. These monkeys are slow to leave their mothers’ sides when young. As adults they remain tentative, withdrawn, and anxious. They form fewer bonds and alliances than other monkeys do.

The other type, generally male, is what Suomi calls a “bully”: an unusually and indiscriminately aggressive monkey. These monkeys accounted for 5 to 10 percent of each generation. “Rhesus monkeys are fairly aggressive in general, even when young,” Suomi says, “and their play involves a lot of rough-and-tumble. But usually no one gets hurt—except with these guys. They do stupid things most other monkeys know not to. They repeatedly confront dominant monkeys. They get between moms and their kids. They don’t know how to calibrate their aggression, and they don’t know how to read signs they should back off. Their conflicts tend to always escalate.” These bullies also score poorly in tests of monkey self-control. For instance, in a “cocktail hour” test that Suomi sometimes uses, monkeys get unrestricted access to a neutral-tasting alcoholic drink for an hour. Most monkeys have three or four drinks and then stop. The bullies, Suomi says, “drink until they drop.”

The neurotics and the bullies meet quite different fates. The neurotics mature late but do okay. The females become jumpy mothers, but how their children turn out depends on the environment in which the mothers raise them. If it’s secure, they become more or less normal; if it’s insecure, they become jumpy too. The males, meanwhile, stay within their mothers’ family circles an unusually long time—up to eight years. They’re allowed to do so because they don’t make trouble. And their longer stay lets them acquire enough social savvy and diplomatic deference so that when they leave, they usually work their way into new troops more successfully than do males who break away younger. They don’t get to mate as prolifically as more confident, more assertive males do; they seldom rise high in their new troops; and their low status can put them at risk in conflicts. But they’re less likely to die trying to get in the door. They usually survive and pass on their genes.

The bullies fare much worse. Even as babies and youths, they seldom make friends. And by the time they’re 2 or 3, their extreme aggression leads the troop’s females to simply run them out, by group force if necessary. Then the male gangs reject them, as do other troops. Isolated, most of them die before reaching adulthood. Few mate.

Suomi saw early on that each of these monkey types tended to come from a particular type of mother. Bullies came from harsh, censorious mothers who restrained their children from socializing. Anxious monkeys came from anxious, withdrawn, distracted mothers. The heritages were pretty clear-cut. But how much of these different personality types passed through genes, and how much derived from the manner in which the monkeys were raised?

To find out, Suomi split the variables. He took nervous infants of nervous mothers—babies who in standardized newborn testing were already jumpy themselves—and gave them to especially nurturing “supermoms.” These babies turned out very close to normal. Meanwhile, Dario Maestripieri of the University of Chicago took secure, high-scoring infants from secure, nurturing mothers and had them raised by abusive mothers. This setting produced nervous monkeys.

The lesson seemed clear. Genes played a role—but environment played an equally important one.

When tools for the study of genes first became available, in the late 1990s, Suomi was quick to use them to more directly examine the balance between genes and environment in shaping his monkeys’ development. He almost immediately struck gold, with a project he started in 1997 with Klaus-Peter Lesch, a psychiatrist from the University of Würzburg. The year before, Lesch had published data revealing, for the first time, that the human serotonin-transporter gene had three variants (the previously mentioned short/short, short/long, and long/long alleles) and that the two shorter versions magnified risk for depression, anxiety, and other problems. Asked to genotype Suomi’s monkeys, Lesch did so. He found that they had the same three variants, though the short/short form was rare.

Suomi, Lesch, and NIH colleague J. Dee Higley set about doing a type of study now recognized as a classic “gene-by-environment” study. First they took cerebral spinal fluid from 132 juvenile rhesus monkeys and analyzed it for a serotonin metabolite, called 5-HIAA, that’s considered a reliable indicator of how much serotonin the nervous system is processing. Lesch’s studies had already shown that depressed people with the short/long serotonin-transporter allele had lower 5-HIAA levels, reflecting less-efficient serotonin processing. He and Suomi wanted to see if the finding would hold true in monkeys. If it did, it would provide more evidence for the genetic dynamic shown in Lesch’s studies. And finding such a dynamic in rhesus monkeys would confirm their value as genetic and behavioral models for studying human behavior.

[Jul 3, 2009] vf article - Finance and Business & Law

Michael Lewis has a generally very good piece in Vanity Fair on the AIG Financial Products mess, describing Joe Cassano as a ignorant bully and the effects his bulling has...

[Apr 22, 2008] Helping Your Child with Bullying Education.com

[Nov 19, 2008] Bullying devastates lives -- until victims find ways to heal By Janet Kornblum

USATODAY.com, USA TODAY

Kathy Shedd had red hair. Meg Rafferty was shy.  And Jodee Blanco was just different. Those were their crimes.

The punishments for Blanco, Shedd, Rafferty, and others like them? Being kicked, punched and spit upon. They were yelled at, taunted and shunned. They spent hard time in isolation, crying themselves to sleep at night, sometimes wanting to die.

They weren't in prison. They were in school. And their tormenters were not adults, but other children. And yet, now as adults, the memories of childhood bullying still haunt their daily lives.

"I was relentlessly tormented from fifth grade until the end of high school simply for being different," says Blanco, a former public relations executive from Chicago. Blanco wrote about her experiences in Please Stop Laughing at Us. .. : One Survivor's Extraordinary Quest to Prevent School Bullying, which was published in the spring. "I was ambushed. I would find my belongings floating in the toilet. I was spat at and kicked and worst — ignored."

Blanco, a school consultant who talks to students and teachers about ways to prevent bullying — often cyberbullying — still bears the emotional pain of bullying, including raw flashbacks to childhood torment. But she's getting help and now also wants other adults who have been bullied to seek help as well.

Though cyberbullying has taken center stage among many in the psychological community, "adult survivors of peer abuse," as she calls her demographic, often suffer in silence, she says.

Rafferty, of Eden Prairie, Minn., 52, knew she was different and "that there was something wrong with me," she says. But like many adult survivors, "I tried to hide it."

Not everyone who is bullied has lifelong trauma. But there's no question that "unrelenting, daily hostilities that maybe escalate to threats or actual aggression can be on par with torture and child abuse," or that "repeated and severe bullying can cause psychological trauma," says Daniel Nelson, medical director of the Child Psychiatry Unit at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

"There's no question that bullying in certain instances can be absolutely devastating."

The abuse that Kathy Shedd of Lafayette, Ind., endured more than two decades ago still affects her, even at age 42.

Shedd's crime? Being born with red hair — and having a name that unfortunately made rhyming taunts simple.

"Being bullied set me up as a mark," she says. "I don't fight back." It's so bad that she likes to have her husband with her when she goes out in public — although lately things have been improving for her, ever since she began focusing on the issue.

"I've always wanted to know: Why? Why do they bully?"

That's a simple question with many answers. Experts have different theories on why certain children get picked on, but most agree that being different — in even the smallest way — can lead to bullying.

As a teenager, Jenny Morsch, 28, of Hinckley, Ill., became the target of anonymous letters that called her fat and threatened her. She has her suspicions about the teens in town who might have written the letters. But even police couldn't identify the perpetrators, leaving Jenny ostracized, sentenced to sit alone at lunch with kids staring at her. The letters made her frightened, depressed and suicidal."

She did get help in college. But a decade after it happened, it still affects her.

"I feel like everything sucks and I can't do anything right. I feel like I have to be perfect."

Blanco is also still affected today, even though she spends her life counseling other victims. Recently she began therapy to help her put the pain behind her.

And she strongly believes that others who have survived years of abuse also need to find ways of healing.

"I want people who are victims, who are survivors like me, to know that if you're affected by it, you have to take it just as seriously as you would if you were abused in any other way as a child, and you need to incorporate it into whatever therapy you're doing," she says. " You have to acknowledge it."

READERS: Have you ever been bullied? How did you deal with it? Does it affect you now? Or have you ever been the bully? Why and is there anything someone could've done to make you stop? Share your experiences and opinions below, keeping in mind USA TODAY's community guidelines against personal attacks and hate speech:

[Aug 14, 2008] Bullying expert - live blog

Daily Telegraph

There was a lot of ignorance for quite some time. But research over the last decade has now made us all aware of the serious impact of bullying not only on those who are victimized but also those who become desensitized to the cruelty involved in bullying.  Acceptance of bullying (even by doing nothing about it) creates a culture in which those with ‘power ‘ (e.g. because they have more social power or they are in a group and the person being victimized is temporarily without social support or because they have a greater capacity for cold-blooded mistreatment of others) feel they are entitled and should be more successful. The National Safe Schools Framework has started to change things in schools. It has made them more aware of the issue of bullying and supported them in developing stronger and more effective policies, procedures and programs to tackle bullying.

... ... ...

Firstly consider the possibility that what is happening to your son, although unpleasant (e.g. rejection), may not be bullying. The definition of bullying has 5 key characteristics. It is behavior that causes distress, is intended to do so, is directed towards the same person each time, is repeated and is the result of a power imbalance
If you think this is what is happening ask to speak to the principal and if you feel that you haven't received a reasonable response, consider contacting the regional educational authority about the situation.

[Mar 9, 2008] Bullying more harmful than sexual harassment on the job, say researchers

Workplace bullying, such as belittling comments, persistent criticism of work and withholding resources, appears to inflict more harm on employees than sexual harassment, say researchers who presented their findings at a conference today.

“As sexual harassment becomes less acceptable in society, organizations may be more attuned to helping victims, who may therefore find it easier to cope,” said lead author M. Sandy Hershcovis, PhD, of the University of Manitoba. “In contrast, non-violent forms of workplace aggression such as incivility and bullying are not illegal, leaving victims to fend for themselves.”

This finding was presented at the Seventh International Conference on Work, Stress and Health, co-sponsored by the American Psychological Association, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the Society for Occupational Health Psychology.

Hershcovis and co-author Julian Barling, PhD, of Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, reviewed 110 studies conducted over 21 years that compared the consequences of employees’ experience of sexual harassment and workplace aggression. Specifically, the authors looked at the effect on job, co-worker and supervisor satisfaction, workers’ stress, anger and anxiety levels as well as workers’ mental and physical health. Job turnover and emotional ties to the job were also compared.

The authors distinguished among different forms of workplace aggression.

Both bullying and sexual harassment can create negative work environments and unhealthy consequences for employees, but the researchers found that workplace aggression has more severe consequences. Employees who experienced bullying, incivility or interpersonal conflict were more likely to quit their jobs, have lower well-being, be less satisfied with their jobs and have less satisfying relations with their bosses than employees who were sexually harassed, the researchers found.

Furthermore, bullied employees reported more job stress, less job commitment and higher levels of anger and anxiety. No differences were found between employees experiencing either type of mistreatment on how satisfied they were with their co-workers or with their work.

“Bullying is often more subtle, and may include behaviors that do not appear obvious to others,” said Hershcovis. “For instance, how does an employee report to their boss that they have been excluded from lunch? Or that they are being ignored by a coworker? The insidious nature of these behaviors makes them difficult to deal with and sanction.”

From a total of 128 samples that were used, 46 included subjects who experienced sexual harassment, 86 experienced workplace aggression and six experienced both. Sample sizes ranged from 1,491 to 53,470 people. Participants ranged from 18 to 65 years old. The work aggression samples included both men and women. The sexual harassment samples examined primarily women because, Hershcovis said, past research has shown that men interpret and respond differently to the behaviors that women perceive as sexual harassment.

Source: American Psychological Association

BullyBusters.org Workplace Bullying in the News

The Consultant

Dr. Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute in Bellingham, WA, and co-author of The Bully at Work, also says to discriminate between people who are merely difficult ­ but who are rational and can be negotiated with ­ and bullies, whom he calls "difficult people with horns." Bullies can't be reasoned with, he says, because they're "all about power, the abuse of power, the pursuit of power. They have superior communication skills. They will slice and dice you."

That's why, he says, the brilliant comeback line you think up right after a confrontation just won't work. Targets, he says, don't have the ability to be aggressive, so the bully ­ who has trained and rehearsed his aggressions ­ can always keep them off balance. And, he says, "Unless you were born that way, it's hard in middle age to become verbally aggressive."

