Far too often we have heard and read about instances where children are relentlessly bullied at school, and the consequences that can ensue. However, it is increasingly common to hear about adults who have been the unrelenting targets of what is commonly referred to as, the workplace bully.
Thankfully the paradigm of the workplace culture is positively shifting. It is becoming less appropriate to consider whistle blowers of workplace bullies as rats, whiners, or too senstive.
Perhaps you know someone or have even witnessed the relentless laser-focused bully behaviors.
Let’s look at 8 characteristics of a workplace bully.
They generally target the coworker and will hone in on their target in the most unrelenting fashion. The co-worker target becomes the Sharp-shooter’s pet project.
Prince or Princess Charming:
Initially, they appear charming and convincing. They might compliment your efforts, achievement, outfit, car, etc.
This person creates situations where the target appears as “sensitive,” “overreacts” or misunderstands” the so-called sincere intentions of the Illusionist. This is often the case when the Illusionist is viewed as the workplace clown or prankster. Often the Illusionist begins a pattern of publicly saying something offhandedly funny. The entire room laughs- but at your expense. Then the Illusionist will use one of his or her favorite tag lines, “Oh, you know I was just kidding, right?”
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:
Their attitude or demeanor starts to change as they transition from charming to smarmy or offensive. Eventually, they will begin to make comments that are demeaning, deflating, or character harassing.
The Passive-Aggressive Saboteur:
This person is quite passive-aggressive. Perhaps this co-worker will make superficial public statements of support, benevolence or offer to be on the same committee to assist or “help you out.” However, via acts of omission, the Saboteur will relentlessly attempt to undermine the efforts of their target. This type of person is very adept at withholding key information that can result in a missed deadline, significant budget miscalculation, or the loss of a client or contract.
The Double-Agent knows who the gatekeepers are and are quite skilled at indoctrinating people against the target employee. This is often done when the target has been initially set up as a failure. As the planned failures occur, the double-agent is able to conveniently discredit the target employee and casually point out the orchestrated mishaps to the gatekeepers.
The Control Freak:
The most commonly used weapon of choice for the Control Freak bully is the emotional handcuffs of micro-managing. Often this can feel like one of the most debilitating forms of oppression in the work place. As a competent adult, the micro-managed targeted employee often feels infantalized, humiliated, like an unworthy child, and smothered with time-consuming ill-effective tasks. This method is intended is to control the target; leaving little to no room for anonymity or choice. This method can be especially harmful when the The Control Freak bully is in a leadership position.
This person does not like to share the stage. They do NOT play well with others. Although they appear competitive, they are actually flaccid competitors who are envious, saturated with jealousy, and are easily emotionally wounded. Narcissist bullies are not hardwired to be an alpha and therefore, resent the target who might get the positive attention from the gatekeepers, coworkers, or clients. This person has no problem pawning work off onto the target employee and later strategically taking full credit for the target’s efforts and hard work. Sadly the bully-narcissist can posses the allure of a Pied-Piper and with the help of other co-workers, will make every effort to keep his target isolated from the social group.
Perhaps you recognize these symptoms and know someone who can benefit from reading this article.
Related Article by Dr. Travis-Griffin: Is Your Co-worker Literally Making You Sick?
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be a counseling, therapy or advice-giving tool. It is not to be used to diagnosis or treat any disorders, diseases, or symptoms. Please consult a personal professional for assessment, evaluation, treatment or advice.
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