There are many reasons how and why bullies target others, and the reasons are consistent between different cases. There are many euphemisms used to describe bullying (e.g. firm management”) and myths used to justify it (e.g. “victims are weak”). None of these are true. Bullying often repeats because bullies target their victims for the same reasons each time. This page may answer the question, “Why do I keep getting bullied?”.
Why do people get bullied?
Bullies can act because they are jealous of their target’s status, talents, abilities, circumstances or possessions. Bullies act without integrity, and despise people who display it. Sometimes they act with no reason other than for the kick they get from realising that something they have done has provoked a reaction in their target. Making people annoyed can be a cheap source of gratification and amusement. But bullies with jobs fear exposure of their perceived shortcomings, such as inadequacy and incompetence, and these people bully not for fun but in order – they think – to survive. Competent colleagues fuel the bully’s fear that shortcomings in their capabilities will surface, so they tend to select targets who fulfil some of the criteria below.
- Being in the wrong place at the wrong time
- Bullies are predatory and opportunistic. Irrespective of any other explanation, being in the wrong place at the wrong moment is the main reason.
- Being competent:-
- being good at their job, often excelling;
- being willing to go that extra mile and expect others to do the same;
- being successful, tenacious, determined, courageous, having fortitude;
- being imaginative, creative, innovative;
- being able to master new skills;
- thinking long term and seeing the bigger picture;
- being helpful, always willing to share knowledge and experience;
- being diligent and industrious
- Being Popular:-
- with colleagues, customers, clients, pupils, parents, patients, etc;
- Being regarded as an expert and the person to whom others come for advice, either personal or professional
- having a sense of humour, including displays of quick-wittedness
- Having strength of character:-
- displaying integrity, honesty, intelligence and intellect;
- having a well-defined set of values that they are unwilling to compromise;
- being trustworthy, trusting, conscientious, loyal and dependable;
- a sense of fairness:
- willingness to tackle injustice;
- low propensity to violence and strong forgiving streak
- refusing to join an established clique
- being sensitive (having empathy, concern for others, respect, tolerance etc)
- being slow to anger
- showing independence of thought or deed
- refusing to become a corporate clone and drone
- having high coping skills under stress, especially when the injury to health becomes apparent
- Having a vulnerability:-
- The need to earn a living from work;
- being proud of one’s reputation and record;
- being too old or too expensive
- finding it difficult to say no
- low assertiveness and a need to feel valued
- believing everyone is on the same team and working toward the same goals;
- being too tolerant;
- being a perfectionist;
- low propensity to violence and strong forgiving streak;
- a tendency to self-deprecation, indecisiveness, deference and approval seeking;
- high expectations of those in authority and a distaste for those who abuse their power;
- quick to apologise when accused, even if not guilty.
- Having raised concerns
- .. about bullying, fraud, safety or any matter where the bully feels implicated or at risk as a result.
The characteristics above typically apply to targets who have done nothing wrong to provoke the treatment to which they are subjected. However, some people respond to bullying with bullying. Sometimes they target their bully, effectively engaging in a fight. Revenge bullying does not require the subject of the revenge to have the sort of characteristics listed above. Some would argue that bullying in revenge is justifiable, but in absolute terms it is no less unreasonable than the behaviour that provoked it.
It is common too for a person be reasonably reprimanded for something they have done wrong, to feel the reprimand is unjustified, and to take action against the person who reprimanded them. This is a common response to whistle-blowing, but it can also happen to a manager who takes reasonable steps to address a shortcoming in a subordinate’s work or conduct, and it can happen when someone snaps in response to a bully’s efforts to provoke anger. The perpetrator of revenge bullying can lose any moral high ground they might have had at the outset, and if they persist or their response is particularly mean or damaging, they can ultimately lose their right to criticise the conduct to which they were originally subjected.
