Are you really being bullied or are you the one who is doing the bullying?

by Oct 25, 2015

Most of the articles written about workplace bullying would focus on the employee who was bullied at work or how the negative working environment affects an organization.  However, there’s an article in Hawaii Business titled “Working with a Bully” which talked about the other side of bullying.  It showed a different perspective which highlighted what the bullying situation looked like in the eyes of a “bully boss.”

The article started off by recounting one of Executive Coach Kim Payton’s experiences in helping clients deal with workplace bullying.  Payton shared an example where a new mid-level manager joined an organization, in which his team was made up of female employees.  The women staff claimed that the mid-level manager was a bully because when he gets frustrated, he starts talking louder and his face would get red.  When Payton completed his investigation, he learned that the staff has been casually ignoring the mid level manager’s directives and requests, and were resentful of his domineering style.  The staff’s refusal to do the boss’ requests or showing subtle signs of disrespect and claiming abuse over any reaction of frustration or anger are considered as reverse bullying.

The mid-level manager, who was labeled a bully, was reacting to his staff’s bullying actions.  The cycle would just continue until either the boss or the staff would give up and leave the organization.  Granted that probably the mid-level manager wasn’t able to properly control his reactions at work, still, this case brings a different light to bullying and its many layers.  Usually the situations of workplace bullying being highlighted are those that comes from the top down meaning from bosses to employees, and not from the bottom up.

There are still many nuances to bullying in the workplace that really makes it complicated for HR professionals, management or even experts to address.  Specific factors such as cultural differences or varying management styles, can also contribute to workplace bullying or the perception that a person or boss is a bully.  However, given the subtleness and complexity of bullying at work, there are times when it’s difficult to assess whether it would fall under workplace bullying or not.

To learn more, click here to read the full article.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

What Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Really Mean

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential to creating a positive work environment where employees are happy and thriving. We work with organizations to assess and address any issues related to DEI, and we provide training and resources to help create a...

5 Action Items for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Building a healthy workplace where employees feel appreciated and respected requires, among other things, making it diverse and inclusive. It is essential for organizations that want to attract and retain top talent, foster innovation, and stay competitive in today's...

Toxic Work Culture: Three Behaviors That Contribute

Way before working at Civility Partners, I suffered from a toxic work culture. Even though I loved my job, it was very tiring—emotionally, mentally, and physically. The work environment was very unhealthy, and because of that, I made the best decision of my life by...

15 Tiny Habits To Kick Off Your New Year

If you’re anything like me, you kick off your New Year with all the lofty resolutions you can think of. In theory, it’s a great way to be intentional about your future. My problem in checking off those resolutions (and maybe yours, too) is twofold. First, I set...

Civility Partners 2022 Highlights!

2022 was full of learning opportunities and growth. And we had the privilege of sharing some of that knowledge with you, via our blog posts! See below for our highlight reel, in case you missed anything… *All of the resources referenced are re-linked below the video*...

In the Words of Luke Bryan…

I believe most people are good.   Working in an industry focused on toxic workplaces can often seem like the world is full of bullies and ill-intentioned people. I can imagine that working in a toxic environment could lead to similar sentiments. This is why it’s...

Can music at work constitute harassment?

After a recent webinar, a listener sent over this interesting article about a former Tesla employee who’s asking the US District Court of Nevada to agree with her claim that the “obscene and misogynistic rap music” played on site and the resulting actions of her...

Tis’ the Season of Thanks!

It’s the season of thanks and we want to recognize everyone we’re thankful for! We are so thankful to our clients, friends, families, pets, and awesome blog readers like you! We are thankful you take the time to read our content, and even more importantly, deliver on...

4 Ways to Level Up Your Delegation Skills

According to research by The Strategic Thinking Institute, 96% of leaders struggle with finding enough time for strategic work in their roles. They find themselves doing the daily tasks of the job, instead of thinking strategically about the business and taking the...

4 Ways To Overcome Loneliness in a Remote World

Written by: Suzzane Dickman-Perla   When the world first went into lockdown a couple of years ago, I was thrilled with the idea of working from home. Finally! No more waking up at 5am to make the two-hour commute to work. I could wear what I wanted and spend as...