Eslsca, MIBASmart Village,Cairo35D September, 2011Case Study No. (3)Bullying BossesTo: Dr. Hesham Sadek By: Mohamed Mohamed Hassanain <br />Problem Definition: <br />Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:<br />Verbal abuse<br />Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating<br />Work interference, sabotage, which prevents work from getting done.<br />Justification for the problem definition:<br />Employers define all work conditions, employee selection, job descriptions, work assignments, creation of the management group, compensation, leave policies, termination without cause. So, bullying, the system, can only be sustained or eliminated by employers.<br />Work Culture Provides Cutthroat Competition Opportunities:<br />Zero-sum competition, employees are pitted against each other in positions or tasks that allow only one winner to emerge from deliberate battles, creating many losers. Winning is carved out of the hides of the vanquished. It's a routine way to design work in sales jobs, but unnatural and destructive elsewhere. In government service and financially-strapped industries, budgets are tight and competition for scarce resource dollars ensues. Scarcity generates competition. Simply put, people attack one another to survive at work.<br />Some bosses like bullies and consider them qualified:<br /> A small percentage of employees see the opportunities and are willing to harm others, at least willing to try to harm others if they can get away with it. They are Machiavellian, not necessarily disturbed or psychopathic. Also, ambition in eager job applicants looks good to hiring employers. Unfortunately, the overly-ambitious snakes willing to hurt others are hired. Hiring managers rarely (if ever) talk to the manager applicant's former subordinates to assess the level of narcissism. Asking only the applicant's boss for a reference risks getting an incomplete behavioral portrait, bosses of bullies like them and consider them qualified.<br />The Employer's Response to Bullying:<br />If positive consequences follow bullying, the bullies are emboldened. Promotions & rewards are positive, but it is also positive if they are not punished. Bullies who bully others with impunity become convinced they can get away with it forever. Even reluctant bullies can be taught to be aggressive over time. <br />And according to a study by the Employment Law Alliance, almost half of all employees have been targeted by a bully boss. The study also revealed the following:<br /><ul><li>81 percent of bullies are managers.
50 percent of bullies are women and 50 percent are men.
82 percent of targets ultimately lost their job.
95 percent of bullying is witnessed.</li></ul>List of Alternatives:<br />There are rules and training programs for almost every conceivable job, from sanitation engineer to nuclear physicist, but no set curriculum teaches how to be a boss. An obvious way to compensate for a lack of skills is to be tough and unyielding. <br />Tyrannical bosses come in one of two packages. The first is the hard-nosed, tough, demanding perfectionist. They can be difficult to work with, but they will listen to reason because they're all about doing the best job they can. They also know that talented people make things happen. But they can drive you nuts trying to achieve goals.<br />The second type, however, is even more difficult to work with, they are unyielding control freaks and have a total disregard for the facts. They demand that things be done their way.<br />So it is important to have alternative solution and strategies to face and deal with bully managers <br /><ul><li>Determine the type of your bully boss.
Mange the bully boss effectively and handle the situation positively.</li></ul>Evaluation of Alternatives:<br />The more you know about your despotic boss, the better you'll be able to handle him. There are many types of bully bosses which can be identified in to seven types:<br />Subtle bullies: They torment their targets with quiet but piercing techniques.<br />Abusive bullies: These bosses hound a target employee without mercy.<br />Crude bullies: These people throw their weight around loudly and physically.<br />Raging bullies: These people intimidate everyone in the vicinity with their out-of-control anger.<br />Echo bullies: Not normally abusive, they mimic bullying behavior with their subordinates.<br />Ghost bullies: These bosses guide, mentor and supervise lower-level bosses in bullying techniques and tactics.<br />Satellite bullies: These are people of stature who undermine the target by contributing to someone else's bullying.<br />Know the characteristics of bully boss:<br />Knowing bully bosses characteristics is important to set the plan and strategies which will be used to deal with the bully boss<br />Personal confrontations with bullies are almost never productive.<br />Management-team members interpret any confrontation an employee might have with a boss as also being a confrontation with them, and without well-documented proof of a pattern of behavior, they will likely view the employee as the problem.<br />If bullies notice you're ducking them, they will not see this as sensible avoidance, but as cowering behavior.<br />Don't be afraid to make eye contact with your bully boss, it has good effects.<br />Don't mistakenly think you can defuse a bully by getting personal and showing your human side. Bullies not only don't appreciate the personal side of others, they don't tolerate it. Details of your personal, spiritual or emotional life are weapons in your antagonist's hands.<br /><ul><li>Mange the bully boss effectively and handle the situation positively.
