Off late I see many articles on office bullies and there is a fair chance that many could be people in higher positions or bosses.
Before we get into details let’s understand what is bullying?
Bullying is a form of workplace violence. It is an offensive behaviour, a grab for control, and an exercise of power that attempts to undermine an individual through humiliation. Bullying is vindictive, cruel, and malicious conduct that takes the form of verbally, social, psychologically, and/or physically hurting someone. The attacks are unpredictable and irrational.
So that brings us to our next question- why do people bully others in work place? What drives this behaviour in the first place? I believe that such individuals are driven by aggressions, ambitions, insecurities , need to be in control all the time , possibly lack empathy and might even have social skill issues. It could be any of this or multiple of these which ultimately lead to bullying behaviour.
And who could be their targets? Surprisingly not weak individuals but smart minded and ambitious people because these are people who make them feel threatened or small. They go after such people and humiliate them and make them feel weak and insecure because this gives them a sense of being in control or sense is achievement . Typically organisations which breed such behaviour will end up losing good talent over a period of time.
So how does and organisation notice and weed out these bullies? To start with organisations need to realise the difference between individuals contributors and team players. Every individual contributor need not be cut out for a role to lead and grow other individuals. I believe that as people grow to higher ranks specially where people management skills matter- the individuals needs to be critically evaluated on their ability to manage and groom people under them. A person who has not been able to retain resources or show vertical growth of individuals in their team need to be monitored to see if it’s a consistent trend or just a matter of luck. Exit interviews with exiting individuals need to be given serious weightage.
In most the cases bullies are high performers who can switch behaviour from being charming to obnoxious within no time. Now their victims being smart and aspiring individuals would not find such work environment conducive to growth and end up underperforming and eventually leaving the organisation.
Role of organisation and their system of appraisals would play a critical role in averting such behaviours.
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From our house my son’s school is about 5-10 mins walk. The road leading up to the school is usually jam packed with cars during morning hours. Many parents drop their kids by cars till the school gate causing traffic jam.
So today there was a BEST bus stuck and lots of cars were honking incessantly. Now my son hates loud noises and was complaining about how everyone keeps honking all the time in India. Being brought up in Europe he is not used to hearing so much honking.
We were walking with couple of his friends in a group and so one of the mothers in the group asked him – do you want to go back to Europe? And promptly my son replies – no, I would rather make India better. I will teach everyone not to honk so much.
Like always I was stunned- he never fails to amaze me. I keep wondering who learns more- he from me or other way round. Today I learned that complaining and running away doesn’t solve a problem but staying put and changing the situation can make your world a better place wherever you are.
Today morning I was dropping my son as usual to his school. This is my favourite time of the day when both of us are full of energy and we have nice conversations while walking to school. We talk about varied things ranging from pollution, science, maths and so on.
So today we got into talk about how in winters days get shorter and how it becomes dark earlier these days. To this I was just teasing him saying so lesser time for you to play and me to work. And promptly my son says but so much more time to rest and sleep. So much more time to dream about lovely things.
Needless to say I am amazed – at this age he has a perspective which many adults would lack. My learning from today’s conversation- everything can be viewed from different perspectives and your perspective determines your state of mind and attitude.
I never stop getting amazed with his ability to change my perspective and thoughts.
“ A negative mind will never give you a positive life”
Yesterday night I came home from work extremely tired and stressed. My 6 year old son was being unusually naughty and was refusing to complete his nocturnal routine and sleep. It was way beyond his sleeping time and he had school the next day . So I ended up yelling at him. He went quite and then suddenly looked deeply into my eyes and said, “ Mom that wasn’t necessary. I don’t think I appreciate the way you spoke to me”
For a moment I forgot who was an adult between the two of us.I was shocked and happy to see his controlled and dignified reaction. I was so proud of him. I think he teaches me to be a better parent and a better person everyday.
I hugged him and apologised for my behaviour and he simply hugged me back and said it’s ok Mom- I know you are very tired. I know you love me a lot and I love you too. And within moments he cuddled up and slept in my arms peacefully.