Aggression, however, is exactly what will back a bully down. "They're cowards," Namie says. "But when you become like them, you've lost."

Instead, he offers these tips:

  • Don't appease the bully or seek his or her approval. "You don't need their definition of you to survive."
     
  • Don't backpedal, apologize or jump higher to please the bully.
     
  • Don't expect human resources to be your ally.
     
  • Do ask your co-workers to support you. "They can't fire everybody. It breaks the silence and makes it a normal, accountable world. But you've got to ask early. If you don't, it's like crying wolf. Use the power of the group to shame, humiliate and face down the bully."
     
  • Do make a business case to higher-ups several levels above the bully, appealing to the company's mission, vision and values. "It's a dollars-and-cents issue on absenteeism, turnover, litigation costs, slowed productivity and intangibles like morale. Refine the message to make it unemotional, which is hard to do."
     
  • Then, he says, take time off to heal. "You've got to be offsite and heal before you can go back and be able to make an unemotional business case."
     
  • Be clear about your demands. "What do you need to be made whole and safe?"
  • The Academic

    Dr. Loraleigh Keashly, associate professor of communications at Wayne State University in Detroit, says psychological warfare against a bully boss is never a good idea, mainly because the balance of power is unequal, the situation will escalate, and you'll be doubly victimized because others will see you as a troublemaker.

    Further, she says, the bully may be of greater value in helping the company achieve its goals. Thus, if the company is forced to choose between a complaining target and a valuable bully, guess who will get the pink slip. However, she says, "Good companies will step in to ask why a formerly good employee now is a troublemaker."

    Still, she offers this advice:

  • Keep a journal, "for yourself and to provide documentation if there's an investigation."
     
  • If it's early on, confront the bully in a constructive way using basic conflict-resolution techniques. "Over time, your resources to respond become disabled and you're more vulnerable."
  • If you follow the "Don't grieve, leave" pathway, she says, pursue ways to recover from the damage you sustained. And watch out for what she calls "leaking" ­ carrying your old defenses and hurts into new situations. "Recognize that you are in a new workplace, and that's not the place to work on those issues."

    And if, like targets A and B, you're uncertain about how to explain leaving your last position during a job interview, Keashly says, "Keep it professional. Focus on the work you love doing and finding an environment that will enable that work, not the messy details of the position you left." She suggests an approach along the lines of, "The nature of the work I was doing and the kind of support I got didn't match."

    [Apr 22, 2005] Kissing up, kicking down by Max McKeownp

    Carl Ford's appearance at the senate Foreign Relations Committee proceedings were not without personal risk as he described John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for United Nations ambassador, as 'a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy' whose attempt to intimidate a mid-level analyst raises 'real questions about his suitability for high office.'

    So why did Carl 'defender of the little people' Ford, come forward to tell the truth about John 'serial abuser' Bolton?

    It can't be big P politics because Ford is Republican and conservative so it seems most likely that Ford believes at least two things: that abusing power and authority is wrong and that it is an ineffective style that will damage the objectives of the USA.

    Clearly, Ford has an impressive gift for a powerful and damning phrase, but is he correct?

    Why was the analyst so intimidated that he couldn't speak the truth to Bolton's face?

    Bolton on Monday acknowledged trying to get the analyst reassigned but said it was because he had 'gone behind my back', which leaves the obvious question: why was the analyst so intimidated that he couldn't speak the truth to Bolton's face?

    Leaders need the truth but Bolton's approach will reduce communication to him to flattery and capitulation. It's something that Machiavelli recognised 500 years ago when he counselled the princes of the Medici family to conduct themselves in such a way that those around them,

    Machiavelli distrusted flattery because it prevented useful information and discordant voices from being considered by those in power. He reasoned that it was better to have the information and choose to ignore it or act counter to it than to act in ignorance.

    And so it is today or tomorrow. Or thirty years ago when the 'infectious optimism' of John F. Kennedy's team allied to the 'arrogance' of the CIA team working for him led to the ludicrous night time amphibious invasion of Cuba, the capture of 1,977 Cuban rebels, and the mortifying embarrassment of the US president. The plan was always doomed to failure but no-one would tell the president the truth to his face. Why not?

    The Bay of Pigs fiasco was one of the presidential decisions that received analysis from Irving Janis, social psychologist at Yale, who in 1971 described his, very popular, theory of 'groupthink' as one where faulty decisions are made because of 'a desire for conformity and concurrence within the leadership group at the expense of critical and objective thinking.'

    The only trouble with it as a theory was that it could only explain the past retrospectively after it was, like Charles and Camilla's apology, too late.

    It would be far better to be able to know in advance which groups, teams or regimes are likely to avoid the truth and make stupendously stupid decisions. This is why a team at the University of California at Berkeley has developed something with the unappealing acronym of GDQS, or Group Dynamics Q Sort, that tests groupthink using a set of 100 questions that assess the groups decision-making dynamics (e.g. 'The group leader is insulated from criticism' versus 'The group is exposed to a wide range of views and arguments').

    The team is now assessing governments to see to what extent they are 'well-informed and open to alternatives'. These include the Bush administration and its ability to shield itself from any information that contradicted its desired course of action.

    If being open to alternatives really does improve decision making, as Janis and the Berkley group argue, then what are we to make of the view of a contributor to the Al Franken, Air America radio show, who said, in response to the Bolton situation,

    'Wake up call: The vast majority of managers at every level in American business and government are mindless thugs, abusive kiss up kick down morons who have not the ability to lead. Welcome to the culture that is the United States of America!'

    Is Bolton just a bad man with a bad haircut, poor impulse control and unruly facial hair? Or is he also symptomatic of a management quality issue?

    The response of shareholders and boards of directors when confronted with the bad behavior of senior, or junior managers, is often very similar to Senator Richard Lugar, the committee chairman, who distanced himself from Bolton's approach saying, 'obviously, Secretary Bolton's demeanour is not my style', but still felt that he would vote for Bolton because, 'the paramount issue is reform of the U.N. and the confidence President Bush and Secretary of State (Condoleezza) Rice have in this nominee'.

    Or, in other words, 'if the Pres wants a bully who am I to argue?' or 'if he gets results then it might be morally distasteful but business is business.'

    But being too scary or too powerful stops the truth getting to the very people who need it most. (Think Star Wars - No one ever told Darth Vader that he needed an inhaler and no-one seems to tell Lucas about how his CGI obsession is ruining his legacy).

    And so we find a situation where the weak – employees - become targets for abuse and stop sharing valuable truth with their managers, while the powerful - boards and senators - act weak because they are willing to ignore means in return for ends.

    But if history demonstrates one thing it is that this kowtowing to bullies is both morally and pragmatically wrong, something the pitiful decisions made by the 'kiss up, kick down' guys will keep proving again, and again, and again.

    This article comes from www.management-issues.com

    The Age Blogs Management Line

    According to the study, Bullying in the workplace - the experience of managers , the most common type was misuse of power, followed by verbal insults and undermining by overloading or criticism. Other forms of bullying, in descending order, were unfair treatment, overbearing supervision, exclusion, spreading malicious rumours, blocking promotion or training opportunities, making threats about job security, sexual harassment, or physical intimidation and violence.

    The study found that bullying is most prevalent among line managers. Personality and lack of management skills were usually cited as the main reasons.

    ... ... ...

    I don't know if this fits the definition of bullying, but there's nothing more deflating and de-motivating than a boss who shows no respect for the professional skills and expertise of his staff.

    Deliberate withholding of key information.

    The person works hard with the information they are given, then at the key moment the secret info is revealed either causing large reworks or used to make the person look like a fool.

    Usually management playing politics.

    The problem with workplace bullying is that often the perpetrators are very subtle in thier execution. So subtle, that those who are on the receiving end would find it difficult to mount a case.

    My workplace has been subjected to bullying for the last few years. The perpetrator is the boss, who has misused and abused his power over this time. He does so by isolating other workers, not feeding them information, taking work away from them, promoting people who support or do not question his decisions.

    Over the eyars i have seen work colleagues lose self esteem and become depressed over this situation.

    What makes this situation impractical and impossible to change is that the perpetrator is the boss. What makes this situation especially corrupt is that it is occurring within the public service. Over the years, the boss has learnt how to hide and disguise his decisions, so it's almost impossible to take any action.

    We can research and write all the reports we want, but until workers have protection and are given the time and attention to deal with these bullying problems, this type of culture will continue to sustain and grow.

    The funny ones are the guys who are real paraniod and insecure.

    Selective sharing of information, vague emails to cover their butts, and incomplete handovers can be very frustrating to deal with.

    But it's fun to laugh at... amazing how many so called "experts" that are so "flat-out" can find the time to cover all the bases when they are being found out.

    People should try to remember that the truth will never condemn you

    I was bullied by two diferent managers, both female, and the bullying took the form of more emotional, passive aggression eg. barbed comments, ignoring you, poor performance reviews even when you had done a good job etc. When I went to HR it was me who was the trouble-maker, being over-sensitive etc. The irony was, both these companies made a big deal of 'equal opportunities' and a 'safe workplace', but when it came down to it, did nothing about bulling.

    [Mar 26, 2007] Bullying of Academics in Higher Education

    March 26, 2007 (bulliedacademics.blogspot.com ) The green flag is clearly essential to the bully boss. As Ms Horm (cited in MacDonald, 2004) state, “Studies indicate that bullies are actually inept people who are not talented, maybe have a rage against themselves that they express outward toward people they see as being better than they are. It’s from a point of weakness that they express their violence toward others” (p.2). Thus, without the flag there is little room for the bully boss and it is she or him that must prepare to leave the organization as opposed to the victim of the bullying.

    ... ... ...

    Perpetrators typically use five methods to reduce the indignation.

    1. Cover-up: the action is hidden. Torture is almost always carried out in secrecy.
    2. Devaluation of the victim: if the victim is thought to be dangerous, inferior or worthless, then what's done to them doesn't seem so bad. That's why enemies are labelled as ruthless, subhuman and terrorists.
    3. Reinterpretation: a different explanation is given for the action, making it seem more acceptable, or blaming someone else. The protesters might be called dangerous and threatening. Or shooting them might be claimed to be an accident, or the action of "rogue" elements.
    4. Official channels: experts, formal inquiries or courts are used to give a stamp of approval to what happened. Justice appears to be done, but actually isn't. For example, an inquiry into prison abuse might take months or years and lead to minor penalties against a few scapegoats. Meanwhile, public anger dies down and the system remains in place.
    5. Intimidation and bribery: victims and witnesses are threatened or given incentives to keep quiet and not oppose what happened. Witnesses to a brutal assault might be threatened that they could be next.

    Employers regularly use these same five methods in unfair dismissal.

    (1) Cover-up. The person dismissed knows what happened, but others are kept in the dark. No announcement may be made. Settlements often involve a silencing clause. When the dismissal is public, often the reasons are covered up. Files may be destroyed.

    (2) Devaluation. The person dismissed is slandered as a poor performer, difficult personality or slacker. Rumours may be spread alleging theft, bullying or unsavoury sexual behaviour.

    (3) Reinterpretation. The dismissal is said to be due to restructuring, redeployments, financial difficulties or some other pretext. Alternatively, the dismissal may be justified as due to the victim's failures.

    (4) Official channels. Dismissed workers are advised to go to tribunals, ombudsmen, courts, or any of a host of other agencies that supposedly offer justice. Seldom do these address the source of injustice in the workplace.

    (5) Intimidation and bribery. Workers may be reluctant to oppose a dismissal because they will receive a poor reference or be sued for defamation. Co-workers may support management in the hope of retaining their own jobs, a form of implicit bribery.

    So here are some ways to prevent dismissal by good preparation.

    [Mar 24, 2007] How to cope when the boss is a bully

    (MSNBC.com)Linda Barkdoll, Coordinator of the Human Resources Development graduate program at McDaniel College, offers some tips when you’re caught up in a boss’ fury:

    [Feb 24, 2007] Epinions.com - Workplace mobbing - My experience

    The Bottom Line Be strong and believe in yourself. Don't think like a victim.

    Workplace mobbing - My experience
    May 24 '06

    The Bottom Line Be strong and believe in yourself. Don't think like a victim.

