What does the term “bullying” mean to you?

Does it bring to mind kids beating each other up in school?  Perhaps a child in your local playgroup is aggressive towards all the others?

Well, it may surprise you to know that while the above are indeed problems, bullying doesn’t stop at the age of 16 or 18.  There are plenty of official reports which show it continues into adult life and is particularly prevalent in the office or workshop.

In our experience, the nature of bullying changes.  It’s almost inconceivable in an adult situation for one professional to say to the other that they will give them a “good bashing” if they don’t do what the bully wants.  However, bullying does exist and it’s usually undertaken through one of two routes:

  • implicit authority threats. This is usually seen when a supervisor or the boss tries to intimidate you through suggesting things such as you are not as effective as others in the office, you haven’t got what it takes or you’re just not working hard enough.  The sometimes hidden (or maybe not) implication is that your pay and promotion prospects are disappearing over the horizon or will do unless you play ball;
  • overpowering personalities. This is usually when someone tries to take the role of the Alpha male or Alpha female and in doing so, tries to bend everybody else to their will and way of seeing the world.  If people have very strong personalities, this form of bullying can be very difficult to resist.  It can even be manifest in things like fashion, where you might be being ridiculed for wearing last season’s shoes or tee shirt etc.

Now you may not even notice this or perhaps don’t even think of it as bullying.  If you objectively review your current work relationships though, are you sure none of the above is ever demonstrated towards you on a day-to-day basis?

One of the things we teach here is self-confidence. That is an important counter to bullying because the first thing it teaches you is how to recognise when you are being subtly bullied or steamrollered.  It encourages you to ask questions such as, “why am I being pushed into this?”

The next skill and strength we need to teach you as part of team building is how to learn to say “NO”.  That doesn’t mean you say no to everything or start petty bickering every time anyone wants you to do something in a professional environment. What it DOES mean is you valuing your own opinions sufficiently so you are prepared to stand up for them and to use some old-fashioned terminology, not play the role of the “patsy”.

In other words, you do things you believe in and not those you’re being pressurised into.

If you’d like to learn more about how our training can help you resist these very adult forms of bullying, come along and see us.