Two lessons I learned from him yesterday- however tired or stressed you might be , control your responses before you hurt others. Words hurt and once said they cannot be retracted . So choose your reactions carefully and second one was let go easily- not for other because it brings peace to you.
I wish I could be a child again….
No worries no stress no worldly pains
Say what you do and do as you say
No hidden agenda and no games to play
Looking at life with innocent eyes
Happy in naïvety that everyone is nice
I wish I could be a child again
No worries no stress no worldly pains
Carefree days and those silly squabbles
Biggest worry is learning tables
Finding happiness in small things
Like birds soaring free with their wings
I wish I could be a child again
No worries no stress no worldly pain
Time and ride wait for none
Unleash the child in you and have fun
By Preeta Sanjith
I am among those fortunate people who got opportunities to travel across the globe and accumulate a wealth of experiences. Travelling opens immense possibilities to learn and grown as a person. You meet varied people across cultures, step out of your comfort zone and this entire experience enriches you immensely.
When I look back now to how I was about a decade ago….I can see what a huge role these travels have played in shaping up my personality. After living in 5-6 countries over past 9 years my perpective towards life has changed and the best part is you don’t have to try to hard to bring about this change. So penning down a few lessons I learned from my travels:-
- Ego gets you nowhere: The moment you let go of the feeling that you are someting great, you open up to learning new things. We are so wrapped up in feeling of self importance in our small worlds that we fail to see at times that we are just a very small part of this big universe. Moment you accept this then you are open to learning and growing continuosly.
- Value small things in life: Its good to aim for big things in life but even more important to realise the value of small things in life which you take for granted. I never realised the joy the first rain showers could give you till I relcoated to Dubai where it did not rain at all. I did not realise how much I missed daily conversations with my friends and family till they became rare.
- Practice detatched attachment: This is one of my biggest take aways from my travelling experiences. Be attached and give 100% to relations around you….but be ready to detach easily as well.
- People matter: When you move out of your comfort zone you will realise that life is all about relationships and connections you make. All my memories about a place are associated with people you have met these and that’s the real treasure of travelling…meeting some awesome people across the globe.
- People love to talk more than listening: Everyone has a story and everyone wants to connect and share their story. To make friends you need to be genuinely interested in people’s stories and need to have an ability to give them a patient ear.
- Everyone is as vunerable: Just like you have your fears and insecurities so do people. Across cultures people are similar with similar issues and insecurities. So open up and embrace people to connect with them.
- Food connects people: Across cultures food is what connects and brings people together. Learn to appreciate different kinds of food- work at enhancing your taste palate. Its easier to settle down in different places when you start appreciating different types of food. Its easier to meet people over food when you have widened taste palate
- Enjoy your own company: Most of us are scared to be alone…we need friends to go for movies, dinners and so on…but then you travel there is a possibility that you might be the only company you have. It’s important start loving your own company- be it eating at restaurants or going to movies or seeing sights
- Step out of your comfort zone: In the mundane life we lead we often forget to step out of our comfort zones..travelling makes you step out of your environment, deal with new culture and new people. It’s important in life to step out of your comfort zone and try new things to reinvent yourself and humble your self. Recently I tackled my biggest fear- fear of drowing by learning swimming. Keeping doing new and different things to step out of your comfort zone
- Be spontaneous: Its good to have plans but you need to be nimble and adaptable to survive in this world. You need to know when to let go of the plans and just go with the flow too. You need to change quickly to adapt to unknowns – plans only work for known settings.
Travelling across the globe has been one of the best things that’s happened to me. This is just about a fraction I have learned from my travels…hope to get many more opportunities to continue learning & growing.
Few days ago I was reading an interesting article about patriotism by one of my colleagues. He talked about us having a very low bar for testing our patriotism –> standing for national anthem@ theatres and so on…The thought seemed to have stuck to me somehow. We all keep talking about issues in our country- […]
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