Did you ever hear that growing up? Or something equally taunting? We’ve all had experience with school yard teasing, squabbles with friends or even encounters with bullies. Some of us have had experiences that were far beyond the kind of things that are common place in childhood, life altering experiences with traumatic memories…..
We all grew up nonetheless. Some of us scarred from our encounters at school. Do you ever wonder what happened to those mean, intimidating bullies that went to your school? Well according to research, they don’t change much. In fact, 80 % of school yard bullies become managers ( NOT 80% of managers are bullies). Is anyone surprised by this? I’m not. Bullies have learned from a young age that inspiring fear can lead to a feeling of power and control. Gravitating toward management feels like a good fit to someone who thrives on controlling others.
In the workplace however these people can make work life unbearable. They are often intelligent and are careful not to display there bullying behavior in front of their superiors. One manager I knew of was often friendly to the staff but would randomly say things like, “you know I can fire you anytime I want right?”. What fear he inspired! Many employees quit the company as a result. Eventually the truth came out and the company fired him but not until they lost many of their good people. Bullies are bad for business!
In Canada, stress leaves are costing over $35 billions per year! How many people go on stress leave as a result of bullying in the workplace? Bullies exist in every part of business, not just management and I hear more stories about bullying than any other workplace stressor, as I travel the country doing public speaking. Whenever I do a presentation on this topic to workplaces (Respectfully, Up Yours!) , I am shocked by the experiences that people share. I have even wondered how people manage to stay in such circumstances and why.
The truth is many of us can’t leave easily. The solution may not be just get another job.
October is National Healthy Workplace month. I have spent my public speaking career committed to inspiring corporate and personal health in my audiences and now more than ever, I feel the workplace needs an intervention! We have fantastic anti-bullying campaigns for schools and young people now but we need to do more in workplaces.
I grew up in Winnipeg and feel passionate about starting here at home. My good friend Dahlia on 680 CJOB recently said on air that someone said Winnipeg sucks. I’m sorry for someone who lives somewhere they feel so negatively about. I feel the exact opposite! I love my city and I am devoting 2016 to helping companies and businesses in my city and province, become psychologically safe, happy, thriving workplaces!
Stay tuned for tips on how to cope if your workplace has a bully!