Taken from Bully On Line
If you believe that workplace bullying should be legislated against please follow the link below and sign the petition. If there are 100,000 signatures there is a good chance that parliament will debate the issue.
Ben Howlett MP describes institutionalised bullying in the conservative youth wing. Ben Howlett raised concerns over the behaviour of Mark Clarke who ran a campaign bussing conservative volunteers around the country. A young supporter Elliot Johnson, committed suicide in September this year and named Mark Clarke in a letter to his parents. Ben Howlett first raised concerns about Mark Clarke’s behaviour back in 2010 to conservative party bosses. Other activists had also made complaints about Mark Clarke according to BBC news. Ben Howlett reports that the complaints were brushed under the carpet. He said that he had suffered mental health issues as a result of his own bullying by Clarke.
When will the government legislate against bullying? Acas has recently reported that workplace bullying is on the increase but all that is ever talked about is ensuring anti bullying policies are followed! Policies are clearly not enough. Workplace bullying has been discussed for years. Masses of research carried out showing the harmful effects upon the individual and the economy and all we hear is follow the policy. How many more lives have to be lost before the government legislates. Please contact your MP if you believe that workplace bullying is unacceptable and something needs to be done.
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On Friday 7th March 2014, it was reported in the Standard, the BBC Director General, Tony Hall, said that the BBC has a bullying problem – but we are on top of it.
“The findings of an investigation by Dinah Rose QC into BBC’s working environment, commissioned in the light of Jimmy Savile’s sex crimes and published in May, found broader issues of bullying and the inappropriate use of power of which sexual harassment is only one manifestation.”
“I want a culture where people can come to work and feel they are valued and don’t feel bullied. These are not easy things to deal with but we are working our way through that.” Tony Hall
However, on the 8th March 2014 it was reported in the Daily Mail that “after senior executive was found guilty of bullying but then moved to what has been described as a plum job.”
The report went on to say, “Jim Buchanan, a news chief, received a written warning after a year long investigation upheld claims that he bullied and intimidated staff.
The complaints were said to be about verbal abuse and sending intimidating emails to colleagues.
But yesterday sources said Mr. Buchanan had been moved to another senior role, leading to criticism that the Corporation was again failing to take bullying claims seriously.”
Tim Field in his book, Bully In Sight, described how it was not unusual for the perpetrators of workplace bullying to be promoted while the victims suffered, receiving no justice.
It is clear to me, evidenced by the numerous reports in the media, that without legislation this practice of workplace bullying is never going to end as employers are not going to take it seriously. Consequently, individuals and our economy will continue to suffer.
Support the campaign to Introduce Legislation to protect Workers and our Economy against Workplace Bullying.
Legislation has been passed in Tennesse USA, to Protect Workers against Workplace Bullying. Employment Rights eroded in the UK while employment rights increase in other countries.
In my blog dated October 2013 I referred to the survey carried out by the OECD which showed that UK workers were the 3rd least protected in terms of employment rights out of 40 developed countries. http://xperthr.co.uk/blogsemployment-intelligence/2013/03employment-law-reform-progress/#sthash.8QMj41F4.dpuf
The only countries which had less protection was the USA and Canada. Since then the employment protection for UK workers has deteriorated eg introduction of fees for employment tribunals; you have to be employed for 2 years instead of 1 year to be able to claim unfair dismissal (see Department for Business Innovation and Skills Employment Law 2013 Progress on Reform page 24 paragraph 2.3
However, Canadian Provinces have legislation to protect their workers against harassment / bullying in places such as Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario British Columbia. (see JILPT REPORT Workplace Bullying and Harassment No.12 20130.
In 2008, the OECD sited the USA as having the least protection for workers in the workplace. Yet now we see the Healthy Workplace Bill has been introduced into many States to protect workers against workplace bullying. Tennesse is the first state to enact the Law on June 3 2014. http://www.healthyworkplacebill.org/states/tn/tennessee.php
On April 13 2014, in Massachusetts, the Bill reached its 2nd reading in the House in the USA.