    Description of mobbing:

    Mobbing is a modern term for systematic bullying, harassment, or psychological terror, especially in schools and workplaces, whereby one person is "ganged up" on and stigmatized by peers and/or superiors for reasons that are not genuinely or justifiably known to most of those who are mobbing the victim.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobbing 

    How I Was Mobbed At Work

    Basically, my supervisor would do almost anything to demean or minimize me in the eyes of my co-workers.

    Insulting jokes, negative comments about my work, the way I staple papers, my appearance.

    If she asked me a question, it would be in an accusing manner, instead of simply a request for information.

    She would tell people that I have an bad temper and to be careful of what you say to me. I may "blow up".

    Or tell people that I was attracted to her and wanted to date her.

    Another favorite was for her to speak to someone with her hand to her mouth and point at me with the remark, "Don't worry, I'm not talking about you", then laugh.

    The common thread here is all of the above always took place in front of an audience.

    Human nature being what it is, the co-workers went along with the supervisor and her theme, eventually doing themselves what previously only the supervisor would do.

    It got to the point that if I spoke to anyone at all, people would giggle or raise their eyebrows and smile at me or each other.

    How I Tried To Stop It
    In my ignorance I tried to ignore everything. I felt that if I ignored it, they would stop if I didn't respond or defend myself. All that did was make me frustrated and angry and it probably encouraged my supervisor and co-workers.

    I tried talking to the supervisor. She denied everything and accused me of being paranoid. The subject of our "talk" then became the source for new material to use against me in front of my co-workers.

    I finally lost my temper and did "blow up". That was a temporary fix but all I accomplished was to reinforce the negative perception of me the supervisor was creating.

    How I Stopped It
    I have one of those mini tape recorders and I made an audio recording of my supervisor and her "crew" harassing me and I played it for my supervisors boss. [ Note that this might illegal in some states]

    It didn't cure the underlying problem which caused the mobbing. But I was no longer being mobbed.

    What I Learned

    These are written as statements but they express my beliefs rather than what may be factual. In other words, my opinion.

    1. My co-workers went along with my supervisor out of fear and instinct. That they felt if they did not go along, they would be aligned with me and also be targeted.

    2. My supervisor was/is not suited for being in charge of employees. Possibly she is a sociopath.

    3. While there are laws about harassment, the laws mean nothing unless someone is willing to act on them.

    4. Ignoring mobbing will never make it go away.

    5. Never accept harassment as being the price for having a job.

    6. Never accept responsibility for being harassed.

    7. The people who harass you are not your friends. That may seem obvious but it isn't. In most cases the mob includes people you previously got together with after work, or shared rides to and from work.

    Your co-workers who become part of the mob may in the future be civil to you but they should never again be considered as someone to trust.

    Their fear and weakness which caused them to mob you is not a quality you want in a friend. After all, if your "friends" refused to go along with the crowd, the mobbing would be done by a much smaller mob. Just keep your distance but remain civil and civilized. You don't have to like them.

    8. If you find yourself again being harassed or mobbed, immediately make it known to several layers of management. For example send an email to your supervisor and a copy to his or her direct supervisor. Print and keep a copy for your own records.

    [Feb 1, 2007] JCU - Female bullies

    We hear so much of women as victims and the disadvantages women encounter in employment, that it sometimes comes as a surprise to realize that women are equally as capable of bullying behavior as men.

    Women are supposed to be co-operative rather than competitive, more inclined towards empathy, and less towards seeking dominance. Women are often portrayed as caring more than men about personal experience and feelings.

    It may be true that women are less inclined to indulge in vocalized rages - public swearing and shouting - and in physical violence, though I am sure that all of us could think of exceptions. Research indicates, however, that women are inclined towards

    Such behavior is evidence of women's socialization: often we do not know how to elicit positive attention, or to assert ourselves so that our views and rights are recognized and respected. So we use inappropriate and ineffectual means to attract attention any way we can. We have been conditioned very early that girls do not shout and scream. No one is surprised, however, if girls go quiet or even sulk.

    The problem, however, is that unless people communicate, they will not resolve their differences.

    What comes as a shock to many people is just how personally and educationally damaging social and professional isolation and exclusion from networks can be.

    D Gray, Manager, Equal Opportunity, 2003

    May be reproduced with acknowledgement

    Mobbing Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, 2002 Revised Edition Books Noa Davenport, Ruth D. Schwartz, Gail Pursell Elliott

    seek help and leave the environment, March 21, 2005
    a. reader - See all my reviews

    I'm currently dealing with the affects of this type of cowardly behavior, and I would like to send a message to anyone who has found themselves here at this web page:

    If you "feel" like this is happening to you, if you "think" this may be happening to you, if you are waking up in the middle of the night, by intrusive thoughts and worries surrounding your work situation, and wondering what is wrong with yourself, then trust your instincts. Leave the environment and seek help. Please do it for the good of yourself, your health, and your loved ones.

    This has been one of the most crushing, defeating experiences of my life. I hope that I can at least help keep someone from making the same mistakes in not trusting in their own perceptions.

    Don't worry about revenge via lawsuits, or fighting back, or personal pride. Be concerned about your own mental and emotional well being. Surround yourself with people who give a damn about you. Seek resources such as this book in order to understand your situation, and try your best to start dusting yourself off.

    These types of environments are severely ill and fronted by phonies. They are the most ignorant, the most scared and would be the first ones to crumble under the same circumstances you have found yourself. There is no honor or valour where you are at. Let them be. Rise above it, and out of it..

    Mobbing in the Workplace Has This Happened to You, by Susan Dunn

    Study after study in psychology proves that people draw a perverse strength from the group and will do in a group what they would never do alone. Normal moral behavior, common decency, if you will, is discarded by the same sort of mentality that produces a gang rape. The new manager whose reports decide to drive him out ... the competent but beautiful new receptionist who's pulled down by jealous co-workers ... the manager who becomes threatened by the talents of a report ... Done by peers, subordinates and/or superiors, the goal is to force someone out using gossip, ostracism, intimidation, discreditation, humiliation, and just plain meanness.

    The blame is projected on the victim, who, 'gas lighted,' becomes confused, has trouble perceiving correctly (that people could really do this), and accepts that he or she is incompetent, to blame, etc.

    Dr. Heinz Leymann, German industrial psychologist, is credited for identifying the syndrome in Europe, Japan and Australia where he studied it for nearly 20 years. He lived in Sweden and estimated that 15% of the suicides in Sweden were the result of mobbing in the workplace. It is cruelty in the extreme, a group bullying process that can go or weeks, months, even years, until the job is done. When interviewed, mobbers often claim they didn't know they were harming anyone.

    Mobbing is a particularly insidious form of emotional abuse, and the impact on the individual can be devastating. The authors cite cases of individuals unable ever to return to work after mobbing. In addition, mobbing is a serious behavioral risk-management issue for organizations. It destroys morale, erodes trust, cripples initiative, and results in dysfunction, absenteeism, resignations, guilt, anxiety, paranoia, negativity, and marginal production. Key players leave and the effects are long-lasting.

    Mobbing is a "widespread, vicious, workplace tort [civil wrongs recognized by law as grounds for a lawsuit--and in this case an intentional tort]," says Scott H. Peters, Esq. of The Peters Law Firm. P.C., Iowa (quoted in the article "Did You Hear of Mobbing?" by Elliott. It is difficult to stop once it gets going, but managers can learn to recognize the patterns.

    In the book the authors even cite cases where HR managers were 'ordered' by superior 'mobbers' to support a mobbing process.

    In personal correspondence with Ms. Elliott, she told me that people often come up to her after her talks and say, "This will never happen again on my watch," which is heartening. Emotional intelligence (EI) and awareness in the work place are one of the antidotes to mobbing.  

    Scientific American Mind Stopping the Bullies

    Systematic Abuse

    Psychologists and behavior researchers have only seriously studied mobbing--group bullying--among students since the beginning of the 1980s, led in large part by Norwegian psychologist Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen. In his pioneering study of Swedish and Norwegian students, Olweus concluded that children can be very skilled in systematically using their social clout at the expense of weaker schoolmates. The goal is to enhance their own position.

    Mobbing thrives in hierarchical settings because they allow dominance and strength to reign as the measure of an individual's social value. It is therefore not surprising that prisons and military bases, with their emphasis on rules and rank, are often the scenes of mobbing. Schools, in which older or stronger children can lord their age and power over younger or weaker ones, share similar traits. Thrown into a diversity of personalities, certain individuals try to create a social structure that confers on them an advantage. And usually that power is wielded to abuse others.

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2003 some 7 percent of U.S. students ages 12 to 18 reported that they had been bullied at school in the past six months. (And certainly far more never said a word.) The likelihood of bullying was highest in the younger grade levels: 14 percent of sixth graders, 7 percent of ninth graders and 2 percent of 12th graders reported that they had been picked on. A 2001 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Nickelodeon found that 74 percent of eight- to 11-year-olds reported the existence of bullying at their school; 86 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds also noted bullying.

    Sufferers must usually face the harassment alone. Other boys and girls generally take the side of the perpetrators, fearing that they could be next in line. Or they pretend events did not happen and keep their mouths shut. Few find the courage to stand up for their fellow students. In the end, mobbing affects the entire school atmosphere, not just the bullies and their targets.

    Power-Hungry Predators

    To learn about what motivates the abusers, a research team (of which I was a part) at the University of Munich conducted a long-term study of 288 second and third graders from different elementary schools in southern Germany. We questioned them about their experiences: What kinds of children were apt to fall prey to bullies? How did the rest of the class react? We interviewed the same children six years later, when they were in the eighth and ninth grades. We asked if former victims were still targeted. And we asked how victims dealt with such problems now that they were teenagers.

    Our first important finding was that bullies can be identified early in elementary school: even at a tender age, they are able to organize a mob against certain individuals. They appear to always be on the lookout for new kids to pick on. And they find it difficult to abandon their roles over time; perpetrators tend to remain perpetrators over many months and even years.

    Bullies are usually very dominant children who have learned early on that they can become the leader of a group by being aggressive. Their modus operandi is to humiliate a student who is physically or psychologically susceptible to rise to the top of the social order. They try to force others to kowtow to them by acting tough, and other children may oblige simply out of fear. Often the bullies have learned about the power of aggression at home.

    Researchers at the University of Arizona who studied more than 500 middle school students found that the children most likely to engage in bullying had experienced more forceful physical discipline from their parents, had viewed more TV violence and had fewer adult role models. To a degree, they had learned by example.

    ... ... ....

    Helping the Victim

    Further understanding of what makes bullies prevail will help break down their sources of power. In the meantime, though, more should be done to minimize the long-lasting effects on those who are hurt. In 2002 my colleagues and I interviewed 884 men and women from Germany, the U.K. and Spain, more than 25 percent of whom recalled having suffered physical and psychological attacks by other children when they attended school. Their bitterness at being excluded and threatened continued to affect them in their adult lives. Former mobbing victims more frequently had trouble developing trusting relationships and lacked confidence when interacting with other adults. Their expectations of themselves and others were lower than average. The one positive note was that their previous experience was not usually repeated in their work lives, although mobbing in the workplace--the ganging up of subordinates or superiors through rumor, innuendo, intimidation, humiliation, discrediting and isolation--does happen.

    The long-term consequences of mobbing make clear that early prevention is critical. The tricky task of intervening at the right moment falls to teachers and parents--who may not be prepared to act appropriately. For example, Norwegian students told a government ombudsman that adults do not even recognize their predicaments in the classroom.

    [Feb 19, 2007] BBC - h2g2 - Tips on How to Deal with Difficult People

    Whenever someone becomes intolerably belligerent on the phone, put them on hold and let off steam with your co-workers or calm yourself by literally counting to ten. This invariably makes your co-workers laugh, which makes you laugh and realize that the person on the other end of the line has no bearing on your life and that you shouldn't be taking the situation all that seriously.

    When you get back on the phone with them, you are calm and cool. Instead of shooting stupidities right back at them, use logic, tell them what they need to know, thank them for their call and hang up.

    One of the best policies for dealing with people who are grating a bit on one's nerves is to be honest (you'll get caught if you try to lie) but don't reveal anything about yourself. If they don't know you, then they can't hurt the real you. Inside, you are laughing, while the outside is free to look upset or offended if it will get the job done.

