Saturday, March 09, 2013

Bullying: Not Just For Children Anymore

A new viral video by the geniuses at ThinkModo is making the rounds. It's actually a promo for the movie Dead Man Down disguised as a videotaped prank. Watching it made me think about human behavior and why some witnesses to crime do nothing. Nobody can say for sure how he/she would react in such a situation, but I'm sure most people would like to think that they would do something heroic. Anything.

But, too often people step aside and do nothing.




An article in Psychology Today refers to the Bystander Effect where onlookers are more likely to intervene if there are few or no other witnesses. (Tweet this.) It also explains that social influence plays an important role, too. Individuals in a group tend to monitor the behavior of those around them to determine how to act. The Bystander Effect refers to situations where individuals do not offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. The mere presence of other bystanders greatly decreases intervention. Experiments have shown that the mere presence of other people actually inhibits folks from helping.

This brings me to the topic of Workplace Bullying. According to WorkplaceBullying.org:
Both workplace and schoolyard bullying usually involves common underlying principles: the desperate grab for control by an insecure inadequate person, the exercise of power through the humiliation of the target. School-age bullies, if reinforced by cheering kids, fearful teachers, or ignoring administrators, grow up as dominating type people. If it works for them, there is no reason to change. At work as adults, they do what they do best--bully others. An unknown percentage of workplace bullies have a lifelong record of disrespecting the needs of others. 
If you think you are being bullied at work, consider taking this is Workplace Aggression Research Questionnaire developed by researchers from the State University of New York in New Paltz and Wayne State University. Occasional insults don't count, but if you feel you are a victim of consistent bullying, you can take action.

We can all agree that bullying is awful and should be stopped. It's easy for adults to tell children how to react in bullying situations, including those where the child is a mere witness to such events. Right?

What about when witnessing other adults being bullied? (tweet this)

Are you guilty of using euphemisms intended to trivialize bullying and its impact on bullied people: Incivility, Disrespect, Difficult People, Personality Conflict, Negative Conduct, or Ill Treatment?

Are you guilty of ignoring the "office jerk" who dominates the conversation and/or makes sarcastic, or belittling comments to others who try to contribute? Is it ok to just roll your eyes when in the presence of the "office jerk" who is putting someone down in front of us?

In a Workplace Bullying Institute study (2012), participants who claimed they were bullied at work were asked why workplace bullying happens.  "Coworkers stand idly by & fail to stop it" was ranked fourth. It is understandable that workers not only fear for their own jobs, but are often worried about the bully turning on them. Does this make it OK to remain silent?

First they came…” is a famous statement attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the fact that too many German people failed to act following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets.
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--Because I was not a Socialist. 
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.  
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me."

Have you ever been the victim of workplace bullying? Are YOU a workplace bully? What are your thoughts on this?

Please leave your comment here.

http://careerjourney.co.uk/career-infographic/bullying-at-work/

4 comments:

Kayla sandifer said...

This is a very good post on bullying! A lot of people do not know that bullying can happen in other places besides school or a child environment. But, in fact, it can happen every where. It is also a problem in our adult world. It's great that you showed all of the side affects of negative stress at work and the way you can get help to maintain that stress in a positive way. I really enjoyed reading this because it will help me in the future for maintaining a good relationship with my other coworkers. Thank you for this informative post!

Samantha Spence said...

I was shocked to see other adults reaction to walking up on this murder scene. Some grown men just walked away while old women tried to at least help. It's beyond me how someone can just walk away and let another be strangled to death. I could not live with myself! Your blog was very enlightening. It's also great to see you offered an easy and accessible questionnaire and helpful advice to those being bullied in the workplace.

Jessica Strickland said...

You constantly hear about bullying in elementary school, middle school, and high school, but rarely do people bring attention to the fact that bullys do not grow out of being a bully.This post was very moving for me. I see kids being verbal bullied everyday and we tell the victims to talk to their parents and talk to their teacher. However, who is an adult suppose to go to if they see someone being bullied or if they are being bullied themselves? I've read many articles on people usually watch and do nothing or walk away rather than help someone or defend someone. We need to bring this issue to light! Thank you for such a great post!
Sincerely,
Kameron Strickland
http://stricklandkameronedm310.blogspot.com/

Amy said...

Thank your for bringing to light an important issue..bullying isn't just in schools, but everywhere. Age doesn't matter, place doesn't matter. As a community we must stick up for others.