I think everyone would agree that bullies don’t go away when you grow up.
The world is filled with bullies, and the workplace is no exception. But why?
In a sophisticated day and age, complete with HR departments and review processes, how is it that bullies hold on to jobs, and often even get promoted?!
This BBC breakdown on “Surprising Reasons Bosses Keep Bullies Around” brings a lot of insight into these situations. Vanessa Edmonds writes:
Similar to hardy plants, office bullies (IE: mean girls, brown nosers, misogynist boys clubs and other varieties of trouble makers) may be winning [the boss’s] favour at the expense of positive, solid contributors. Workplace bullies regularly receive positive evaluations from supervisors and achieve high levels of career success. Researchers concluded that their social ability and political savvy enable them to exercise abuse — strategically — while being well-liked among those in higher ranks. It’s not that bosses purposely promote people they know are bullies. Rather, they might not be aware.
Is this discouraging? Sure. But the sooner you realize bullies are a reality in the workplace, the sooner you can proceed toward your goals. Focus on what you can control – and that’s the way you work with others. Don’t get pulled into workplace “bully drama”, and don’t let yourself become a victim.
In the article, Sonia McDonald wisely states:
Keep communications open. It is often uncomfortable to discuss just about anything with a demanding jerk in the workplace, but shutting down lines of communication is not the answer. When having to collaborate with such a personality, speak clearly and concisely about your topic. Be aware that a narcissist needs to feel in control, and that they may well try to drive the communication into a light that makes them look better. This is done by introducing red herrings into the conversation — don’t fall prey to dead end roads. Stick to the point at hand and move along.
Have you ever dealt with an office bully? What did you learn?