Posts Tagged ‘IDG Connect’


IDG Connect – Bullied at Work: What Can You Do?

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

By Kathryn Cave – IDG Connect – 9/9/14

Our recent research revealed the sheer scale of bullying in IT workplaces. This showed that 75% of professionals we surveyed claimed to have been bullied at work, while 85% had seen others bullied. However, for me, the most serious part of it all was the sheer intensity of the first-person accounts.

We reviewed over 400-in-depth testimonials and these made for pretty harrowing reading. Quite aside from the steady grind of debilitating misery, 22% described the experience as 10/10 “virtually unbearable” and a number specifically mentioned suicide.

The trouble is there is no legislation to target this problem and many professionals simply can’t believe this is happening to them at work. This situation is worsened further by the fact the majority of bullies (76% by our findings) are in a senior position to their victim – this leaves many people absolutely terrified to make a fuss or appear a troublemaker.

So what can professionals realistically do about it? We’ve consulted two experts, one from each side of the Atlantic, to gain their viewpoints. We’ve included both sets of answers below.

US Perspective

Q&A with leading expert, Dr Namie, of the Workplace Bullying Institute

What practical steps can employees who feel they’re being bullied take?

It is critical for people who suffered emotional damage to strip out emotionality from their pleas for relief. Best to make the business case that bullies are too expensive to keep. It is impersonal and not emotionally charged. Sticking to facts allows the bullied target to make a presentation to the highest level manager or executive who agrees to listen to them.

Do you have any other particular advice for people who think they are being bullied?

Because bullying happens long before it is recognized, it’s important to pay attention to changes in your personal mood and wellbeing. If your health is adversely affected, trust your gut and connect the dots to see that toxic work conditions may be responsible. The sooner you make the causal link the healthier you will be.

Is there anything unique to the US which professionals ought to know about?

Employment law in the US provides the weakest protections for workers among the OECD nations. For this reason American employers not only treat bullying with indifference, they can encourage it with impunity.

Is there anything else you would like to share which might help individuals across the globe counteract this?

A lesson from our 17 year campaign against workplace bullying is that supporters and critics alike must see bullying as a form of non-physical workplace violence. Because it generates trauma in the most severe cases, it is a form of abuse akin to child-abuse and domestic violence. Therefore abusive conduct at work deserves the same societal and legal attention that other forms of abuse have earned.

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IDG Connect: IT Careers – Success vs. Bullying

Monday, August 4th, 2014

By Kathryn Cave – IDG Connect – August 4, 2014

“Every office full of ambitious people has them. And we have all worked with at least one—the co-worker with an inexplicable ability to rise in the ranks,” wrote the Wall Street Journal recently in an article entitled What Corporate Climbers Can Teach Us. “‘How do they do it?’ we may ask ourselves or whisper to friends at work,” it continued. “They don’t have more experience. They don’t seem that brilliant.”

The answer it suggests is the “dark triad” of personality traits identified by psychologists as: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. “These traits are well-known for the bad behaviour that they can cause when dominant in people’s personalities,” explained the article. “At milder levels, however, they can actually foster skills that can help people rise through the ranks.”

Of course, there’s a very fine line between demonstrating these skills for the purpose of career progression and becoming that covert workplace bully. And the latter is a serious problem. Recent research from the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) released in Feb 2014, shows 27% of all adult Americans have directly experienced “repeated abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or work abuse.”

Dr. Namie, Director of WBI and widely regarded as North America’s foremost authority on workplace bullying, tells us that bullies also usually exhibit this dark triad. In fact, he demonstrates that the sort of qualities that facilitate career progression are indelibly linked to workplace bullying. “Look at that package,” Dr. Namie tells us: “these are the people who are willing to meddle with others. They fill their days with political gamesmanship. And the other people, the targets, come to work to do their job.”

“[For the bullies] climbing the ladder is all of their work,” Dr. Namie continues. “It is their focus. It becomes a zero-sum game where they must obliterate all competition. They see co-workers as competition as opposed to peers, or a possible pool of friends. They see them as someone to dupe, overcome and climb over. And it is just Machiavellian. And some people don’t have that view at all. They’re co-corporative. They’re nice. They’re kind. The targets are in that group.”

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