Nevada State Senator, Richard Segerblom of Las Vegas proposes amending Nevada’s employment discrimination law so that anyone who is a victim of a hostile workplace environment has a legal remedy whether or not they can show illegal discrimination.
This I would argue, would overcome the absurdity of our present law in the UK as I endeavoured to show in the previous blog with various examples.
However, what is happening in the UK today to protect UK workers against bullying in the workplace – NOTHING! There has been a lot of talk in the past by unions, MP’s and others, such as the great work by Tim Field and the Andrea Adams Trust to show the seriousness of the problem in the UK and how it is affecting the mental health of individuals and also the economy as well as business organisations and the efficiency of workplaces but still workplace bullying continues.
As well as the references I have referred to in previous blogs, see the speech made by John Robertson MP in 2008 on 16th December http://www.john-robertson.co.uk/2008/12/dignity-at-work/
Apart from this blog I have seen no recent campaigning from MP’s or unions to stop this evil practice.
We need to follow the example of other countries and learn from them. We must not give up fighting against this morally outrageous practice which needs to be made illegal.
Support the Campaign to Introduce Legislation to Protect Workers and our Economy against Workplace Bullying
2004 Voluntary Project to Combat Workplace Bullying in UK. 10 Years Later – FAILED. Now is the time to bring in UK Legislation to Protect our Workers as in other Countries.
Valerie Davey MP. (Lab) for Bristol West stated in 2004
“The need for the Government to be more proactive in promoting and ensuring dignity at work for all employees at every level has been reiterated from the back benches of this Chamber and the House of Lords since at least 1996……
All Members of Parliament must know through their surgeries of cases of constituents experiencing bullying at work and being unable to voice that experience and seek a resolution. When we first heard about those often desperate cases most of us were unaware of the scale of the problem….
Subsequent evidence from trade Unions confirmed that despite years of campaigning against bullying, it remains a persistent and extensive problem.”
Valerie Davey MP went on to describe a new project that was being launched.
“The project has been launched to provide supportive advice and training to organisations that are trying to tackle bullying, train employees as counsellors, devise and promote a voluntary charter on dignity at work, promote examples of excellent employers in the UK and produce a benchmark that enables organisations to measure their success in achieving dignity at work and a “ban the bullying” pack.”
She went on to say “ I remind the Government that other European countries have followed the legislative route and I hope the work (Project) will be compared with the work in other countries.”
Ms Davey MP hoped that the project would be enough to stamp out bullying in the workplace and therefore no need to bring in legislation. However she went on to say that if the project was not successful that Ministers would then reconsider and bring in legislation.
“-and with assurance –from the Minister that the project will be monitored and that should good practice not prove as infectious as we all hope, the Government will reconsider the possibility of legislation and revisit the new clause or a similar provision later”
That was back in March 2004.
Ten years later the project I argue has not been successful. Surely 10 years is long enough to test out a project. Was there any monitoring? Are there any reports regarding any monitoring? I think the following links to newspaper articles over recent years reporting on workplace bullying is enough to show that ‘the project has not been successful and therefore legislation needs to be brought in, in line with other countries.
These are just a small percentage of articles I have collected from newspapers which I believe shows that the Project referred to by Valerie Davey has not been successful.
It also must be recognised that the articles are referring to large Public Sector organisations which attracts media attention. We must not forget the millions of workers employed in small businesses who equally suffer psychological trauma by workplace bullies but do not attract media attention.
Surely after 10 years, MP’s need to start acting again in order to bring in legislation, in line with other countries, to protect our workers and economy from the insidious bullying that is taking place every day in organisations up and down this country.
Tell us about your experiences and opinions. Do you think the UK has a problem with Workplace Bullying? Do you think that there should be legislation to protect our workers?
Support the Campaign To Introduce Legislation To Protect Workers and our Economy Against Workplace Bullying