    Kill them with Kindness

    Experience throws up two constants:

    1. Most of the things people say while in any kind of bad mood are not meant, are unmeditated, and are the verbal equivalent of a roaring animal.
    2. Responding like with like only ever aggravates a situation further and reaches no positive conclusion.

    Any Jerry Springer will serve as proof of this.

    So, the best response is to rise above all provocation and attempt to deal with difficult behaviour in a calm and understanding way. Here's one Researcher's experience:

    Having spent over a decade in retail customer service, I've found the best way to deal with problem people is to kill them with kindness. I know it sounds hard to do, but it really works the best. When someone comes into a store in a bad mood, nine times out of ten it is something other than the store itself that has made them mad. They want to drag someone down with them. Smile real big and completely ignore anything offensive they've said. Example:
    Angry customer - 'Do you work here?!? Can you help me?!?'
    You (with nauseatingly big smile) - 'Why, certainly, sir! What can I help you with today?'
    Nothing works better to burst their bubble. When they find their anger will get them nowhere, what else can they do? It works even better if you can get them what they want right away, because then they have to go into sheepish mode.

    Dealing with difficult people in a calm and tolerant manner will most likely ease their tempers down somewhat. It also helps, if you're dealing with aggravated customers, if you know what you're talking about, or at least try to sound as if you know what you're talking about. If you can sound confident in what you are saying you are more likely to get your point through than if you sound uncertain. Most people that are already angry about something will be able to pick up on the uncertainty of the other party and use this uncertainty to strengthen their own argument.Teenagers

    Oh this one is really easy - how to deal with teenagers. I only really have experience of male ones, but my one lives in a completely different time warp from me, I never see him... and if I do ever see him standing up he only says 'Uuurrghh!' so what's the problem? While he's sleeping he's not eating, so that's around 16 hours per day sorted. The rest is OK too, he's got a computer, so that's another quiet pastime. I don't think he has the energy to be a problem (bless him!). Of course, things could change...

    Not all of us are blessed with such easy-to-please teenagers, so what do you do if you do have a youngster who is hard to handle? If you tell them you will do something, make sure you do it. The point with any difficult child is to never make threats you won't keep, never attempt to patronise them, unless you are sure you will get away with it. It will only make matters worse.Teenagers

    A Researcher's experience:

    I can't tell you how to handle these as an adult or a parent, but as the little brother, I tried the nice approach which failed much like the attempt of my scrotum to accommodate the same space and time as my sister's knee. Hitting back was no good either. There is no use seeking help with your parents because they are completely terrified of the teenage monster. Basically what I did was to try and keep a low profile until I got larger than her, by then she stopped recognising my existence altogether.
    For some strange reason, today we get along just fine. Well, maybe you can chalk it up to me still getting bigger and her staying the same size...

    Whenever you have to deal with an unruly person, it's best to keep a level head about your shoulders, no matter how much they annoy you. If you get angry right away, there's no chance that the dispute, whether it be with your fiancé, sister, mother etc, will be resolved quickly or without upsetting everyone involved. If you can't see the problem from the difficult person's point of view, ask them. While this may not work with some, it's usually a good idea in the case of closer relationships. The trick is, in arguments, you need to have patience with the other person, and self-restraint with yourself. Then, not only will you both get a different point of view, but also more respect for each other.  BBC Links

    [Feb 19, 2007] 5 Tips Dealing with an abusive boss -  By Gerri Willis

    Oct. 15, 2004 | money.cnn.com

    Then there are the gatekeepers -- people who are obsessed with control -- who allocate time, money and staffing to assure their target's failure. Control freaks ultimately want to control your ability to network in the company or to let your star shine. Another type is the screaming Mimis who are emotionally out of control and explosive.

    2. Don't take it lying down

    If your boss has a difficult management style, you don't have to let their bad behavior go. You can respond -- just remember to stay professional.

    So, if your boss insults you or puts you down, Susan Futterman, author of "When You Work for a Bully" and the founder of MyToxicBoss.com, suggests responding with something like, "In what way does calling me a moron or an idiot solve the problem? I think that there's a better way to deal with this."

    If you find out that your boss is bad-mouthing you to higher-ups in the company, confront them directly and professionally. Get the evidence in writing from your source if you can. Then, ask him or her what is causing them to do this.

    You could say, "I've been hearing from other people in the company that you're not happy with my work, you and I know that this isn't the case and I want to talk about how we can fix this."

    If your boss has been defaming you, that's illegal. You may want to consult an attorney.

    If your boss is a control freak who's breathing down your neck, you should address it. Say, "I can't function effectively if you're going to be micromanaging me and looking over my shoulder all the time. If I'm doing something fundamentally wrong, let's talk about it. But this isn't working."

    If someone screams at you, don't be a doormat. If you've made a mistake, acknowledge it. But let your boss know that they're creating a difficult work environment. Even if you haven't made a mistake, you may want to calmly ask what they're upset about and if you can address it.

    3. Take notes. Documenting your boss's bad behavior is key for two reasons, according to Futterman.

    First, you might not even realize the extent of the problem. Futterman explains, "Taken in isolation, these events may seem trivial, but taken as a whole, it often becomes more clear what's actually going on. Some victims may be in denial or discount these events as isolated incidents. Your written records can document how severe the situation is."

    And, of course, if you decide to take legal action down the line, you may need the information. It's best to document these incidents as soon as possible so they're fresh in your mind.

    Documentation is also important if you plan to report the behavior to your boss's boss or to your company's human resources department. And don't dismiss the idea of taking the bull by the horns and working toward a solution.

    Try arranging a face-to-face meeting with your boss. Tell them you want to discuss the problems you've encountered because you want to resolve them.

    Chances are often slim that this will work, however. If they reject the opportunity to discuss things with you, add that to your documentation.

    4. Know when it's too much.

    Bosses may exhibit bad behavior sometimes. Hey, no one is perfect, not even bosses. But if your boss is abusing you, that's a problem.

    The problem takes on greater urgency if the abuse starts to make you feel bad. If you chronically suffer high blood pressure that started only when you began working for your boss; or you feel nauseous the night before the start of the work week; or if all your paid vacation days have been used up for mental health breaks.

    When the bullying has had a prolonged affect on your health or your life outside of work, it's time to get out. It's also time to leave if your confidence or your usual exemplary performance has been undermined.

    Ironically, targets of abusive bosses tend to be high achievers, perfectionists and workaholics.

    Often bully bosses try to mask their own insecurities by striking out.

    5. Control your destiny.

    Even after you leave your nightmare boss, you'll still have to explain why you left to potential new employers.

    Futterman advises against dramatizing your old work situation. One way to gracefully sidestep the issue: say you and your manager had a longstanding disagreement over the most effective way of getting things done and you thought the most professional way to resolve it was to move on.

    "You certainly don't want to start recalling and recounting the abuse you suffered. You'll inevitably get upset and that's not the way you want to handle a job interview," she says.

    Try to control the interview situation to the extent you can. Don't give your abusive boss as a reference but rather someone else with whom you worked previously. Another good choice might be a colleague or a peer you're on good terms with or someone who can speak about you professionally.

    Also, if you only worked for your bullying boss for a short time, you may want to consider leaving that job off your resume altogether

    [Feb 19, 2007] Beat crime, anti-social behaviour, bullying, abuse and mobbing with emotional intelligence (EQ)

    Like a cancer, most organisations are infested with bullying in one form or another. Side effects of bullying may include low efficiency, bureaucratic muddle, lack of accountability, incompetence, greed, dishonesty and corruption.

    Bullying at the BBC, for example, is rife. BBC managers have been described as "managers and damagers" !

    Companies can develop shared psychosis, corporate psychosis, corporate narcissism (ref, for example, Enron or Worldcom) or their own brand of Stalinism.

    [Feb 10, 2007] Your Abuser in Therapy

    In their article, "A Comparison of Impulsive and Instrumental Subgroups of Batterers", Roger Tweed and Donald Dutton of the Department of Psychology of the University of British Columbia, rely on the current typology of offenders which classifies them as:

    "... Overcontrolled-dependent, impulsive-borderline (also called 'dysphoric-borderline' – SV) and instrumental-antisocial. The overcontrolled-dependent differ qualitatively from the other two expressive or 'undercontrolled' groups in that their violence is, by definition, less frequent and they exhibit less florid psychopathology. (Holtzworth-Munroe & Stuart 1994, Hamberger & hastings 1985) ...  Hamberger & Hastings (1985,1986) factor analyzed the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory for batterers, yielding three factors which they labeled 'schizoid/borderline' (cf. Impulsive), 'narcissistic/antisocial' (instrumental), and 'passive/dependent/compulsive' (overcontrolled)...

    Men, high only on the impulsive factor, were described as withdrawn, asocial, moody, hypersensitive to perceived slights, volatile and over-reactive, calm and controlled one moment and extremely angry and oppressive the next – a type of 'Jekyll and Hyde' personality. The associated DSM-III diagnosis was Borderline Personality. Men high only on the instrumental factor exhibited narcissistic entitlement and psychopathic manipulativeness. Hesitation by others to respond to their demands produced threats and aggression ..."

    ... ... ...

    Impulsive batterers abuse only their family members. Their favorite forms of mistreatment are sexual and psychological. They are dysphoric, emotionally labile, asocial, and, usually, substance abusers. Instrumental abusers are violent both at home and outside it but only when they want to get something done. They are goal-orientated, avoid intimacy, and treat people as objects or instruments of gratification.

    Still, as Dutton pointed out in a series of acclaimed studies, the "abusive personality" is characterized by a low level of organization, abandonment anxiety (even when it is denied by the abuser), elevated levels of anger, and trauma symptoms.

    It is clear that each abuser requires individual psychotherapy, tailored to his specific needs on top of the usual group therapy and marital (or couple) therapy. At the very least, every offender should be required to undergo these tests to provide a complete picture of his personality and the roots of his unbridled aggression:

    1. The Relationship Styles Questionnaire (RSQ)

    2. Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III)

    3. Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS)

    4. Multidimensional Anger Inventory (MAI)

    5. Borderline Personality Organization Scale (BPO)

    6. The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI)

    These tests are the topic of our next article.

    Girl power are women the worst bullies - 08-02-2005 - Personnel Today

    When organisational psychologist Mary Sherry wrote in a national newspaper last month that female managers were far more likely to bully staff than male ones it triggered a large reader response - almost all backing her view.

    When organisational psychologist Mary Sherry wrote in a national newspaper last month that female managers were far more likely to bully staff than male ones it triggered a large reader response - almost all backing her view.

    Why are some women much worse bullies than their male counterparts?

    One female respondent to Shelly's article said: "Women bosses are worse bullies than men. I also agree with Sherry that usually they employ more insidious tactics such as isolating people and nit-picking in order to undermine the other person's confidence."

    Another wrote: "Your article has provoked me to put down on record that the unhappiest years of my life were caused by female bosses. I was treated so badly that I lived in a state of fear for the last few years of my employment."

    And a third said: "I work for a government department and have been off work since late October due to stress and anxiety exacerbated by a two-year campaign by my female line manager. Women bosses are certainly worse than men at bullying."

    Sherry said the level of response was surprising but not the content. "During the work I have been involved in for the past 12 years all cases of bullying that I have come across have involved women as the bully, though I am certainly not saying that all female managers are bullies.

    "I don't want to say how many bullying cases exactly we have dealt with but it is certainly more than double figures."

    She said these cases show that female bullies rarely match stereotypical images of aggressive bullies who use physical intimidation and foul language to cower their victims.

    Their approach is a lot more subtle and psychological. They nitpick and undermine through constant criticism which leads to those on the receiving end losing their self-confidence and becoming risk and responsibility averse.

    So who are these bully-girl bosses?

    In Sherry's view they tend to be middle managers who are managing beyond their level of competence.

    "For example when they are asked to perform at a certain level and don't have the managerial competence to get the best out of people they may bully. I don't think people actually decide to become bullies. It is because they don't have the competence to fulfil their management role."

    And who, typically, are their victims?

    According to Sherry the victim is rarely a new starter. They tend to have been employed for 18 months to 15 years. "A new female manager is brought in and undermines the person concerned by nit-picking and disempowering them."

