The following insights are from graduate students in my Current Issues in Management class.
“People spend so much of their time at work and many times associate their self-identity and self-worth around their occupations and their success in their professional roles. Managers that do not properly conduct themselves and that do not manage effectively can be extremely damaging to the employees in an organization.
Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence and it seems has recently started to gain the attention of the media and academia alike. With continued awareness and education, companies will be able to institute preventative measures in their organizations.
Because our self-worth is wrapped up in our contributions and roles as mentioned before, it is easy for an abusive supervisor to shake someone’s belief in themselves and their worth. This happens as a result of a manager abusing their power and behaving badly out of anger, jealousy or some other emotion such as fear for their own job.” [Angie Grissom]
The most damaging thing a manager can do is allow his employees to lose confidence in their abilities to perform their job. Whether the manager actively engages in bullying or allows it to go on, they are setting the tone for a hostile work environment. The bully is the one controlling the situation. Other employees that have valuable insights may feel disempowered to contribute what might be worthwhile ideas. Employees that are scared, intimidated, and stressed will underperform and also can cost the company money by increased healthcare costs and absenteeism.
Bullies may be bullies because they are the ones put in charge and they want to protect their position of power. This does not excuse their behavior. Allowing a bully to continue to push workers around is detrimental to both the victim and the perpetrator. If a bully is concentrating on pushing a co-worker around, are they really focusing on doing their job, and growing in their knowledge? They’re handicapping themselves by wasting time keeping others down. [Leslie Lee]
I find it ironic that bullies are motivated by many of the same feelings as their victims, belittlement, betrayal, embarrassment, and inadequacy. As Dr. Gilbert posted, bullies feel the need to level the playing field. One could even argue that many bullies are simply victims of others like themselves, seeking to lessen their own feelings of inadequacy by pointing-out others’ faults. In some cases, their self-worth has declined to the point they have little ability to appreciate their own person and must rely on the shortcomings of others in order to feel worthy. In other words, it’s a cycle, but one that I believe can be broken.
That is to say victims of bullying can help in providing a solution to the problem. Instead of submitting to bullying and reverting to similar tactics, we should remain conscious of our self-worth and of our potential to impact others. Otherwise stated, we need to exhibit self-control in order to oppose bullying. To level the playing field, we must work to build ourselves up instead of tearing others down. A potential solution to help minimize bullying both at work and at home is to take initiative and actively promote our own well-being so that we do not fall victim to bullying and risk engaging in similar behavior. [Matt Egner]