A bully within the workplace is a sad and unfortunate person... really.
Typically, (but not always the case), the bully will be in a position of power. Unfortunately, their reach and potential for utter devastation on all levels of another individual's physical, mental, social and spiritual life can be profound.
Let's pull the typical bully apart and gain a little understanding into their behaviour.
An individual who feels the need to bully colleagues is an individual who feels threatened and insecure in their own ability to undertake their role. If you sit back and really observe their behaviour, they are the colleagues who treat others with increased physical/verbal aggression, lack interpersonal skills and have insufficient skills to undertake their role/position. Further, they do not accept responsibility for the welfare of those they have responsibility for.
Insecurity and lack of confidence cause the bully to attempt to control others by using physical and/or psychologically abusive tactics. In doing this, they are projecting their own deficiencies or weaknesses onto those they are targeting. The "reward" they get from doing this is a feeling of increased self-confidence/self-esteem. Further, they do not take any responsibility for the consequences of their own behaviour toward others. However, feeling of increased self-esteem is short lived. The cycle is repeated over and over, consequently becoming addictive and compulsive.
The bully is enabled to take the opportunity to behave in this way due to their position of power within the organisation or through their reliance upon those in power within the organisation.
By watching, you will also notice the bully's behaviour intensify when they are stressed, faced with change, uncertainty, financial pressures, perceive others beneath their potions within the organisation are making more money than they are, and their prospect of failing becomes apparent if not more apparent than it already is, for example, not being able to meet objectives or deadlines.
Eight types of bullies have been identified by Overcomebullying.org:
1. The Two-Headed Snake - acts like a trusted friend or colleague, however, destroy reputations, backstabs and takes credit for others' work.
2. The Gatekeeper - denies colleagues adequate tools to effectively perform their roles.
3. The Sociopath - intelligent, well-spoken, charming and charismatic, these are the most destructive. They have absolutely no empathy for others and are experts at manipulating the emotions of others to get what they want. These people tend to surround themselves with lackeys who willingly do their dirty work in exchange for moving up the ranks with them.
4. The Guru - sees themselves as superior to co-workers and don't consider how their actions affect others, have no concept of the possibility that they can be wrong, and don't accept responsibility for their own actions. Feelng "above it all" they don't feel compelled to follow the rules.
5. The Wannabe - sees themselves as absolutely indispensable and expects recognition for everything. Not usually very good at their jobs, they spend most of their time watching more competent workers and looking something about their performance to complain about. They demand things are done their way - even if there are better ways to do things. They are automatically opposed to others' ideas and will do everything in their power to prevent changes to their work processes.
6. The Attention Seeker - wants to be the centre of attention at all times. They "suck up" to superiors and appear kind and helpful to peers. However, if they don't get the right amount of attention, watch out! they will turn. They are often overly dramatic, relating everything to something going wrong in their own lives to get sympathy and control. These people coax information out of people and use it against them.
7. The Constant Critic's goal is breaking down other's confidence through constant, unwarranted criticism. Actively seeking flaws in other's work, they proceed tirelessly to destroy a person's credibility, going so far as to falsify documents or create evidence.
8. The Screaming Mimi is loud and obnoxious. Their abusive behaviour is meant to berate and humiliate people. They thrive on the thought that people are afraid of them.
So, unfortunately, we have these people in our midst. What can we do?
Bully In Sight - Tim Field
Anton Hout - Overcomebullying.org