Crystal Spraggins, SPHR
In the workplace, it’s good to be friendly to everyone. Life is better that way.
But if you’re in management, the one person who deserves more than “friendly” is your resident bully.
Does that surprise you? I thought it might.
See, your bully needs love, not friendship. And by “love” I mean tough love. The kind with immovable boundaries. The kind with real consequences. The kind that demands a change or at the very least protects the innocent.
Yeah, your bully needs that kind of love.
What is workplace bullying?
Workplace bullying is persistent, aggressive mistreatment against a coworker, subordinate, or even a boss.
Bullying is about control, pure and simple. Controlling someone makes a bully feel powerful, at least temporarily.
Bullying includes verbal threats, intimidation, name calling, relentless and unwarranted criticism, email “mobbing” (i.e., several parties sending similar nasty messages to the same target within a compressed period), and deliberate reputation bashing. If the target doesn’t do what the bully wants, the bully’s goal becomes to make the target’s life a living you-know-what until the target capitulates or even leaves the organization.
A negative trend
This is bad.
Workplace bullying hurts your business and your employees. One commonly quoted statistic is that workplace bullying costs organizations nearly $250 million annually in sick days, employee healthcare costs, turnover, accidents related to stress-induced fatigue, and litigation, for starters.
And when you “friend” the bully, turning a blind eye to her bad behavior or worse, actually encouraging her harmful aggression by providing good performance evaluations and job promotions, you’re just asking for more of the same.
What’s a better plan?
Last week (October 20th-26th) was Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week. You may have missed the celebration, but you don’t have to miss the point—there are at least 250 million reasons to want to see incidents of workplace bullying reduced.
Here then, are some steps you can take to show some much-needed love to your workplace bully.
Even so, you can be the better person and show her some love.
Tough love. The best kind for the workplace bully.