Workplace Bullying: The Bully's Spell Over the Bystander

If you have ever been bullied, were you surprised that your closest co-workers may not have come to your defense? In addition to taking a 'blow' from a bully, when a target is perhaps at their lowest point, they sometimes turn around and there is no one 'in the school yard' standing behind them. Consider a group email sent by a co-worker to a peer group calling down another worker's idea and leaving that worker out of the email loop. You receive the email and see your co-worker and friend is being made fun of and doesn't even know it !his has happened before in various forms such as one on one gossip and group settings "all while this other person was absent#. $hat do you do? %ere are some choices& which ones would you do? $hich ones would you not do? 'nything else come to mind?

1. (ead and re-read the email& and feeling uncomfortable with what is happening, you call your

closest friend and talk about it. !hen you go on with your day with this at the back of your mind. 2. (espond to the entire group "since the email was sent to the entire group to begin with# and suggest a new way to resolve this issue. You include the absent co-worker on the email and note it was inappropriate to e)clude this person in the first place& standing up for the person who was e)cluded. 3. You ignore this all together, saying 'that's *ust the way this person is'. 4. You see someone did respond, trying to hold this person accountable for their email. You then decide to support this person and the worker with a return email+ 'I agree' in order to support the target and the person who stood up initially. 5. ,nce the supportive email was sent, you call that person to say -.reat email, I was thinking the same-.. !hen proceed to move along with your day. 6. ,nce the supportive email was sent, you call that person to say -.reat email, I was thinking the same-. You also call the target and offer support. !hen proceed to move along with your day. 7. ,nce the supportive email was sent, you call that person to say -.reat email, I was thinking the same-. You also call the target and offer support. !hen you email the group to say the same. /. You call the bully to try and 'get to the bottom of things'. You call the target to offer support.

There are many reasons why colleagues might not come to the aid of a target. These include: 1. ,ften, colleagues have very little real understanding of the tactics of bullying such as guilt,
sarcasm, manipulation, psychological violence, etc& especially if it hasn't happened to them.

2. 0eople are so used to the bully behaving this way that it is considered as -normal- behavior. 3. !he bystander wants the bully's approval for something such as a promotion, award, inclusion

in a group. $hy stand up for someone else who is being bullied and risk being left out by the bully? 4. 1y spreading misinformation such as half truths, lies and withholding, the bully starts to create 'power over' the target and others. ' distorted picture is created and this is what the bully wants them to see. 5. !he bully goes to great lengths to undermine their target and portray them as ineffective, unethical or incompetent by manipulating peoples' perceptions of the target. 2ventually, colleagues are encouraged to regard the target as a threat. 0eople take on the bully's view of the target as the bully is so convincing that 'everyone seems to feel this way'. 6. !he bully is a smooth, slimy, sycophantic individual who is nice in public& aggressive in private. !his is deceptive behavior. 7. !he bully often creates an alliance with a colleague who has a similar disposition. !his adds to the levels of dysfunction& even while not really knowing the target In addition, he bully is often able to convince emotionally needy bystanders to fold in as controlled supporters. 8. 3ery few people, when put to the test, have the integrity and moral courage to stand up against bullying. It is easier to ignore or minimi4e the event. 9. !he bully's response serves to minimi4e the real impact of what is going on often responding with comebacks when caught such as+ -that's in the past-, -focus on the future-, -what's in the past is no longer relevant-, -you need to move on-, etc. 56. !he -I didn't know what to do- e)cuse is used to abdicate and deny any responsibility. 1ystanders who use this e)cuse make no effort to find out. 7uestion+ $ould you do this if it were your child or a loved one? !his was written for the 5666's of targets who have suffered, the 566's of people who have stood by a target but felt alone when they did not receive the support from their co-workers and friends, and for

all the people who will make a new decision to do the 'right thing' even though it might not be popular or make them feel comfortable. %ere's to an empowered. C80 is a $orkplace 1ullying 2) 1ully 9ree at $ork. . . We ask you not to edit the content and that you leave the links and resource o" intact.bullyfreeatwork. 9or consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation. You have permission to use the a ove article in your newsletter! pu lication or email system. go to http+::www. 'll rights reserved. 8peaker and 'uthor of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now " which has been distributed in over 566 countries worldwide. united future. 3alerie Cade.