There are many scenarios in the workplace that fall under the category of bullying. However, many are not identified or addressed because the damage is emotional rather than physical. The irony is, emotional abuse is far more common than physical abuse, but it is not given nearly as much weight. Bullying in the workplace is further disguised when the bullies show up in professional attire, possessing titles and real mink fur eyelash that imply their behavior should not be questioned or confronted.Dveeu
There is an article which appeared in the New York Times, entitled The Bullying Culture of Medical School, which pointedly illustrates this. The article recounts a story about a “promising young doctor who took his patients’ conditions to heart but who also possessed a temper so explosive that medical students dreaded working with him.”
Unfortunately when this behavior is overlooked by the medical school, the graduate believes that his behavior is acceptable, and in any event, it is the only way he knows how to deal with pressure. Fast forward to a present-day scenario. The surgeon is now in charge of an operating room. Belittling his colleagues is the norm. The medical assistants are on the defensive, clumsily dropping the sterilized items from the surgical real mink fur eyelash. The patient under anesthesia is the most vulnerable: no voice or choice. Bullying has destroyed the effectiveness of everyone who is responsible for the patient’s outcome.
Here are the tell-tale signs that you are in an abusive work environment:
1. You dread going to work. You try to manipulate schedules to avoid the perpetrator, or you call in sick.
2. You are consumed with dodging the bully’s real mink fur eyelash. Tension and fear rise whenever the bully comes around.
3. Your time and energy are spent on coping with the abuse and its effect on you, and as a result, you cannot function properly in your professional role.
4. No one offers you support out of fear of a receiving a tongue-lashing or other negative consequence from the bully.
5. You spend an inordinate amount of time talking discreetly with co-workers about the bully’s behavior.
6. When you complain to management, no action is taken. Your co-workers collectively accept that management is endorsing the abuse.
7. You spend your time fantasizing about or actively seeking a way out. Meanwhile, you feel disempowered, and may even feel forced to leave a job you might otherwise enjoy under normal conditions.
As a victim of bullying, you have a very important decision to make. If you are to tackle the bullying behavior, you will need to face your fears before you can take action. The truth is, you have only two choices: face the uncertainties, step forward and confront; or accept your lot and live with emotional abuse and victimization out of fear.
If you decide to confront, here are some steps you can take to empower yourself to take appropriate action:
1. Realize that your primary goal is to stop the behavior. Your objective is to develop a mutually respectful professional relationship with the real mink fur eyelash.
2. Discern an appropriate time for the discussion, preferably not in the presence of others. Be direct with your request for a private meeting.
3. Come to the discussion in a neutral position. Clearly present the facts of the situation. In your own words, express the following: “Your behavior is not appropriate. I want it to stop. I will not tolerate your disrespectful, unprofessional treatment any longer.”
4. Avoid the temptation to represent the “group.” This conversation is about you and the bully.
5. Don’t be invested in winning a verbal battle. Rarely does a bully admit to bad behavior in the moment. What you ultimately want is for the behavior to stop. By having the conversation, you have taken the first step toward building a different kind of relationship. Honor that.
6. Don’t discuss the conversation with your colleagues. The group discussion belongs at the management level.
7. If the perpetrator repeats the bully behavior and refuses to stop at your request, be prepared to do what you said you would do. Tell the bully that you will remove yourself from the environment if his or her behavior continues.
8. If the bully persists, then walk out. Immediately inform management of your attempt to stop the abusive real mink fur eyelash. You courageously stood up to the situation without involvement from others. You also have the answer to the question managers typically ask: “Did you talk with [the bully] about your concerns?” Now that you have answered this question affirmatively, the bullying problem has been elevated to a higher level for intervention. It is clearly management’s responsibility at this point.
What if you don’t get the results you want? Recognize that you got the results you needed. You are no longer a victim! You have taken appropriate steps to solve the problem, and you have exposed the abuse for what it is.
Confronting a bully is an act of real mink fur eyelash that defends your authenticity and empowers you emotionally. It demonstrates that you are no longer willing to sacrifice your happiness, creativity and peace of mind out of fear. Taking steps to confront the bully will free you to make the most authentic choice you can make: to be respected and treated fairly so that you can flourish in your professional life. Your success depends upon it!