    She said that although it sounds like she is banging her own drum she does not think internal HR departments are best at dealing with serious bullying cases, especially if they involve senior staff.

    "It is very difficult for internal investigators to look into bullying cases," Shelly said. "HR departments often don't have the level of delicate questioning techniques."

    Nor is she a fan of befriender networks where bullying victims can seek advice and support from colleagues. "They don't work. We have seen one company use a befriender programme and we told them `you are wasting your money'. They set it up for two years and no one used it.

    "You cannot expect a progress chaser or admin clerk to become a bullying adviser."

    Sherry is a partner at Southport firm Asset Management Partnership which advises clients on preventing and eradicating bullying in the workplace. It runs a website, www.bulliesatwork.co.uk which features an online questionnaire where victims can answer questions about their experiences.

    Employee wins £56,000 in “worst ever” case of workplace bullying - Forum - Workplace Law Network

    Actually, I have found that more women than men actually bully. Weaker men in positions of "power" (management) allow it to go on, as well.

    Here's a link to another case that's going on at the moment, due mainly to women bullying, yet again (and a weak male boss!):

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2006-05-17a.50.0&s=section%3Awrans+speaker%3A13667#g50.1

    I believe the person bringing the case is suing privately...

    Psychology Today Bad Boss, Sick Employees

    Employees exposed to difficult or unjust circumstances may not only become sullen and unproductive workers: they may get physically sick, as well.

    ... ... ...

    Although plenty of research has linked stress to poor health, there is no comparable study on workplace justice. However, studies about bullying and psychological violence in corporate culture prove that the phenomenon exists in the U.S., says Steve M. Jex, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Such situations may be on the rise due to the stagnant economic climate.

    "Organizations are getting more harsh, what with layoffs and people being escorted off the premises" after they've been let go, says Jex, noting that studies like Kivimaki's can be useful in a culture where most workers stifle complaints and put up with whatever the boss dishes out.

    RadarMy boss hates me

    ... women are just as likely to be bullies as men. According to British antibullying campaigner Tim Field, at least half of the 3000 bullying reports made to the British National Workplace Bullying Advice Line last year were complaints against women. There are no gender-specific figures for Australia but local experts suggest they would be similar.

    Psychologist Maxine Cornwall says: "Women are more methodical with their workplace bullying - short emails, standing over someone, giving them the silent treatment. It's a lot more cloak-and-dagger style than men's."

    Nevertheless, the male workplace bully is alive and well. "Men are more openly aggressive - yelling, intimidating others with their size. Everyone is likely to know if your male boss dislikes you."

    BBC NEWS Business Bullied workers suffer 'battle stress'

    What do soldiers under fire and bullied workers have in common?

    Not much, you may think.

    However research from a leading psychologist suggests that bullied workers go through the very same emotions and stresses as battle-scarred troopers.

    Dr Noreen Tehrani has counselled victims of the troubles in Northern Ireland, soldiers returning from combat overseas and victims of workplace bullying.

    "The symptoms displayed by people who have been in conflict situations and workplaces where bullying happens are strikingly similar," Dr Tehrani told BBC News Online.

    "Both groups suffer nightmares, are jumpy and seem fuelled by too much adrenaline.

    "In addition, they show greater susceptibility to illnesses, heart disease and alcoholism."

    The favoured definition of bullying amongst psychologists is persistent devaluing demeaning or harassing of someone at work.

    Disorder

    To back up her years of experience, Dr Tehrani conducted a study of 165 professionals in the caring sector such as nurses and social workers.

    Dr Tehrani found that 36% of the men and 42% of the women reported having experienced bullying.

    Overall, one in five people exhibited the main symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

    According to Dr Tehrani, the three signs of PTSD are hyper arousal, a feeling of constant anxiety and over-vigilance; avoidance of anything to do with the traumatising event; and re-experiencing, in which subjects suffer flashbacks or obsessive thoughts concerning the trauma.

    Early signs of workplace bullying are sickness and absenteeism, Dr Tehrani added.

    Inflict pain

    Bullying can take many forms from malicious gossiping to overt physical violence.

    "Generally, male bullies indulge in quite physical and loud verbal bullying," said Dr Tehrani.

    "Female bullies favour a strictly psychological approach to inflicting pain on others such as gossip and persistent criticism."

    Interestingly, the image of the bullying boss terrorising staff doesn't paint the whole picture.

    "Bullying managers grab the headlines, but it also occurs between people on the same grade or even on occasions subordinates can intimidate their boss."

    Sick

    There are no hard and fast estimates as to how much workplace bullying costs the UK economy.

    However, research conducted for the British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF) by the Lancaster University Management School and UMIST in 2002 suggested that bullying in the UK workplace is rife.

    The research found that one in 10 people had been bullied at work within the previous six months.

    Bullied employees take, on average, seven days per year more sick leave than others.

    "The cost to firms must be astronomical, many millions of pounds, and that doesn't include the mental impact on workers," said Professor Cary Cooper, co-author of the study.

    In addition, it appears that bullying can have a negative impact on observers.

    "Our research showed that witnesses to the bullying suffered many of the same mental problems as the people being bullied," said Professor Cooper.

    Public spectre

    Bullying was found to be particularly prevalent in the police, prison service, teaching and healthcare professions.

    The government is so worried about the problem of bullying in the public sector that is has given the Amicus trade union £1m to conduct research into its causes.

    Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary, called workplace bullying "a terrible issue with terrible consequences".

    The BOHRF study singled out the postal service as a hotbed of workplace bullying.

    Stung by the findings, Allan Leighton, Royal Mail chairman, launched a programme in January 2003 to stamp out bullying amongst the firms 200,000 staff.

    "Quite frankly I've been appalled by the cases of bullying I have heard about since I joined Royal Mail. These have been some of the worst cases I have heard about in my working life. There can be no excuses," Mr Leighton said at the time.

    A crack squad of harassment investigators and a 24 hour bullying helpline were set up by the Royal Mail.

    "We recognised that we had a problem and that a change in culture was needed," Christine Gregory, Royal Mail spokeswoman, told BBC News Online.

    "Ending bullying brings huge advantages for us, it should reduce absenteeism and boost productivity

    ---

    I have been bullied by a female boss but no one else could see it because it was done behind closed doors and through persistent criticism and inducing a feeling in me that I was no good at my job, a failure. It's very hard to stamp out this sort of bullying because the victim will not be believed and is always cast in a bad light. There is a lot of this in the profession I work in - market research. Surprising? We are supposed to be objective and open minded but in this business, sexism, racism and egotism among bosses is rife. I have had 3 sexist bosses one of whom was also racist.
    Anne, Kent, UK

    Standing Up to the Bully Boss

    Push back

    Respond assertively as soon as someone bullies you. Most bullies will start to push you gently and then gradually increase pressure. Bullies most often respond best to being bullied so being assertive is the best approach. They might not like you, but they will respect you and they will stop the bullying.

    Use "I feel" statements

    Use a phrase such as: "When you shout at me I feel annoyed and want to be aggressive but as you are my manager that would be inappropriate. You will find that I work better when I am spoken to reasonably".

    Using "I feel" statements makes it non-negotiable because that is the way you feel.

    Disarm with courtesy

    If the above suggestion is too dangerous in terms of your career, then you can just say politely: "I would be grateful if you did not shout."

    Put the problem back on your boss.

    For example, if you are given an epithet such as "you're stupid" or "you're hopeless" you could respond with: "That's an interesting comment. I wonder why you felt obliged to make it." This puts the problem back on your boss. Or you can use the agreement technique "You could be right. However, my track record says I am good at x,y,z". The fact that you have a track record attests to your intelligence and not your stupidity.

    Deflect the negative

    You could just make a comment such as "how disappointing". It means nothing but it does get the bully to think.

    Importance of body language

    When you are working with bullies ensure that your body language supports your comments. Make sure your shoulders are parallel with theirs and that you maintain high eye contact. If the latter is difficult, look at a spot in the middle of their forehead because if you are more than a metre away they will think you are looking directly at them.

    Collective Response

    If fear is running rife in your department because a tyrant is running it, then you and your colleagues should write a round robin memo to the tyrant's boss and CC the HR Department. The memo should outline the specific behaviours that you all find unacceptable. It should be unemotional, to the point and factual.

    A boss, no matter how tyrannical, is only successful through his or her people and every organisation knows this. Whilst drastic, I would expect that you will only have to do this once.

    Be successful.

    Article with thanks to www.careerone.com.au

    BullyBusters.org Workplace Bullying in the News

    That's why, he says, the brilliant comeback line you think up right after a confrontation just won't work. Targets, he says, don't have the ability to be aggressive, so the bully ‚ who has trained and rehearsed his aggressions ‚ can always keep them off balance. And, he says, "Unless you were born that way, it's hard in middle age to become verbally aggressive."

    Aggression, however, is exactly what will back a bully down. "They're cowards," Namie says. "But when you become like them, you've lost."

    Instead, he offers these tips:

    If you follow the "Don't grieve, leave" pathway, she says, pursue ways to recover from the damage you sustained. And watch out for what she calls "leaking" ‚ carrying your old defenses and hurts into new situations. "Recognize that you are in a new workplace, and that's not the place to work on those issues."

    And if, like targets A and B, you're uncertain about how to explain leaving your last position during a job interview, Keashly says, "Keep it professional. Focus on the work you love doing and finding an environment that will enable that work, not the messy details of the position you left." She suggests an approach along the lines of, "The nature of the work I was doing and the kind of support I got didn't match."

    The Targets

    Target A says:

  • "You can't keep your head in the sand about office politics. Know the dynamics of the upper-management people. I was there to do a job and didn't do the political thing. But not playing is a form of politics."
     
  • "As soon as things start happening, don't assume they'll go away. Document everything."
  • And Target B says:

  • "Bullies are like catalysts. They like to hit quickly and watch. If you get back in their face and let them know it's unacceptable, they'll back off."
     
  • "It's important to make complaints to the state unemployment offices, senators and attorneys general to help build a trend."
  • The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs Business Blog

    But what are the worst examples of workplace bullying? How does it usually happen? The British-based Chartered Management Institute provides some clues. It has a study showing 11 types of bullying behavior.

    -----

    According to the study, Bullying in the workplace - the experience of managers , the most common type was misuse of power, followed by verbal insults and undermining by overloading or criticism. Other forms of bullying, in descending order, were

    The study found that bullying is most prevalent among line managers. Personality and lack of management skills were usually cited as the main reasons.

    So is this study on the money? What types of bullying have you seen or experienced? Who are usually the main culprits? Is it always the same kind of people in the same sorts of jobs?

    Posted by Leon Gettler
    November 8, 2006 9:35 AM

    LATEST COMMENTS

    I had a female supervisor once who definitely had "short people syndrome". Nobody did anything to hurt her, but she seemed to be determined to prove her worth as a short person and as a woman by bullying in the office; being a young shy girl, i copped it. She would do things like smoke - yes, in the office - and blow it in my face; get me to pull down lots of heavy folders one day when she'd heard me complaining of a bad back, only to put them all back up again straight afterwards because she'd "changed her mind"; threw papers deliberately across the office and told me to pick them up; yelled at me in front of clients for not doing any work or doing work improperly when actually I was doing exactly what she'd told me to do. What can i say ... i was young and it was my first job; i didn't know any better.

    I worked in the OHS/bullying area for a several years (my anti-bullying website is at www.sangrea.net/bully  in case anyone is interested).

    Most workplace bullying cases fall into these categories (in no particular order):

    1. The sadist: this could be a sociopathic personality or a person who feels inadequate and needs to brings another down to feel better (the power freak).

    2. The agenda: this could be making life unpleasant for a worker so that the boss can hire a friend or someone with similar values. Plenty of workers are bullied between their 9th and 10th year of service to save on LSL.

    3. The personality clash: obviously not everyone gets along.

    4. The failed romance: the nature of the sparks between the protagonists change ...

    5. Jealousy: talented workers can be bullied because they threaten a co-worker or supervisor.

    6. Clumsy management: where the worker knows all the rules inside out and stretches them constantly, and is too cunning to be caught out. In frustration the manager may resort to bullying to oust him or her.

