Bullying in Business

Why is bullying in business still so rife?

They are still out there.

For those who read my blogs, they will know that I am firmly against bullying in business (or anywhere for that matter).  Despite great strides from good HR experts, I note from recent posits on LinkedIn that it is still rife and is still causing trauma and mental health issues. 

See Denise Pickburn’s post.  Over 90% of around 450 that responded to the question said they had experienced bullying in business. The results for those on the receiving end can vary from lack of confidence to significant mental health problems.

Rightly, the focus of such posts is on the effect of bullying on the individual.  However, little is mentioned of the results for the companies involved.  Bullying is not limited to bosses, but they set the ethos and the culture of the company.  Their behaviour sets a precedent that can be adopted by others within their field of influence.  But what are the results?  I suggest these are likely:

  • Good employees will leave to go to more caring competitors.
  • Those who stay may have lost a level of confidence sufficient for them to believe they would not be considered for employment elsewhere.
  • Those who stay may have adopted the same bullying ways and, therefore, are likely to have the same approach to business, in order to survive.
  • Those who stay maybe of the same mould as those with bullying ways, i.e. it becomes self-perpetuating.

Bullying in business is often in the form of pressure on the employee to achieve targets at whatever cost to themselves or others.  It requires a ruthlessness that is not natural to most people.  Bullies will target the less confident, as easier prey and less likely to stand up to them.

Those with more confidence are less likely to be employed as they would not respond to the bullies and may even become a threat to them.  Less experienced or generally timid people are perceived as easier to intimidate and control and so are more likely to be the target of the bully. 

I have read a few great posts where the target looks likely to be easy pickings, unfortunately these are often small, young and female, only to find that they have the confidence and bite of a terrier! See Fiona Scott’s recent post for just such a case.

To all confident people: if you see anyone being bullied; if you can, please call them out on behalf of the victim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *