January 3rd, 2013

“Etiquette” advice to deal with bullies at work: You’ve got to be kidding

Workplace bullying is war launched by one side (that can be an entire army of coworkers or a combination of managers and backstabbing coworkers) against the other side, the lone target. It is not conflict with dual engagement. The targeted person is the only one victimized, persecuted and terrorized. The playing field is not even. It is abusive, psychological violence perpetrated by one or more against the target.

On behalf of bullied targets everywhere let me register disgust at the latest salvo of bad advice directed toward targets by an etiquette expert, Debby Mayne. Her drivel is titled: Etiquette for Dealing with a Workplace Bully, subtitled: Avoid Being the Target for Bullies at the Office.

The premise is offensive and denigrating to bullied targets. Mayne, who grew up in a military family with overt manners taking precedence, suggests to potential targets to avoid the following:
– being late for work
– letting mistakes go unfixed
– complaining

As for assertive actions targets can take that will back off the bully (ha! this woman has no idea!), Mayne says to do the following:
– when bully invades your personal space, state “with calm authority that she needs to leave so you can get back to work”
– do an excellent job
– document and go directly to human resources

Of course the reality is just not the world imagined (she certainly hasn’t lived the experience). For a dose of reality about what does not work when we make targets responsible for ending the bullying, read the extensive WBI 2012 Strategies Effectiveness Study.

For targets to practice manners or etiquette against abusive conduct is ludicrous. Adopting manners is unilateral disarmament in the war launched against targets. Mayne should take her pollyanna rubbish suggestions directly to bullies, perpetrators of uncivil and ill-mannered conduct. Maybe they will see the errors of their ways and get their etiquette straight.


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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 at 11:55 am and is filed under Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  1. Clearly Debbie Mayne hasn’t researched or encountered a bully, much less a mob of them. Bullies don’t just comply with polite requests. That’s why they’re called bullies. That Mayne’s article exsists as it reads leads me to think that she doesn’t believe unreasonable and intentionally aggressive people exist. And her statement about going to HR for help. Oh my god. That just proves that ANYONE can write an article about ANYTHING. Truth or experience matter not. I also get the impression that this woman lives a sheltered life or has had the fortune of working for family or friends.

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