    7. The chronic victim: this is the "Kick me" or "Shlemiel" type of person (As per Berne's definitions) who subconsciously invites attacks.

    8. Mobbing: where a relatively homogenous work group tries to push an outsider right out.

    Obviously the above categories can overlap or occur simultaneously.

    It's after midnight and I'm a bit tired so I could easily have missed something obvious.

    -------

    I hate to say it but female bosses are worse than male bosses when it comes to attitude and bullying. I worked at a place that had a male boss first for years, and then a female boss who replaced him. The morale definitely decreased after she took over. For some reason women need to prove themselves not only they have the balls to do the job but they can do it better - but they come off much worse being heavy handed and autocratic in dealing with people as a result.

     I was glad I found a new job after my experience but it left a very sour taste in my mouth over having a female boss in future.

    My boss, the bitch - FeaturesGeneral - www.theage.com.au

    Tim Field believes the stereotypical view of men as aggressive and women as nurturing often prevents the female serial bully from being seen for what she is: "A sociopath in a skirt."

    It's a little-known fact that a woman can be as severe a bully in the workplace as a man, and according to experts, such behaviour among women is increasing.

    Melbourne psychologist Evelyn Field says women bully just as much as men do, "but because more bullies are managers and more managers are male, more bullying is done by men. But you certainly get a lot of bullying from women and sometimes they behave more aggressively than males."

    Field, author of Bullybusting, a self-help book for children faced with bullying, is also writing a book on workplace bullying. According to information she has gathered from interviews for her new book as well as her own observations (speaking to groups of women), women often feel pressured to adopt male behaviours in the workplace to get ahead.

    "Women will copy the patterns and behaviours of males, so that they become really quite aggressive," Field says.

    The Academic

    Dr. Loraleigh Keashly, associate professor of communications at Wayne State University in Detroit, says psychological warfare against a bully boss is never a good idea, mainly because the balance of power is unequal, the situation will escalate, and you'll be doubly victimized because others will see you as a troublemaker.

    Further, she says, the bully may be of greater value in helping the company achieve its goals. Thus, if the company is forced to choose between a complaining target and a valuable bully, guess who will get the pink slip. However, she says, "Good companies will step in to ask why a formerly good employee now is a troublemaker."

    Still, she offers this advice:

  • Keep a journal, "for yourself and to provide documentation if there's an investigation."
     
  • If it's early on, confront the bully in a constructive way using basic conflict-resolution techniques. "Over time, your resources to respond become disabled and you're more vulnerable."
     
  • Female bullies the types and how to deal with them - Female bullying types, how to spot them and the best ways to deal with them, by Shane Watson

    1) The Man-Manager bully
    For the Man-Manager bully, men are her thing. She has a lot of experience of them (none of it good) and is very concerned to pass on her observations to anyone who cares to listen. You'll find her quite uncompromising and outspoken (she's the one who suggested you leave your husband when he was a bit depressed last year; she's also the one who kept on saying, "It's not too late to change your mind", in the lead-up to the wedding). Sometimes the Man-Manager bully can seem genuinely concerned for your happiness and sometimes it seems as if she is talking about men in the abstract (the enemy) rather than your particular circumstances. She is very big on Rules - what you have to do to catch a man, what you have to do to keep him in line, what you should and shouldn't tolerate, how much he should be spending on your birthday present, etc.

    THE TEST: If you feel her advice generally leads towards conflict it is not a good sign.

    THE SOLUTION: Only ever see her when you're in male company.

    Dean's World More On Female Bullying

    Well, I don't believe women in this country have ever (that's right, I said ever) been more oppressed than men. That alone is enough to get me treated like a pariah in some circles, but I'm increasingly fine with that. That's how female bullies work anyway: ostracizing, demeaning, and badmouthing someone who dares to question them. But if I have an opinion you don't agree with, and you treat me like garbage instead of asking me why I came to my conclusions? Good. That tells me that you're just a closed-minded, kneejerk reactionary, and that I shouldn't bother wasting my time with you.

    What's more interesting to me is to discuss these things with open-minded and decent people. Because I do believe women are fundamentally different from men in many key areas, that this is rooted in biology, and cannot be eliminated. What can be done, however, is to channel it in creative and positive directions. In order to channel it creatively and positively, however, you have to first acknowledge that it's there. Which is why I find articles like Cathy Young's so fascinating. It's nice to see self-described "feminists" questioning their own dogma and openly examining issues like this for once, rather than hiding their heads in the sand or blaming "the patriarchy."

    While we're on the subject of "feminists" challenging their own dogma, I'd be remiss in not pointing out this amazing article on domestic violence in the Boston Globe that the redoubtable Kathy Kinsley (proprietor of On The Third Hand) recently pointed out to me. Which dovetails quite remarkably with all the rest of this. You really should read it. It's already caused me to put this book on my wish list.

    When it comes to relations between the sexes, it makes me feel good to contemplate that my son will (probably) grow up in a far more tolerant world than the one I grew up in. Now if only I could say that with the same confidence about race issues.

    [PDF] KNOWING THE FACTSThe Female Bully

    Family bullying by a serial bully or psychopath in the family verbal abuse and emotional abuse through power, control, domination and subjugation

    Bullies within the family, especially female bullies, are masters (mistresses?) of manipulation and are fond of manipulating people through their emotions (eg guilt) and through their beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. Bullies see any form of vulnerability as an opportunity for manipulation, and are especially prone to exploiting those who are most emotionally needy. Elderly relatives, those with infirmity, illness, those with the greatest vulnerability, or those who are emotionally needy or behaviourally immature family members are likely to be favorite targets for exploitation.

    The family bully encourages and manipulates family members etc to lie, act dishonorably and dishonestly, withhold information, spread misinformation, and to punish the target for alleged infractions, i.e. the family members become the bully's unwitting (and sometimes witting) instruments of harassment.

    Bullies are adept at distorting peoples' perceptions with intent to engender a negative view of their target in the minds of family members, neighbours, friends and people in positions of officialdom and authority; this is achieved through undermining, the creation of doubts and suspicions, and the sharing of false concerns, etc. This poisoning of people's minds is difficult to counter, however explaining the game in a calm articulate manner helps people to see through the mask of deceit and to understand how and why they are being used as pawns.

    The bully may try to establish an exclusive relationship (based on apparent trust and confidence) with one family member such that they (the bully) are seen as the sole reliable source of information; this may be achieved by portraying the target (and certain other family members) as irresponsible, unstable, undependable, uncaring, unreliable and untrustworthy, perhaps by the constant highlighting - using distortion and fabrication - of alleged failures, breaches of trust, lack of reliability, etc. The process is reinforced by inclusion of the occasional piece of juicy gossip about the target's alleged misdemeanors or untrustworthiness in respect of relationships and communication with people. Mostly this is projection. The objective is to manipulate the family member's perceptions and create a dependency so that the family member comes to rely exclusively on the bully and see the bully as the sole source of reliable information whilst distrusting everyone else. Any person who is capable of exposing and breaking the dependency is targeted with venom and will find their name blackened at every opportunity.

    When close to being outwitted and exposed, the bully feigns victimhood and turns the focus on themselves - this is another example of manipulating people through their emotion of guilt, e.g. sympathy, feeling sorry, etc. Female serial bullies are especially partial to making themselves the centre of attention by claiming to be the injured party whilst portraying their target as the villain of the piece. When the target tries to explain the game, they are immediately labeled "paranoid". Attention-seeking behavior is common with emotionally immature people.

    The serial bully is easy to spot once you know what you are looking at: Jekyll and Hyde nature, compulsive lying, manipulation (or emotions, perceptions, beliefs, etc), unpredictability, deception, denial, arrogance, narcissism, attention-seeking, etc - whilst always charming and plausible, especially when impressionable witnesses are present. For the full profile of the serial bully, click here. Everybody knows someone in their life with this profile - who is it in your life?

    Serial bullies can be male or female - the main difference is that female bullies are more devious, more manipulative, more cunning, more sly, more psychological, more subtle, leave less evidence and will often bully with a smile. Female bullies will often manipulate a male into committing their violence for them. Male bullies tend to be less subtle, have a tendency towards physical aggression, and are generally less clever than female bullies. Click here for more information on female violence. Females often display a greater tendency towards attention seeking behaviors.

    I believe half the population are bullied or harassed or abused; click here to see if this fits your experience in life. Many emailers and callers to my UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line are dealing with a violent or abusive partner or ex-partner, sometimes as well as a serial bully at work. Bully OnLine provides insight and practical information to validate the abuse people are experiencing; the sound of relief is often audible!

    Backstabbers - Salon

    other women can often be a girl's worst enemies.

    In "Woman's Inhumanity to Woman," pioneering feminist Phyllis Chesler dares to talk about the ways women -- including famous feminists -- stab each other in the back.

    By Laura Miller

    Pages 1 2 March 29, 2002 | Comedian Chris Rock does a routine in which he instructs men on how to listen to a wife or girlfriend talk about her day. Actually paying attention, he insists, isn't essential, just remember to look at her, nod your head and at regular intervals say "Uh huh," "Really?" and "I told you that bitch was crazy." That last response might seem overspecialized, but, Rock insists, no matter what a woman does for a living there's always another woman at work who she's convinced is trying to ruin her life.

    The thing is, she just might be right. Phyllis Chesler, author of the pioneering 1972 feminist exposé of the psychiatric profession, "Women and Madness," has produced a mammoth volume, based on 20 years of research, arguing that other women can often be a girl's worst enemies. The supporting evidence in "Woman's Inhumanity to Woman" comprises primate and anthropological research, workplace studies, sociological data, original interviews, memoir, even literary criticism and fairy tale analysis -- all documenting the usually underhanded and often devastating ways that women attack each other.

    To which some readers will say, "So what else is new?" Even Chesler admits that she is hardly the first to write about the subject, and she makes a point of listing such predecessors as Dorothy Allison, Margaret Atwood and even Sophocles (for his characterization of the deadly conflict between Electra and her mother, Clytemnestra). Neither is "Woman's Inhumanity to Woman" the definitive book about intrafeminine warfare; despite its heft and the wide range of materials it draws on, it's just too repetitive and rambling to be the kind of galvanizing work that brings a thousand inchoate impressions into crystalline focus.

    [Feb 1, 2007] JCU - Female bullies

    We hear so much of women as victims and the disadvantages women encounter in employment, that it sometimes comes as a surprise to realize that women are equally as capable of bullying behavior as men.

    Women are supposed to be co-operative rather than competitive, more inclined towards empathy, and less towards seeking dominance. Women are often portrayed as caring more than men about personal experience and feelings.

    It may be true that women are less inclined to indulge in vocalized rages - public swearing and shouting - and in physical violence, though I am sure that all of us could think of exceptions. Research indicates, however, that women are inclined towards

    Such behavior is evidence of women's socialization: often we do not know how to elicit positive attention, or to assert ourselves so that our views and rights are recognized and respected. So we use inappropriate and ineffectual means to attract attention any way we can. We have been conditioned very early that girls do not shout and scream. No one is surprised, however, if girls go quiet or even sulk.

    The problem, however, is that unless people communicate, they will not resolve their differences.

    What comes as a shock to many people is just how personally and educationally damaging social and professional isolation and exclusion from networks can be.

     

    D Gray, Manager, Equal Opportunity, 2003

    May be reproduced with acknowledgement

    [Feb 1, 2007] Big Bully

    Only recently has society begun to deal with female bullying, perhaps more insidious because it rarely involves fists. Rather pointed barbs and cruel remarks are used, frequently leaving much more lasting damage.

    [Jan 26, 2007] FACTNet Message Board Management doesn't mean mind control

    Management doesn't mean mind control; use power responsibly
    Joan Lloyd
    November 8, 2002

    They were locked in their cages. Some had been there for years. After years of abuse, most of them were subdued and easy to control. Even when the doors of the cages were unlatched, most of them preferred to stay inside, where they had become comfortable. They didn't trust that it was safe to come outside.

    Sadly, I'm not describing dogs. These were people who worked for an overcontrolling, vindictive boss.

    Empowerment for them meant they could bring sweet rolls and cookies to work. Independent thoughts and actions were beaten out of them long ago.

