Dr John Demartini discusses how to combat bullying in the workplace
What are some of the key reasons people bully in the workplace?
Everybody has the potential to be a bully when they have had their buttons pushed. When we have our higher values challenged enough we can all become quite reactive and can display bullying traits. Because of our internal buffers we might imagine that we are justified by our reactions and are simply responding to the situation in a manner that others might deserve, but ultimately others may see us as simply acting as a bully.
Bullies may act out of anger or resentment when they see behaviour in others that they do not like in themselves, or they may react aggressively to something that threatens their unique set of personal values. (For instance, an employee who sets a high priority on financial security may react aggressively toward another employee who does not place high value on gaining an end-of-year bonus or who may be seen as interfering with their goal of financial freedom.)
What are some successful methods to use to effectively combat bullying in the workplace?
• It is not what happens to you. It is how you interpret it and what you decide to do with it. You can be a victim of your history or a master of your destiny. Look deeper and ask yourself how you can turn whatever the bully does to your advantage.
• Write down items that the bully has thrown or could throw at you, and determine in advance how you can use their actions or antics to your greatest advantage. This way, you win no matter what they do.
• Empower yourself. You are less likely to be bullied when you are empowered. Allow yourself to work on your highest priorities and delegate other work elsewhere. This helps you maintain a sense of fulfillment and empowerment.
How does bullying affect the business as a whole?
Bullying behaviour in the workplace can serve to frustrate, alienate and demotivate team members unless they can reframe their experiences into opportunities. When individual team members are unable to see how their team can help them fulfill what is most important to them, they can become disengaged and unproductive. You may not unable to stop others from playing out the role of the office bully, but you do have the ability to govern yourself, your perceptions, decisions and actions. The key to higher productivity is to be strong, empowered and successful in business by helping yourself and your team members to feel engaged, empowered and valued. Employees are naturally more inspired and disciplined when their highest values are being recognised and fulfilled.
How can the work place get involved and stop bullying?
Those in management in the workplace need to take whatever actions they feel will bring the most advantage over disadvantage. They need to create an intensely productive workplace culture where the outcomes of bullying are clearly not a priority. This way, prospective bullies will be kept busy and engaged and they will feel more fulfilled and less antagonistic.
The victim can also help stop bullying. Here’s how:
The greatest way to prevent bullying is to empower yourself in as many areas of your life as possible. Wherever you are not empowered, you will be over-powered. Bullying behaviour serves to highlight traits in ourselves that we have not yet fully owned or loved. Encourage yourself or those who are feeling bullied to look within and acknowledge the personal traits that the bully is highlighting in themselves and how they can be more empowered in those areas.
In my Breakthrough Experience, I teach people to be empowered by writing down characteristics they admire or despise in others, and acknowledge where they have those characteristics in themselves and how they all ultimately serve. . It can be very helpful if you or those who are being bullied can ask the bully directly: “What specific trait, action, or inaction am I doing that is upsetting you?” Be willing to accept the fact if your behaviour has initiated or prompted the bullying.
Dr. John Demartini is a human behaviour specialist, educator, author and the founder of the Demartini Institute.