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What if your boss is a bully?

Bullying occurs in all walks of life and it is caused by a number of reasons, but usually by people with a tendency to have psychopath and sadistic traits. This can start at childhood, and unless checked continue on to adulthood until the bully is quite old. The bully delights in telling people of his or her exploits and will stay for hours telling an audience how they got their way. Look for them at the top of the organisation; they like to control.

The structure of an organisation or business can play a part in keeping this despicable menace alive. Progression of the bully up the slippery slope can result in levels of “old boys clubs” and they usually reward themselves very well. Of course when the bully achieves this they have to work twice as hard to cover up what they have been doing. The levels of the organisation or business plays a role if it is common practice to move top management to the next level until they come to the top tier then the bullying continues, but has a greater level of control. At each level the bully makes sure they have apprentices on every level.

The bully likes face-to-face engagement with his or her victim; they engage weaker individuals they can control to help with their bullying. This behaviour always ends in the members who do not want this in their lives or cannot handle it for whatever reason to resign from the organisation. Very few people will take the bully and try to beat them; it is a long and painful process. The best way to record the progress of the bully is to create a paper trail. Never be alone, always have witnesses, and with today’s technology look for the CCTV (while this does not record sound, it records the aggressive movements of the bully).

The bully encourages his or her apprentices to misbehave at the ground level of the organisation, and the mayhem and ugly behaviour has to be seen to be believed; yelling, swearing, throwing chairs, papers, threatening personal violence and stealing property of the victim or organisation. The apprentice refuses to abide by the constitution or code of conduct or rules of the organisation until legal measures are put in place. This is usually condoned by the bully who will have secret meetings to suggest what other measures can be used to disrupt the organisation.

A good case in point is the recent stories making the headlines in the national papers and over the media is the RSL NSW. The structure is right, the progression through the ranks is in place, but the tribunals are conducted internally by “mates” and the bullying can be put in place at all levels of the organisation.

The only way to help control the bullying is to make sure the governance is strictly enforced, the bully has not been able to make an apprentice out of the enforcer, the bully does not have too many positions of power, make a paper trail, no oral exchanges on phones, always let it go to message, so you have a voice message or they cannot resist sending a text. CCTV is your friend, always ask the venue to download the incident, report your case to the police and get a number for your report.

Why do I go to the trouble to write this, you ask. I like Truth, Fairness and Justice. I speak for the people who cannot defend themselves. You need a tough skin, get used to being targeted by the bully, all in all the more people that the bully hurts the angrier I get. Some need to speak out.



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  1. Maeve Carney

    So we have laws to stop people being offended, but people who are bullied get nothing.

  2. Matters Not

    Could you please define ‘bullying’? Definition of ‘terms’ is usually helpful in any rational discussion.

    Then there’s Truth, Fairness and Justice.

  3. Bronwyn Meredith

    Until psychological testing of people moving upwards in organisations (particularly in management positions) is instituted to weed out narcissists and psychopaths, I’m not optimistic that bullying can be reined in. I’ve seen some real shockers in my working life. Most of them present as likeable and capable. Scratch the surface and they’re deadly.

  4. stephengb2014

    Been bullied for a large portion of my life, mainly at school and later in early career.

    It was always the prefect, teachers, supervisors and managers.

    At 69 and retired I admit I was bullied badly untill the end of school, then in early work, and then up to leaving the Royal Air Force. After that it was less obvious but still present, leading hands and Supervisors bullied by giving me the shit jobs.
    After becoming highly qualified things got a lot better untill I joined the public service. Then it started again subtle but still there.

    But I beat them at there own game – I got the last laugh.

    I will not tell you how but suffice to say, I won!

  5. helvityni

    Bullying is an Australian way of life; it happens everywhere, at schools, homes, between neighbours, at work places, sporting fields, in politics, here on AIMN ( thanks to Michael and Rossley it’s kept to a minimum)….look at cruelty happening at Don Dale, on Manus and Nauru, and as I learnt last night: at care homes.

    It most likely goes back to the convict days, the crims were bullied by their overseers, doing what was done to them back at the old country by their bosses…..

  6. wam

    Love it, matters not, ‘bullying’ has been ‘buzz-worded’ into hype. For me bullying is violence. Actual, threatened or implied violence. Consequently, online bullying is a confession and should be a police matter with the bully already identified or, at least, traceable???

  7. Ann

    Thanks anonymous, that was interesting.
    Perhaps those stricken by the sickness of bullying need on-going anger management treatment until they rediscover their peaceful self. Watching others vent is like looking at someone possessed. What personal tribute did they pay for the mental movie ruining their world everyday I wonder? It’s so simple, one who prefers attack to understanding is on the way to where – Heaven or Angryland?

  8. helvityni

    …oops, so sorry Roswell, I called you ‘Rossley’…I had a feeling that it wasn’t quite right. 🙂

  9. Secret Work Business

    I’ve only been bullied, “legally”, in recent years. There were other authoritarian a’holes in my younger days – but they had limited direct effect on me. I use the word “legally”, as it is more a result of me more or less constantly arguing against the decisions and implementation failures of a manager whom I’ve regarded as a megalomaniac who doesn’t add value. I’ve been sidelined and given fairly meaningless work – a dead end job.

    Sometimes (or perhaps often) bullying is an outcome of the receivers failures – the person is just not suited to the work in question or has a multiplicity of low key but cumulative psychological problems that leads to ongoing interpersonal conflicts – wherein a low quality manager can as a blame focal point for all their anxieties.

    In my own case, there does remain the question of how much of this conflict was due to my own rebellious and opinionated personality – as in a personality conflict, not bullying. My rapidly changing workplace (new difficult IT system, with lots and lots of failings) had been taken over by “outsiders” who often lack the judgment about how things can be done best. I object strongly to neocon-like management methods, always top down, always careless about the impacts and always expecting total obedience in their favour – and at times I assertively rejected that to my own career detriment (I should have been a union advocate). I avoid conforming to idiocy and strategic incompetence. Yes, I also started doing some undermining, explaining my viewpoint to others as to why he was incompetent at the level he was at (he would not have seemed that incompetent to managers above him, as all his focus was on pleasing them and protecting himself, which of course is fairly typical).

    Sometimes work colleagues would shake their heads at the way I was treated in terms of being sidelined, and felt sorry for me as I am otherwise competent, so I think it fair to classify it as bullying. It just was not the constant, every day, bitchy type bullying some people have to endure from a direct boss – particularly those in small businesses where there are far fewer controls.

    Being sidelined and constantly stressed really sucks the life and motivation and loyalty out of you. I’m certain I went close to a breakdown one weekend – my good work on a short term project was unfairly dissed by the manager in question, and a week later he tries to hang me for unprofessional behaviour. The whole weekend from the moment of waking, all day and including dreams, I stressed over and over about the same specific problem involving a conflict. If this sort of long term conflict had of occurred a 15 or so years ago, it could have led to suicide, as way back then I was already very severely depressed for other reasons (which toughened me up).

    In my view work bullying in larger organisations could be partly resolved by staff somewhat anonymously evaluating their manager, not just evaluations from managers above. Unfortunately, they are often the sort of people senior managers want as they are “authoritarians” and “narcissists” just like many of them.

  10. Mick Byron

    Matters NotMarch 27, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Could you please define ‘bullying’?

    good question

    There are many defenders of racial vilification laws on AIMN but what category does humiliate,insult demean,vilify,ridicule etc come under and when is that ok to do that?

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