    Does this seem far-fetched to you? Impossible, perhaps? Unfortunately, I have seen cases this extreme. One situation was a department and the other was an entire company.

    I found it interesting that both authoritarian leaders were successful in exerting control through similar means:

    Joan Lloyd is a management consultant, trainer & professional speaker. Reach her at Joan Lloyd & Associates, (800) 348-1944, info@joanlloyd.com or www.JoanLloyd.com
     

    TimsLaw.com » Hostile Work Environment - Generally - Tim's Missouri Employment Law Info Site

    USENIX ;login June '00 - java performance

    John Nicholson is an attorney in the Tech-nology Group of the firm of Shaw Pittman in Washington, D.C. He focuses on technology outsourcing, application development and system implementation, and other technology issues.

    <John.Nicholson@ShawPittman.com>

    In last issue's column, I discussed the concept of a "hostile workplace" and the need for companies to monitor the behavior of their employees. Having introduced the concept, I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss workplace harassment and explain something that frequently confuses people about freedom of speech (and other Constitutional rights). While this topic is not directly related to computers and technology, it is something that managers need to know and understand.[1]

    Reader Questions

    Before we get to the hostile workplace, however, a reader of the last issue's column noted that although I discussed the rights (or lack thereof) that an employee of a company has with regard to privacy of computer files stored on company computers and sent through the company network, I did not address any right to privacy or other rights that a third party (nonemployee) sender of an email message might have regarding how that message is treated.[2]

    As I discussed in the April issue, Title 18 Section 2701(a) makes it a crime to access a system without authorization and to obtain, alter, or prevent authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system,[3] except that "Subsection (a) of this section does not apply with respect to conduct authorized — (1) by the person or entity providing a wire or electronic communications service; (2) by a user of that service with respect to a communication of or intended for that user."[4] This language means that if you send an email message to a person, then any company whose network that message passes through can probably access and store that message, including, if you send the message to the person's work address, the recipient's employer. If the recipient then stores the message on a computer provided by the employer, then it would be just like the employee receiving a written letter and putting it in the company's files.

    What Is Harassment?

    Harassment is employment discrimination consisting of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct (such as comments, jokes, or acts) relating to the victim's constitutionally or statutorily protected classification (such as race, religion, gender, ethnic origin, or age) that has the effect of substantially interfering with a person's work performance or of creating a hostile work environment.[5]

    According to the courts, speech in the workplace can be punished as workplace harassment if it:

    is severe or pervasve enough to create a "hostile work environment"

    is based on criteria including, but not limited to race, religion, sex, national origin,[6] age, disability (including obesity),[7] military membership or veteran status,[8] or, in some jurisdictions, dishonorable discharge from the military,[9] marital status,[10] family responsibilities,[11] sexual orientation,[12] personal appearance,[13] cross-dressing,[14] political affiliation,[15] criminal record,[16] citizenship status,[17] student status ("matriculation"),[18] receipt of public assistance, [19] or even smoking or use of tobacco outside the course of employment [20]

    for the plaintiff and for a reasonable person.

    Prior to the advent of email and the Internet, employers and employees did not have as much to worry about (although many of the "hostile workplace" cases come from the era before email and the Web). It was more difficult for speech or other behavior to be sufficiently "severe or pervasive" to create a hostile workplace. Employees had to actually tell each other jokes, either one at a time or in groups, or make copies of cartoons by hand. Employees could not email jokes, pictures, executables, links to Web pages, etc., around the company.

    Now, however, the ease and speed with which information can be sent to multiple people (and sometimes the wrong people) creates a situation ripe for workers to be offended by their co-workers' sense of humor. Additionally, the casual and spontaneous nature of email may allow employees to write things that are disseminated beyond their intended audience and could be taken out of context. Moreover, the seeming privacy and anonymity of email and the Internet makes some people do or say things they would not do or say if they thought they might be seen or overheard by a third party. Unless employers can show that they have policies in place that prohibit such behavior and take action against those who violate such policies, employers can be held liable for substantial damages.

    What Is "Freedom of Speech," and Does It Apply to Companies?

    When a company places limits on what employees can say or wear or what posters they can put up, employees frequently claim that such rules are a violation of their right to free speech. Since the company is telling them what they can and cannot say, this seems to be true. At the same time, however, companies are being held liable for the behavior of their employees when the employees create a hostile workplace. This apparent conflict causes a great deal of confusion in the workplace. Frequently, neither the employees claiming the right to freedom of speech nor the person writing the corporate policy prohibiting harassment understands precisely what rights to "freedom of speech" are granted by the Constitution.

    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."[21]

    The key language in the First Amendment is the first five words — "Congress shall make no law." The thing that many people do not realize about the Constitution is that it only controls what the government can do. Thus, on private property, generally, as long as the restrictions are applied to all employees equally, a company can impose whatever regulations on speech or expression (putting up posters, etc.) it wants without violating an employee's constitutional rights.

    What Should an Employer Do?

    1. Develop a written harassment policy statement. This policy statement should begin by stating that harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated. The policy statement may further include the employees' right to work in an environment free from harassment and from retaliation for reporting harassment, the fact that harassment is a violation of state and federal law, identification of specific behaviors that constitute harassment (like those noted above), and an outline of consequences for engaging in harassing behavior.

    2. Communicate the policy by posting it in the workplace and including the policy in employee handbooks or policy manuals.

    3. Develop procedures that will be followed upon filing a claim of harassment and identify the person(s) to whom the employee should report the harassment.

    4. Finally, charge employees with the responsibility to report any harassment or other discriminatory practices.

    You Hear So Many Ridiculous Stories . . .

    Just like many of the stories of children being suspended from school for bringing aspirin or a squirt gun that looks too realistic, there are lots of stories about people objecting to things that seem harmless but that employers remove because of a complaint. For example, in one of the more extreme cases, a harassment complaint was filed against a graduate student who had on his desk a 5" x 7" photograph of his wife in a bikini. The employer ordered that the photo be removed.[22]

    Unfortunately, because harassment law is potentially so broad (it applies to any conduct that is "severe" and "pervasive" enough to create a hostile workplace), because it operates based on aggregate effect rather than specific incident, and because the potential liability and publicity associated with a lawsuit can be so severe, companies must respond to each individual complaint. If a company were to ignore some complaints while responding to others, the company would effectively be saying that some conduct that is offensive to a particular employee is acceptable while some other conduct that is offensive to another employee is not acceptable. By doing this, the company could open itself up to liability.

    The potential for workplace harassment creates a difficult environment for companies. On one hand, employers do not want to be draconian and punish workers for seemingly petty offenses. At the same time, however, any individual comment, jokes, or action could, when taken in the aggregate with all of the other comments, jokes, or actions, be the straw that breaks the camel's back for an individual employee. To avoid the risk of creating a "hostile workplace," an employer cannot simply tell all of its employees not to do or say so many offensive things that the sum of all of the offenses would create a hostile workplace. There is no way for any employee to know what other employees are doing or saying at all times. One employee may be present in different groups on different occasions when a single employee or even different employees make similar comments or tell similar jokes that are offensive to that one person. These separate events could be interpreted by a judge or a jury to be sufficiently "severe" and "pervasive" to create a hostile work environment. Because there is no way for any individual employee to know whether other employees are making similar jokes or comments or are doing or saying enough other things that the result of the collective actions is to create a hostile workplace, an employer has to prohibit all potentially offensive behavior and respond to each complaint equally.

    Conclusion

    Harassment is any speech or other behavior that, if "severe" and "pervasive" enough, can create a hostile workplace. The First Amendment protections for freedom of speech generally do not apply in the workplace; they apply only to government action. Because the terms "severe" and "pervasive" are so vague, to protect themselves from liability, employers must establish and enforce policies that restrict any speech or activity that, if repeated enough times or by enough people, might be held by a jury or judge to be "severe" or "pervasive" enough to create a hostile workplace.

    NOTES

    [1] This article provides general information and represents the author's views. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be used or taken as legal advice relating to any specific situation.

    [2] For a discussion of an employee's right to electronic privacy in the workplace, see "Electronic Privacy in the Workplace," in the April 2000 issue of ;login:.

    [3] Section 2701(a) states: "Offense. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section whoever (1) intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided; or (2) intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility; and thereby obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system shall be punished as provided in subsection (b) of this section."

    [4] 18 U.S.C. 2701(c).

    [5] Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law (1996) <http://dictionary.findlaw.com/scripts/ results.pl?co=www&topic=7c/7cea1d560bd690325e45218463669979>

    [6] See, e.g., Harris v. Forklift Sys., Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21-22 (1993) (barring harassment based on race, religion, sex, or national origin).

    [7] Eggleston v. South Bend Community Sch. Corp., 858 F. Supp. 841, 847—48 (N.D. Ind. 1994) (barring harassment based on age and disability under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act).

    [8] 38 U.S.C. §4311 (1994) (barring discrimination against present or former armed service members). Additionally, several states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, have passed statutes that prohibit discrimination against present members of the armed services and/or the National Guard.

    [9] Ill. Stat. Ch. 775 §§5/1-103(Q), 5/2-102 (1997) (barring discrimination in "terms, privileges or conditions of employment" based on "unfavorable discharge from military service").

    [10] See, e.g., Cal. Gov't Code §12940(h)(1) (West 1992 & Supp. 1995) (barring discrimination based on marital status).

    [11] D.C. Code Ann. §1-2512 (1981 & Supp. 1988) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, . . . or privileges of employment" based on "family responsibilities").

    [12] Leibert v. Transworld Sys., Inc., 39 Cal. Rptr. 2d 65, 67 (Ct. App. 1995) (barring harassment based on sexual orientation).

    [13] D.C. Code Ann. §1-2512 (1981 & Supp. 1988) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, . . . or privileges of employment" based on "personal appearance").

    [14] New Orleans Code §86-1 (stating that discrimination based on "gender identification," which includes cross-dressing, is to be treated as discrimination based on sexual orientation), 86-131 (barring discrimination based on sexual orientation, defined to include discrimination "with respect to . . . terms, conditions or privileges of employment," which includes hostile environment harassment).

    [15] D.C. Code Ann. §1-2512 (1981 & Supp. 1988) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, . . . or privileges of employment" based on "political affiliation").

    [16] N.Y. Correction Law §752 (generally banning discrimination based on having "previously been convicted of one or more criminal offenses").

    [17] Ill. Stat. Ch. 775 §5/2-102 (1997) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions or privileges of employment" based on "citizenship status").

    [18] D.C. Code Ann. §1-2512 (1981 & Supp. 1988) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, . . . or privileges of employment" based on "matriculation").

    [19] Minn. Stat. Ann. §363.03(2) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, . . . or privileges of employment" based on "status with regard to public assistance").

    [20] D.C. Code Ann. §1-2512 (1981 & Supp. 1988) (barring discrimination in "terms, conditions, . . . or privileges of employment" based on "smoking or using tobacco or tobacco products outside the course of . . . employment").

    [21] U.S. CONST. amend. I.

    [22] Nat Hentoff, "A 'Pinup' of His Wife," Washington Post, June 5, 1993, at A21. The law's ban on sexually suggestive materials in the workplace is not limited to those containing nudity; see, e.g., In re Butler, 166 Vt. 423, 697 A.2d 659, 664 (1997) (concluding that "a poster of a woman in a skimpy bikini" could count as harassment, because "the posting or display of any sexually oriented materials in common areas that tend to denigrate or depict women as sexual objects may serve as evidence of a hostile environment")

    [Jan 13, 2007] How To Deal With a Difficult Boss by Tristan Loo

    Most people at some point in their lives have to deal with a difficult boss. Difficult supervisors vary in personality from being a little pushy or rude, all the way to being downright abusive. Many people feel that an abusive boss has control of their personal life outside of work by lowering their self-esteem and making them live in constant fear. The role of a supervisor sometimes attracts certain controlling-type personalities because they crave the power it gives them and because they lack such control in their own personal lives. A supervisor has complete control over your most basic human needs—your ability to put food on the table and a roof over your head. These are powerful motivating factors that allow a difficult supervisor to control people out of fear of losing these basic needs. We may not be able to always correct their behavior, but we should never have to live in fear and let our difficult boss control our lives.

