Compliments of shapeshift via Flickr

People will wipe their feet on you if you let them. Today, overthrow the doormat. If others think they’ll be soiled in the process, they will be less likely to stir the pot. Not only will speaking garner respect -“Bullies are shocked that someone dare confront them, and they really admire and respect those aggressive enough to do so” (Namie, 2011, p. 106) – it will make you feel like a million dollars.

Bullies are accustomed to submissive behavior. The ultimate act of narcissism is when workers sabotage their peers so they can take center stage; not surprisingly, the self-absorbed spend most of their time plotting vengeance. After a conversation with these toxic people you feel besieged.  

Low self-esteems let others take the lead. Let your peers feel the impact of your presence in a positive (but indisputable) way. If you don’t think that one on one will do the trick, get a larger megaphone and a more visible platform. Become a force to be reckoned with, and not a shrinking violet that’s unseen. Have a greater impact by finding a larger stage and speaking with the impertinence of one who’s on a mission. Below are some concrete ways to make yourself known:

  1. Comment on paper editorials; with the advent of online, citizen journalism is easier than ever.
  2. Begin a blog – blogs not only provide you with a personal platform, but allow you to involve outsiders as guests and the community through commentary.
  3. Call into radio shows; or better yet, agree to appear as a guest.
  4. Speak within your community. Civic organizations and churches routinely host presenters for the benefit of their members.
  5. If you think no one is listening, beat the drum louder.

Say what you think is necessary to become the undercurrent to a corporate fascist. Surprise people, particularly those who consider you “mousy.” As the saying goes, there’s no telling what will happen when someone steps on your tail – past humiliation is a powerful motivator. I loved the commercial with Nancy Kerrigan, when she said “I listened to the voice that said, “Get up!” Speaking about change keeps you pushing forward, and it builds your self-esteem – something that was most likely destroyed in a debacle where you were the target. Bullies’ desire is to dismantle their victims so they are relegated to the organizational outskirts.

The bully is trying to control the emotional tone and can get somewhat histrionic. Tactics include yelling, swearing, screaming, threats, intimidating gestures, and verbal abuse. The perpetrator’s goal is to freeze the target into submission with fear. Simultaneously, witnesses are expected to also quiver in fear that they might fall prey next and to do nothing to interrupt the show” (Namie, 2011, p. 104).

Remaining in a disassembled state merely reinforces a twisted power structure (one that is premised on abuse). Mobilizing your efforts is a way to push back and to gain a foothold in policy formation.

You’ve heard the phrase “Do not speak unless you can improve the silence.” Today, improve the silence by speaking. You are a voice in this world. Let your volume reach a fever pitch.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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