Bully Blocking at Work: A Self-Help Guide for Employees, Managers and Mentors

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Australian Academic Press, 2010 - Psychology - 230 pages
Evelyn Field's masterful analysis of the ways we can help employees cope with and overcome workplace bullying and harassment is a must read for all concerned about how to right this wrong. Dr Philip Zimbardo, Stanford University and author of The Lucifer Effect, Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Kudos to bully expert Evelyn Field for this helpful book. Features many "I can use that today" techniques Read it and reap! Sam Horn, author of Take the Bully by the Horns and Tongue Fu!® USA

No one goes to work to be humiliated, abused, ostracised, subjected to rumours, or assaulted. Yet this is the reality of a working day for more than one in six workers. Bullying causes billions of dollars in lost productivity, expensive mistakes, employee replacement costs, and health and welfare rehabilitation expenses. Most workplaces currently have few resources and systems to deal with the problem, leaving the victims to sink or swim, and the bullies to remain professionally incompetent. Few understand that bullying is not tough management or an aggressive personality trait to be suffered. Severe and unremitting bullying catapults the victim into such a damaging emotional state that it can lead to the breakdown of their very survival mechanisms. Bully Blocking at Work reveals for the first time the true evil nature of workplace bullying, helping the reader to understand its toxic, destructive impact on all employees — whether they are targets, bullies or onlookers — and provides advice for coping and confronting bullying, from both a personal and organisational perspective. The author has worked as a psychologist for over thirty years and has spent many hours listening to clients, conducting interviews, reading, speaking and writing about workplace bullying. Sprinkled liberally throughout the pages are quotes from the many sufferers of bullying that the author has personally worked with over many years.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
What is workplace bullying?
5
Understanding workplace bullying
19
Conditions that encourage workplace bullying
37
The toxic effects of workplace bullying
53
From target to survivor
79
Activate your survival instinct
95
Look after yourself
105
Beware the medicolegal hazards
151
Action for organisations
171
Respect and resilience
203
Endnotes
205
About the Author
216
Acknowledgments
217
Bibliography
218
Copyright

Bully blocking at work
119

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About the author (2010)

Most people find it difficult to acknowledge when they are being bullied, when they witness someone else being bullied, or when they are doing the bullying themselves. Few understand that bullying is not tough management or an aggressive personality trait to be suffered. Workplace bullying is toxic. It is a unique, unbelievably soul-destroying abuse of power. It threatens an employee''s health and wellbeing, and any workplace that condones or fosters bullying is dysfunctional and dangerous. Everyone dreads being humiliated, rejected, vulnerable, and without social support yet these are the results of workplace bullying. It strikes at the heart of who we are; activating a primitive fear of exclusion by the tribe -- of being abandoned -- creating feelings of anger, shame and denial. Severe and unremitting bullying catapults the victim into such a damaging emotional state that it can lead to the breakdown of their very survival mechanisms.
I have worked as a psychologist for over 30 years and helped many different types of clients, including targets of schoolyard bullying and victims of criminal trauma. I have spent many hours listening to clients, conducting interviews, reading, speaking and writing about workplace bullying. Still, to this day every time I hear a workplace bullying story in my practice I am hit with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. It''s so awful I sometimes want to expel the story from my mind, and feel like running away.
Most people accept that children can be bullied at school, yet cannot comprehend that workplace bullying is far worse than school bullying, far more extensive, and a massive health and productivity burden for the workplace, employers and their employees. Tragically, we now see bullies abusing and intimidating their staff and underlings under the guise of management billed as entertainment. Endless ''reality'' television programs parade before us a staggering range of people of all backgrounds with a unifying trait of throwing tantrums in public, verbal abuse, and the single-minded pursuit of their own goals, no matter what the cost to others.
No wonder then that four men were found culpable in 2010 in the suicide of a young waitress at a trendy café in central Melbourne, Australia, from constant bullying, and sentenced to hefty fines under that state''s occupational health and safety laws.
Workplace bullying is a serious psychological issue that deserves the utmost attention by the health, management, and human resources sectors. Today, many mental health professionals fail to assess symptoms accurately; some diagnose and treat victims inappropriately and relate to them without empathy or professional respect. It is no wonder. There is little education for either those treating the problem, or those who can prevent it. Psychiatrists and psychologists have yet to develop accurate diagnoses and evidencebased treatments for targets of workplace bullying. Unfortunately, many cases of workplace bullying that are ignored or dealt with in ignorance spiral out of control into destructive conflicts, harming both the bully and the victim, as well as severely damaging the productivity and reputation of the organisation in which it occurred.
This book therefore aims to educate readers about the evil nature of workplace bullying; to help you understand its toxic, destructive impact on all employees -- whether they are targets, bullies or onlookers -- and provide advice for coping and confronting bullying, from both a personal and organisational perspective. I hope that its impact can create a new movement to help employees and employers reduce the hazards of workplace bullying and align modern work and behaviour practices with reconciliation, social inclusion and improving performance. The goal is to acknowledge, validate and create safe workplaces. This involves empowering everyone, including employers, managers, targets, bullies, bystanders and the public to use collaborative processes so that everyone benefits. Sprinkled liberally throughout the pages to come are quotes from many people I have worked with over the years. These are the genuine voices of victims and bullies; managers, relatives, bystanders and friends. Their words help to emphasise the concepts discussed in the text as well as providing a source of commonality with the reader who has suffered a similar fate. Sometimes it is the simple act of hearing another''s pain and struggle that helps us take those important steps forward for our own survival. Remember though, if as you read the information and examples provided you feel too many traumatic memories or emotional stress is surfacing, that you can always return to it later. This book is designed to provide you with long-term support, so read some bits that seem relevant now and refer to it later as required.
I have intentionally refrained from overusing the term ''victim'' in this book, preferring instead to use the descriptors ''target'' to indicate someone who is the intended receiver of a campaign of bullying behaviour, and ''recipient'' to indicate someone who has experienced bullying behaviour by virtue of being present at the time of a bully''s outburst. Likewise, although men are more likely to be found bullying than women due to their greater representation in management and the workplace generally, throughout the book I refer to both genders to remind the reader that women bully too and that both men and women can be affected by bullying. Finally, no matter what help you gain from reading this book, you must always use professional advice from legal, psychological or medical specialists where required. In those cases, remember to be as clear and objective as possible in communicating both your own needs and the circumstances and effects of the events you have been involved in and why you are seeking professional help.

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