Approach your bullying problem like a work project.
Be methodical in how you behave, perform, document and strategize. Take notes after an incident. Try to stay unemotional. Even though he or she is trying to make you think the opposite, it is the bully who has a serious personal and professional problem, not you.
Be a workplace warrior. Even if you plan to put out feelers for other jobs, dedicate yourself to vanquishing your abuser, not being a victim.
Sweat the small stuff. Document even the smallest incidents, which often become the most important, illustrating a pattern of bullying that might not otherwise be apparent. Teasing counts. Sarcasm counts. Ignoring you or criticizing you counts. A very public glare or silent treatment counts.
Don't let yourself get isolated. Every day, pick out someone you haven't talked to for a while. Have a brief but focused conversation. Bullies work hard to alienate targets from their coworkers. Don't let that happen to you.
Display self-esteem and broadcast a positive attitude. Pay attention to how your appearance such as hair and clothes is perceived by others. Make your personal space an oasis of calm and taste.
Try to stay in safe spots. Your abuser is less likely to attack when you are around other supervisors, known allies, particularly upright employees, and customers or other outsiders of importance to the employer. Make a list of those people and places.
During a bullying situation, excuse yourself. Don't beat a hasty retreat, and don't leave the building; tell your abuser that you're late for an appointment with HR, for example. Or casually excuse yourself to use the restroom. Never enter the restroom if you are being pursued by a bully.
During an attack, try distracting your abuser. Pick up something physical as long as it's not a threatening item such as a critical file that needs the bully's attention or a note with an important phone number that needs to be called. Sometimes a simple distraction is enough to get him or her to stop.</li></ul>Protect your personal information. Tell bullies as little as possible about your life, family, friends, hobbies, interests, religion and so on. Information about you gives them power.<br />Hold your cards close to the vest. As you're building a case against a bully boss, the less you talk about your story to others at work, the better. Controlling what you say, when you say it and to whom needs to be part of your overall, well-organized strategy.<br />Don't try and enlist the help of your HR department unless you are fully prepared. HR can be the chilliest place any employee can visit if not documented and have evidence otherwise it will be the most dangerous. Most of HR's allegiance is to the employer—and its goal is protecting the employer from legal claims. <br />Conclusion & Recommendations: <br />Not everyone in a leadership role is a good leader, some managers and supervisors abuse their power simply because they can. As bullying is a sign of emotional immaturity in a leader and true bullying is an emotional problem it is seldom remedied by reason or logic. These bullies in their positions of authority can make life miserable for his/her victims. If you are a victim of a bully it is your responsibility to take care of yourself by changing the dynamics of the relationship with your abuser.<br />Companies that tolerate bullies in the management ranks are going to remain sub-optimized. Because bullying doesn't correct underlying problems, other frustrations will arise and those too will be met with abusive reactions. It is a no win situation. <br />Employers can alter the work environment by changing how jobs are designed and how bullying is treated when exposed. It minimizes the people factor the personalities of the players. Truthfully, employers rarely get to choose employees whom they know very well. With a random mix of strangers, there are bound to be a few able and willing to hurt others if given the chance. <br />In conclusion, the ultimate solution fixes responsibility for both the cause and cure squarely on the shoulders of senior management and executives. They put people in harm's way and they can provide safety by undoing the culture which may have inadvertently allowed bullying to flourish. And for sure, if executives instruct others to bully from the top, targeted employees can never be safe. <br />Finally assess the situation, make preparations to increase your options, recognize that you may have to change employment to affect an end to the abuse. This might not be fair, but it is realistic.<br />