    Here are some strategies on handling a difficult boss situation.

    1. Always have a plan B. Most people are scared about having a discussion with their boss concerning their abusive behavior because they fear reprimand or losing their job as a result of it. Their fear is usually justified if the supervisor is a control-freak and feels that their subordinate is threatening their control. Before you deal with any type of conflict, you always need to have a plan B in case things don’t work out. A plan B is the best alternative that you can come up without having to negotiate anything with your boss. In this type of scenario, your best plan B would probably take the form of having an actual job offer in hand with another employer before you have your talk. By not having a back-up plan, you have given your abusive boss even more leverage over you because they know you have no where else to go. Having a plan B, however, empowers you with the ability to walk-away at any time should the negotiation not go right. Increase your power and have a plan B before you deal with the conflict.
       
    2. Never react to verbal abuse or harsh criticism with emotion. This will always get you into more trouble than you started with because it will become a war between egos and chances are good that your boss has a bigger ego than you have—hence why he is difficult in the first place. When a personal attack is made on you, they are trying to bait you into reacting emotionally because once you react, you become an easy target for additional attacks. The key then is not to react, but to acknowledge and move on. By doing this, you effectively strip all of the power behind their verbal attacks away from your abusive boss, without creating conflict. If your boss happens to be an intimidator or a control freak, then the best way of dealing with their behavior is to remain calm and acknowledge their power by saying, "I'm sorry." By saying this, you take away any chance of them lashing back at you because you have sidestepped [deflected - NNB]their verbal attack rather than meeting it head on.
       
    3. Discuss rather than confront. When your boss criticizes you, don’t react out of emotion and become confrontational with them about it because that just breeds more conflict. Instead, use their criticism as a topic for discussion on interests, goals, and problem-solving and ask them for their advice. If they criticize your work, then that means that they have their own idea on how that work should be done, so ask them for their advice on how your work can be improved.
       
    4. Manage the manager. A source of conflict usually occurs when a group of employees gets a new manager who demands that things run differently. These changes are usually reactionary in nature because the employees go about their regular duties until the manager comes by and criticizes the way it is being done. Instead of waiting for their criticism, take a proactive approach and be absolutely clear from the very beginning on how your boss wants things to be done so that there is no miscommunication later on. There are many ways of completing a task and having a discussion about them at the very beginning will allow you to see things from their perspective as well as sharing your own with them. Get to know their likes and dislikes inside and out so that you can avoid future criticisms.
       
    5. Know that you can do little to change them. Being a difficult person is part of their personality and therefore it is a very difficult, if not impossible thing to change in a supervisor, so don’t think that you can change how they act. Instead, change the way that you view their behavior. Don’t label them as being a jerk--just merely label them as your boss. By avoiding derogatory labeling, you avoid making it easy on yourself to be angry with your boss.
       
    6. Stop Creating Conflict
      It's better to prevent unnecessary conflict than to manage conflict once the flames have started. Click here to preview Conflict Prevention In The Workplace - Using Cooperative Communication
    7. Keep your professional face on. Know the difference between not liking your boss and not being professional. You don’t have to make your boss your friend or even like your boss as a person, but you do have to remain professional and get the job done and carry out their instructions dutifully as a subordinate, just as you would expect them to be professional as do their duties as a supervisor.
       
    8. Evaluate your own performance. Before you go attacking your boss, examine your own performance and ask yourself if you are doing everything right. Get opinions from other coworkers about your performance and see if there is any warrant to the criticisms of your supervisor before you criticize their opinions.
       
    9. Gather additional support. If others share in your concern, then you have the power of numbers behind you to give you additional persuasion power over your boss. It is often easy for a supervisor to ignore or attack one employee, but it becomes more difficult to attack all of his employees. He might be able to fire one of you, but he will look like an idiot (and probably get fired himself) if he tries to fire all of you. An interdepartment union is a good way of mustering power against an abusive employer.
    10. Don’t go to up the chain of command unless it’s a last resort. Going straight up the chain of command is not an effective way of dealing with a difficult supervisor because it only increases conflict in the workplace. Your immediate supervisor will consider this a very serious backstabbing maneuver and might seek some sort of retribution in the future against you and your career. Also, other people in your workplace might brand you as a whistleblower because of your actions. Try to discuss issues with your supervisor first and only go up the chain of command as a last resort.
      Stop Letting Conflict Control YOU
      Learn to manage conflict by "using your head", rather than your heart. Find out about pro's and con's of different conflict methods.

      Click here to preview Using Your Head to Manage Conflict Helpcard.

    11. Encourage good behavior with praise. It is easy to criticize your superiors, but criticisms often lead towards resentment and hostile feelings. Everyone likes a pat on the back for good behavior, so you should strive to watch for good behaviors from your supervisor and compliment them on that. Proactive praising is much more effective than reactive criticisms.
       
    12. Document everything. If you choose to stay with a toxic employer, then document everything. This will become your main ammunition should a complaint ever be filed down the road. Document interactions with them as well as your own activities so that you can remind them of your own achievements at performance review time.
       
    13. Leave work at work. Get into the habit of leaving work at home and not bringing it into your personal life because that will only add to your level of stress. Keep your professional life separate from your personal life as best as you can. This also includes having friends who you don’t work with so that you can detach yourself from your work life rather than bringing it home with you.

    Bolton Allegations Spotlight 'Bully Boss' Problem

    As many as 30 percent of employees experience workplace bullying, research shows. A bully boss aims to control subordinates by using demeaning methods.

    Screaming and throwing things, as Bolton is accused of doing, are actually rare. More common are covert techniques such as constant fault-finding, changing work schedules and withholding needed resources, said Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute in Bellingham, Wash.

    "They get you behind closed doors and start to chip away at your self-confidence," Namie said. "They use personal data about people for reconnaissance, just to shame and humiliate the person."

    That's what happened to Stacey, a Pennsylvania nurse. A month after she started at a nursing home, she was called into the nurse manager's office and "my whole performance was attacked," she said.

    For the next four years, the manager periodically chewed her out for practices that were common among the staff, changed her schedule from full-time to part-time, and told her there were negative rumors about her, she said. She was criticized for having attention deficit disorder, for getting pregnant and even for having a Jewish husband.

    "My formal performance evaluations were always good," Stacey said. "It was these off-the-record things designed to break my spirit."

    Often, the only symptoms of a bully boss are a steady trickle of staff resignations, low productivity and the glum faces around the water cooler.

    Companies should remember the workplace truth that people don't quit jobs, they quit managers, human resource experts said.

    Almost two-thirds of people who leave a position cite bad leadership, with compensation and benefits "way down at the bottom" of reasons, Wellins said.

    Bullying causes stress, which costs corporations $300 billion each year and is responsible for 1 million absences each day, said Kathleen Hall, a stress-management expert based in Clarkesville, Ga., and author of "Alter Your Life."

    "Employers have to understand it is going to kill and take the lifeblood out of their company," Hall said.

    Chapter1 When You Work For A Bully: Assessing your options and taking action

    Emotions at Work The Unappreciative Boss; critical boss,abusive boss by Rick Brenner

    Do you work for a boss who doesn't appreciate you? Do you feel ignored or excessively criticized? If you do, life can be a misery, if you make it so. Or you can work around it. It's up to you to choose.

    rad appeared at Lauren's door. "Got a few minutes?" He didn't wait for her answer. He just closed the door behind himself and sat. Lauren wasn't surprised, because Brad hadn't been himself for days. She closed her laptop and rotated her chair to face him.

    "You seem a little down...you OK?" she asked.

    "Not really," he said. "I've had it with Warren." Warren was his boss. "No matter what you do, he isn't satisfied. When you tell him good news, if there's nothing obvious to criticize, he changes the subject. I'm done."

    Lauren was sympathetic. "I know. He's a horror. What's happening with your transfer?" 

    Brad works for an unappreciative boss, and Lauren is reminding Brad of one of the truly useful tactics for this situation — moving on. Sometimes you can get out either by transferring, finding a new job, or waiting for your boss to move on.

    But even if you can't move on, you can still change your own experience of the unappreciative boss. Here are five tactics you can use today.

    Even when you can't
    move on, you can
    still change how you
    experience your
    boss's behavior
     
    Recognize that the situation is unacceptable
    Failing to appreciate excellent performance, or failing to recognize it publicly, is bad management. It's abusive and you deserve better.
     
    Stop using it to make yourself feel bad
    You are 100% in charge of your own feelings. Although you can't really know why your boss behaves this way, you can decide that you won't use the behavior to make yourself feel bad or angry.
     
    Seek support
    Everything is easier with support. Perhaps you have peers who feel the same way, and you can form a validation circle. Or you can ask for understanding from a friend or spouse.
     
    Avoid the Fundamental Attribution Error
    Humans tend to attribute others' motivation too much to character and inclination, and too little to context. For instance, your boss might be distracted by troubles outside of your awareness, and might lack the energy or attention to recognize your work. There might be dozens of scenarios like that. See "The Fundamental Attribution Error," Point Lookout for May 5, 2004.
     
    Understand that some things aren't about you
    Your boss might not be trying to send you a message of unappreciation — something else might explain what's going on. Some bosses feel that by keeping the pressure up, they'll produce better performance. Some feel threatened by superior performance by subordinates. Some have designated a "star" subordinate, at least in their own minds, and have decided not to praise anyone else. Others have difficulty expressing appreciation, for reasons of personal history.

    Most important, recognize that basing your self-esteem on what another person says to you is a risky strategy — it surrenders control and power to that person. To keep your own power, and to maintain your autonomy, listen to your inner voice. You are in charge of you.

    Devious Political Tactics Cutouts by Rick Brenner

    Cutouts are people or procedures that enable political operators to communicate in safety. Using cutouts, operators can manipulate their environments while limiting their personal risk. How can you detect cutouts? And what can you do about them?

    In espionage, a cutout acts as a secure means of communication. Its security usually derives from an asymmetry in its connection to the larger system. That is, while the people who communicate through the cutout know how to send messages to the cutout and how to receive messages from the cutout, the cutout probably doesn't know how to contact the communicators. A "dead drop" can be an example of a cutout. Another example: a courier who doesn't know the source of the freight carried.

    Cutouts also play roles in organizational politics. Here are three examples of cutouts or their use in the workplace.

    Scott McLellan, White House Press Secretary, 2003-2006.
    Source: US White House.
     

    By simply making information available in a deniable way, an operator might encourage an ambitious subordinate to pursue a project. The disclosure might be something as simple as an apparently careless exposure of a memo on a desk or screen. The subordinate receives the information, but cannot reveal its source, without seeming to be a snoop.
     

    Ambiguous direction

    Ambiguous direction creates a chance that subordinates will do what the operator wants when the operator cannot ethically direct the subordinate to do so. If ever a problem arises, the operator can assert that he or she had something else in mind, and that the subordinate initiated the ethical breach. When combined with subjective cues, such as facial expressions and knowing glances, especially when delivered in private, ambiguous directions are especially effective.

    Cutouts enable devious operators to limit the risks of organizational politics
     
    Typically, human cutouts deliver or leak information on behalf of their operators, but they're unwilling or unable to credibly reveal sources or other related information. This protects the operator when the information leads to undesirable consequences or to pressure to reveal more. If the ploy backfires, then the operator can assert that either the human cutout misspoke, or exceeded authority, or any of a variety of other insulating claims.

    When you spot a ploy that could be a cutout, what can you do?

    Decide if it's acceptable
     
    You might be content to receive the information through the cutout. This is a risky approach, but always a possibility.
     
    Seek clarification
     
    Ask for a direct disclosure instead, especially if you're receiving ambiguous direction. For instance, "You certainly wouldn't want us to act unethically...do you mean X or Y?"
     
    Smoke out the operator
     
    If you receive information that you "shouldn't" have, ask about it directly. "I've heard that Marigold might be revived. Know anything about that?" The operator now has a stark choice: to deny, to lie, to decline, or to reveal. If the information is revealed in front of witnesses, you're safe. If the operator continues to withhold, or dissembles, you might have found an accidental slip. Otherwise, take care.

    Cutouts give you information that can be too hot to handle. Sometimes it's best to just ignore it — to appear to have missed the message. But don't miss this message.

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