By Aryanne Oade (auth.)
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Extra info for Managing Workplace Bullying: How to Identify, Respond to and Manage Bullying Behavior in the Workplace
While it is true that the majority of workplace bullies are managers who bully their team members, it is also true, as we saw in the first chapter, that peers can bully one another and, on occasion , that team members can bully their bosses. Let’s consider character cameo one: Character Cameo One: The Threatened Senior Manager A small PR consultancy decides to expand. All four of its existing, overworked employees agree that growing the business is both desirable 17 18 Managing Workplace Bullying and necessary.
On two occasions she approaches the bank of computers where her team colleagues are seated to ask questions about company procedures on various matters. No one responds to her verbal request for information and she is forced to return, defeated and embarrassed, to her desk. After three days her manager calls her to his office and asks her how she is settling in. She says that she would prefer to be seated with the other members of the team. The manager says he will see what he can do and will get back to her when he has considered the logistics involved in relocating her workstation alongside the other desks.
Instead of hearing this as a supportive offer of help, the manager hears it as someone suggesting that he is failing – something that he cannot stand hearing. He begins a campaign aimed at undermining this team member, a strategy which enables him to deflect his growing feelings of incompetence onto her and characterize her as an inadequate, weak failure in his stead. He wants to make her feel incompetent and uses a well-honed set of skills and tactics by which to achieve this aim. Afraid of the consequences for him of his poor performance as a manager, he uses her as a scapegoat for his failings so that he can deflect attention away from himself and onto her.