Workplace bullying

My previous blog on ‘saying no’ prompted a few emails asking for advice on what to do about workplace bullying. It seems that the increase in stress brought about by the never-ending credit crunch has brought about an increase in unreasonable behaviour as well.

Intimidating behaviour isn’t always overt and the worst kind is often unspoken, passive aggressive and manipulative. If your intuition tells that you all is not well and you are experiencing an increase in stress for no obvious reason, then look a little closer.

Do trust yourself.Your feelings are there for a reason and are trying to tell you something.  Don’t retaliate by joining  the perpetrator at the same level. Stay neutral, stay centred and stay sane. Remember that it isn’t about you so try not to take it personally.

A phrase I like to remember in difficult times is ‘this too shall pass’

Research by the Workplace Bullying Institute, suggests that the following are the most common 25 tactics used by workplace bullies

  1. Falsely accuses someone of “errors” not actually made (71 percent).
  2. Stares, glares, is non verbally intimidating and clearly shows hostility (68 percent).
  3. Discounts the person’s thoughts or feelings (“oh, that’s silly”) in meetings (64 percent).
  4. Uses the “silent treatment” to “ice out” and separate from others (64 percent).
  5. Exhibits presumably uncontrollable mood swings in front of the group (61 percent).
  6. Makes up own rules on the fly that even she/he does not follow (61 percent).
  7. Disregards satisfactory or exemplary quality of completed work despite evidence (discrediting) (58 percent).
  8. Harshly and constantly criticises having a different standard for the target (57 percent).
  9. Starts, or fails to stop, destructive rumours or gossip about the person (56 percent).
  10. Encourages people to turn against the person being tormented (55 percent).
  11. Singles out and isolates one person from coworkers, either socially or physically (54 percent).
  12. Publicly displays gross, undignified, but not illegal, behaviour (53 percent).
  13. Yells, screams, throws tantrums in front of others to humiliate a person (53 percent).
  14. Steels credit for work done by others  (47 percent).
  15. Abuses the evaluation process by lying about the person’s performance (46 percent).
  16. Declares target “insubordinate” for failing to follow arbitrary commands (46 percent).
  17. Uses confidential information about a person to humiliate privately or publicly (45 percent).
  18. Retaliates against the person after a complaint is filed (45 percent).
  19. Makes verbal put-downs/insults based on gender, race, accent, age or language, disability (44 percent).
  20. Assigns undesirable work as punishment (44 percent).
  21. Creates unrealistic demands (workload, deadlines, duties) for person singled out (44 percent).
  22. Launches a baseless campaign to oust the person; effort not stopped by the employer (43 percent).
  23. Encourages the person to quit or transfer rather than to face more mistreatment (43 percent).
  24. Sabotages the person’s contribution to a team goal and reward (41 percent).
  25. Ensures failure of person’s project by not performing required tasks, such as sign-offs, taking calls, working with collaborators (40 percent)

If you feel you are being undermined and would like support or advice please contact me on

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