Not long ago, when visiting relatives, I asked our granddaughter if she wanted to come to church with us.
“No, thank you.”
“No, I don’t want to.”
“The bullies are there.”
“The bullies are there?”
“The same ones’ that bully me at school.”
A child won’t go to church because she doesn’t want to be bullied in a place where she should never be bullied?
Put church aside. There is no place where bullying is okay.
Yet, it happens everywhere.
You know, an employee who doesn’t want to go to work for fear of being bullied by a boss and or coworker(s).
A child who doesn’t want to go home for fear of being bullied by a parent and or siblings.
A kid who doesn’t want to walk home from school for fear of being bullied by a neighborhood gang.
A athlete who doesn’t want to attend sports practice for fear of being picked on by a coach and or teammates.
Point blank, it is never okay to bully.
Some years back, when I lived in Washington state, I had an opportunity to hear Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie, founders of Workplace Bullying Institute, speak at the Oregon Health Science Center in Portland. I had been following them through their institute and had purchased their book, The Bully at Work.
The Namie’s define workplace bullying as:
… mistreatment severe enough to compromise a targeted worker’s health, jeopardize her or his job and career, and strain relationships with friends and family. It is a laser-focused, systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction. It has nothing to do with work itself. It is driven by the bully’s personal agenda and actually prevents work from getting done. It begins with one person singling out the target. Before long, the bully easily and swiftly recruits others to gang up on the target, which increases the sense of isolation. (Workplace Bullying Institute, 2015).
The Namie’s got into the workplace bullying business after Ruth was bullied when she was working as a psychologist in California. Similarly, a friend of mine was bullied at a college. Get this, her boss would actually look in her trashcan to try and find mistakes she had made; this is how toxic the department at her college was.
Can you imagine?
Aren’t there better things to do?
Like finding what people are doing right, seeing the good in them and building them up?
Anyway, my friend’s boss also had favorites who received promotions, outings and special privileges.
I have been bullied as well. At work, in school, by a roommate, former spouse, and even at church.
It is not fun. It doesn’t feel good or right; after all, how can it since that behavior is far from Christ-like. And forget performing at your best. When you know you are being watched like a hawk, and you feel like you are walking on eggshells, where someone is waiting for you to mess-up, and then focuses on everything you do wrong, you mess-up even more. That then gives the bully justification to bully you further. It is a sick, toxic and destructive cycle.
But bullying actually says more about the bully than it does you.
Workplace Bully Behaviors
To identify if you are a bully (i.e., what one might think, say, or do if a bully) take a look at this “Workplace Bullies” infographic:
Does any of this sound familiar?
If so, keep reading, there is hope for you.
Workplace Bullying Statistics
Additionally, here is another infographic from CareerBuilder (2014) with “statistics on bullying in the workplace”:
As you can see, it includes various types of bullying behavior that was reported by employees.
If You Are a Workplace Bully
Comaford (2014) believes bullies act in “ineffective and appropriate way[s]” because they desire one of three things: “safety, belonging and mattering” (para. 14). Abraham Maslow wrote about belonging in his Hierarchy of Needs model which I alluded to in a previous blog post: ‘Watch me, daddy’: How to overcome the need to be validated “Safety, belonging and mattering” are good things. Everyone wants to be needed and included. But being a bully is not the way to accomplish that longing.
If you have identified yourself as a bully, the formula to quit is common sense, “stop it!” said church leader, Dieter F. Uchtdorf (2012). He also provided a little more direction, as he declared, “When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it! It’s that simple” (para. 13).
After you “stop-it” I would add just love people, find what they are doing right, and see the good in them.
Maybe then, my beautiful and sweet granddaughter will attend church because she feels safe.
Comaford, C. (2014, March 12). How to stop workplace bullies in their tracks. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2014/03/12/bust-workplace-bullies-and-clear-conflict-in-3-essential-steps/#780df5c87912
Deseret News Faith. (2017). Memorable sermons from LDS leaders in fewer than 10 words. Retrieved from http://www.deseretnews.com/top/2354/0/Memorable-sermons-from-LDS-leaders-in-fewer-than-10-words.html
dmangus. (n.d.). Recognizing workplace bullies for what they are is the first step [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://dmangus.blogspot.com/2016/01/recognizing-workplace-bullies-for-what.html
Namie, G. & Namie, R. (2009). The bully at work: What you can do to stop the hurt and reclaim your dignity on the job. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Bully-Work-What-Reclaim-Dignity/dp/1402224265
Workplace Bullying. (n.d.). Statistics on bullying in the workplace. [Pinterest post). Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/explore/workplace-bullying/
Uchtdorf, D. F. (2012, April). The merciful obtain mercy. Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-merciful-obtain-mercy?lang=eng