Do Playground Bullies Become Workplace Bullies?
By Mike Jacquart
Could some of the bullies who stole our lunch money be the same bullies who belittle and antagonize us in the workplace? Could be, say some experts. “When a person has low EQ, or Emotional Quotient, and they do little to improve their EQ, it is very likely that they could become, or perceived as, a bully,” says Paula Marshall, CEO of the Bama Companies.
Another similarity between school place and workplace bullying is the fact it does not have to be face to face to be effective. “In fact, it is common for such patterns to escalate from being delivered face to face to other types of communications,” states NoBullying.com. “Emails, text and phone messages, social media posts, and other written and verbal messages can be just as devastating as those delivered to your face.”
Indeed – bullying of the physical variety was tough enough in school – I cannot imagine how much more difficult it would have been if my tormentor could have lashed out at me via electronic media. In my day, “all” I had to do was run home as fast as I could from Jack, get in my house, slam the door, and boom…. Problem solved – at least for the time being.
Actually, I was kidding myself to a large extent. Regardless of where one is (home, school or work), or at what age (child, teen or adult), the effects of bullying are often similar: anxiety, insomnia, and difficulty concentrating, for starters.
If it goes on long enough, a lack of confidence and self-esteem may also result. I think this is where my childhood tormentor “had me” more than I probably realized at the time. I needed to confront Jack, or at least receive help to do so, but my antagonist was able to frighten me into not seeking help. “You’d BETTER not say anything!”
Scared, and lacking the confidence to deal with his behavior, these antagonistic incidents went on much longer than they needed to, if I had the wherewithal to have done something about it.
Put another way, if you – or someone you know – is being bullied in the workplace, I would not assume this person knows how, or is able to, address the situation. The employee might well need HELP.
Unfortunately, these types of problems are much more common than many people may realize. A study from the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) revealed that more than one-third (37%) of Americans reported being victims of bullying.
According to the WBI, bullying can take numerous different forms, including the following:
* Being assigned the impossible task of doing a good job without the proper time or training.
* Undermining your efforts to get your job done by deleting paper or electronic files, or not informing you about important work-related calls and emails.
* Receiving snide comments about your appearance, background or lifestyle.
* Accusing you of things you didn’t do.
* Trying to discredit you or turn others against you.
* Constantly interrupting you so you can’t get any work done.
What to do? The next step will vary from person to person, but one thing is for sure: Don’t underestimate the value of your mental, physical, and emotional health in times of extreme stress. Contact your employee assistance program (EAP)!