Workplace Bullying: How to Detect and Protect

Workplace Bullying: How to Detect and Protect

Bullying: A chronic corporate disease

Workplace bullying occurs in most companies across the U.S.  An employee at one unnamed company gave her name as Mavis. She stated “When I started there, I was told that someone had been acting in the position and had expected to get the job. This person continually undermined me and turned other staff against me. I endured twelve months of hell, and felt as if I was sinking in quicksand.” Another employee at a different company stated “The misery took over my whole life. I turned nasty and bitter, and treated my wife and kids like whipping posts. After many visits to a psychologist, I was able to think of all the positive things in my life. Now I look back and think I wouldn’t want to go through that experience again.”

Society in general has no legal repercussions for a bully. In fact, the overall aspect of bullying is in part promoted by the competitiveness of American society. It can be seen in one of the most popular sports, football. In football the object of the game is to get the ball to the other player’s goal. But, the rules are split and people are trampled, pushed, screamed at, spit on and more in order to achieve a goal. This is essential to note, because the sport is such a popular venue for Americans. Thus, in American society a winner pushes others out of the way and wins no matter the cost. It is the essentials of a bully, to control the situation and the people around them. A powerful existence is what the bully craves, as well as the attention that comes from getting what they want no matter the cost.

The effects of working with a Bully

An adult coworker who is the object of bullying will in fact have a hard time working in that atmosphere. Health conditions will start to take their toll on the victims. Typically a victim will endure feelings of depression, guilt, and loss of sleep, fatigue or a combination of all of these.  In some cases victims of bullying begin to believe the bully. They believe that they are worthless and cannot complete the work at the same level as others in their units. Consequently, they simply cannot work in the environment anymore because they are afraid. Victims of bullying suffer from depression, panic disorders, post traumatic stress syndrome, agoraphobia, and stress-induced high blood pressure and face economic issues due to leaving a job. Some may not return to a job because they were being bullied. Others will commit suicide after actually being programmed to believe that they are in fact horrible people.

The abuse takes a toll on the victim in every way imaginable. They are unable to complete their work and unable to live their lives happily. Unfortunately in the United States bullying in the workplace in general is not illegal.

Are You A Bully?  

In many cases it may be a hard thing to accept if you are being accused of being the bully. It may have been unintentional or purely emotional but whatever you have said or done has made your workplace a culture of negativity. Perhaps, you see yourself as the only one in the office qualified to do anything right.

Symptoms that you may be the bully include:

•Insulting a coworker (remember one insult to another may be harmless to you)

•Undermining another employees work by creating a hostile environment or perhaps by consistently calling their attention to unnecessary flaws.

•As an employer ignoring your employees suggestions

•Humiliating your employee in front of others

If any of these signs sound like something that you may be doing it is important to address this immediately with your victim. Then you may want to speak with your doctor to refer out for treatment options. Thus, counseling, sensitivity training, anger management and other seminars will be available to help you understand the root of your bullying problem.

It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of a bully in order to help the victim and the victimizer contend with difficulties and exterminate the behavior. Record workplace bullying events, and be diligent about them because if you do report the instances you will be responsible for recording dates and data should there be charges brought against the bully. A quarter of a million American employees are bullied at work. It focuses on a person rather than a task and this is the key difference between constructive criticism and bully behavior.


Contributed by Rakesh Malhotra,

Author of “Adventures of Tornado Kid, Whirling Back Home Towards Timeless Values”

Rakesh is also the Founder of Five Global Values (

Passionately determined to uncover the mystery of human behavior. His fascination with the influence of core values on human behavior stems from a career which has seen rise from an entry-level sales job to that of a seasoned CEO. Having worked, lived, or travelled to more than 40 countries, he has been able to study performance and human behaviour across all cultures.


Coffman, Sandra. “You Don’t Have to Take It! A Woman’s Guide to Confronting Emotional Abuse at Work.” Seal Press, 1993.

Namie, Gary. “The Bully At Work.” Sourcebooks, 2000.

Patterson G. “The bully as victim?”. Pediatric Nursing 17 (10): 27–30. December 2005.

Ross, P. N. “Arresting violence: A resource guide for schools and their communities.”  Toronto: Ontario Public School Teachers’ Federation. 1998.

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Compassion Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Our Deeper Selves

Five Global Values
This book will inspire kids to connect with one another, connect families together

Compassion Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Our  Deeper Selves 

Not too long ago, a story made the rounds on the internet, from news sites to emails to Facebook posts, about a famous musician who decided to play in a busy public area of a major city and see what happened. Sadly, the musician, a world-class talent who typically filled auditoriums and sold out shows, only attracted fleeting glances from the bustling pedestrians who walked by him that day. His experience reflects a good deal about our collective conscience when it concerns people outside our tightly scheduled lives. A musician playing on a street corner or busy walkway isn’t a threatening proposition. Maybe everyone passing by that day truly had too much on their agendas to stop, listen, and offer a dollar. But the story is telling on this level: we’ve become immune to the outside world, even when it offers us beautiful music.

Compassion Suffers from Our Jaded View of the World 

Daily, we are wrapped in discouraging news from across the globe that bombards us from every angle. Some of us manage to close off the rat-a-tat-tat of negativity. Who among us knows someone, maybe yourself, who doesn’t read a newspaper or watch a news show of any kind? We blame the media and say they focus too much on the negative and never report the positive. This may be true, but we inoculate ourselves from caring by placing a bubble around our lives. We become closed off to the suffering of others; we rationalize we can’t do anything to change the circumstance; we turn off the music, both good and bad.

This is an insular way of living. True, life is difficult. Our trials will be many, and we argue that our personal stock of coping energy is depleted by dealing with the immediate, personal matters that affect us directly. When news of disasters or political upheavals seep through our barriers, we are good at pushing them back to the other side. “Let someone else help,” we think, “because my life is all I can handle.” Perhaps we need to think again.

Compassion: Part of What Makes Us Human 

Over the course of human history, which can be viewed as miniscule or expansive, compassion has been a driving force of change. Human suffering has a way of motivating individuals and the masses. One person’s compassionate acts can affect hundreds—abolitionist Sojourner Truth escaped slavery and worked the remainder of her life to ease the lives of black Americans. Acts of compassion also arise from nations—all but one European country has abolished the death penalty. Compassion is an agent of change.

The truth of the matter is that turning off our compassion entirely is impossible and deadening to our core consciousness. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), the physician and Nobel Peace Prize winner, said: “Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.”

Reconnecting with Our Compassion: A Few Steps 

There’s no formula for finding our compassion once we recognize it has never left us in the first place. If your ability to care for others seems dormant, start small. You may have no desire to advocate for the homeless or volunteer at a non-profit organization. That’s okay. But there are issues and people that you care about, and they are all around you when you are ready to see them. Ask yourself a couple of questions:

  1. What do I care about in life?
  2. Who are affected by the things I care about most?
  3. Are there needs to be filled, small or large, that could benefit from my time, talent or money?
  4. If so, how do I undertake a compassionate act that best suits my resources, abilities and comfort level?

Make a commitment to write down the answers and review them. Keep revisiting them until they feel right. When they do, take the next step and act. In the end, the lives of a few or many could benefit, and your life will also reap the rewards of connecting with your humanity.


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