Work Safety: Am I Being GROOMED By A Bully? by Dr Flis Lawrence

Am I being groomed by a workplace bully? What are the signs and HOW CAN I STOP IT?

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

One of the common tricks of any consistently manipulative and/or aggressively controlling individual is to trick YOU into believing that you are to blame for THEIR behaviour.

Who am I talking about? Well, it could be a boss, supervisor, co-worker, colleague, staff member, client, customer and/or stakeholder.

Do you think that you're personally responsible for the behaviour of other adults in your workplace?

NO! ...UNLESS you're a workplace leader or health & safety officer  (if you're unsure WHY leaders are responsible for modeling & sustaining good workplace behaviours, just listen to Simon Sinek's Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe)

One common method used by bullies to groom you to accept their behaviour as somehow YOUR fault, is to deliberately and rapidly SWITCH from being warm and friendly to suddenly aggressive, dismissive, rude or abusive. 

For instance, they may attack you in public or in front of your team for a real or imagined mistake (or ANYTHING) about which you had no control or were completely unaware.

YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS BEHAVIOUR - NO-ONE DOES!

And make no mistake! This persistent intimidation is very deliberate and calculated.

Why? Because UNLESS YOU'RE PREPARED, this tactic allows the bully to infer that YOU are the cause of their behaviour. This tends to embarrass you and catch you off-balance and on the back-foot, so most people tend to apologise.

In one simple move, the bully has made you responsible for their behaviour and has rendered you silent.

The minute you are silenced, the bully can start to control you and establish their power over you.

Like domestic violence, bullying is about power and control.
— R. Wood

If tignored, and if you accept the bullying as somehow YOUR FAULT and allow it to CONTINUE UNCHECKED, the behaviour will then drift into becoming a NORMAL ROUTINE...

...then you will start to ACCEPT what the bully is telling you.

In fact, you will likely become so busy cross-checking and second guessing yourself, and worried about what the bully is going to do or say next, that what happens...?

This is what happens: Your concentration and mental health takes a deep dive. Your suffer wakeful nights...pointlessly and fruitlessly worrying. You get frazzled. You get jumpy, tired and exhausted. You become defensive and your confidence hits ground zero. Your productivity bottoms out. AND you start to believe what the bully is telling you (that you're incompetent, stupid, lazy, friendless, brain-dead, a pain...) because you're so mentally exhausted, fearful, and scared that you have allowed the bully to establish their CONTROL and POWER over YOU.

So I ask you again, does this sound familiar?

Do you want a SAFE method to interrupt and stop this behaviour? Then click on the button below to enrol for free into my pithy,  1 hour mini-eCourse comprised of 7 video-webinars "How To Quickly Recognise & Control A Workplace Bully Without Getting Victimised"

Dr Felicity (Flis) Lawrence has a PhD in organisational social psychology from the Faculty of Education, QUT (+BA SSc & Dip PM), with 25 years experience in private, military and government workplaces. She uses a mixed adult education, academic-evidenced approach to help people leading & working in organisations create respectful, safer work cultures by preventing bullying, fostering new insights, and diagnosing organisational problems. Emailteam@DrFlis.com, LinkedIn or follow her blog Twitter or Facebook.