Magazine article Talent Development

Neutralizing the Workplace Bully: Victims and Witnesses Also Share Accountability for Bullying

Magazine article Talent Development

Neutralizing the Workplace Bully: Victims and Witnesses Also Share Accountability for Bullying

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A recent survey conducted by VitalSmarts, a corporate training solutions provider, found that workplace bullies can have better job security. According to the survey, some bullies have kept the same job for more than 30 years. Of the 96 percent of respondents who have experienced bullying at work, 80 percent said that the bully affected five or more people, and 54 percent said that the bullying had gone on for more than five years.

Joseph Grenny, co-founder of VitalSmarts, says workplace bullying is rampant due to a breakdown in four levels of accountability: personal (the victim), peer (witnesses to the behavior), supervisory (team leaders), and formal discipline (HR). Only 51 percent of respondents said their company has a policy for managing bullies. This lack of formal policy could result in the bullies being able to retain their positions.

The study shows that the most effective way to deter a bully is a conversation initiated by the victim. For example: "I'm not sure you intended this, but in our last meeting you laughed at two of my ideas. …

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