Wrangling with the Bull(y): The Price We Pay

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Our strongest and most vivid human memories are usually associated with strong emotional events such as those associated with extreme fear, love and rage –  Dr. Louise Faber

Workplace bullying is a global epidemic that has traumatized countless women and men, who live with the invisible bruises every day of their lives. We need to break the cycle and that means awareness and confrontation. But first, let’s take a look at the price we are paying for not taking action.

The Physical Price We Pay for Tolerating Bullies

Headaches; stomach aches/ulcers; insomnia; overeating or lack of appetite; over smoking; over medicating; over drinking; depression; hospitalization from nervous breakdowns.

And that’s just the beginning. These health issues cost a lot of money and time. Absenteeism in the form of sick days. Presenteeism in the form of physically being at work and doing the bare minimum to get by.

Clearly, the trauma caused by workplace bullying does not only last for the day it occurs. It doesn’t only last a week or a month. The trauma can sometimes last for years.

The Emotional Price We Pay for Tolerating Bullies

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); loss of confidence; loss of self-esteem; loss of self-worth; loss of self-respect; sadness; distracted; fragmented; difficulty focusing; resentment; lack of filter; anger.

If a woman or man is feeling or experiencing any of the above, it is simply not possible to be highly productive and perform at a top level. That is a lose/lose situation for everyone involved.

It seems painfully obvious that we are paying a very high human toll for not holding bullies accountable for their actions and insisting on change.

The Case for Education

I am not an advocate of firing unless absolutely necessary. I am an advocate for education, coaching, and training – because many bullies are clueless and oblivious to the way people are responding to their actions. The only way things will change is if the offensive behaviors are brought into the light in a compassionate, clear, and specific way.

If bullies are fired without being told why and without coaching, they will go on to another company to bully in the exact same way and the cycle will continue. Why would the bully change if they don’t know there is a problem?

Be the Change. Be a Part of the Solution

Let us make this the year we take on this toxic issue of workplace bullying in a thoughtful and strategic way. May we share articles like this one and the workplace bullying survey results with our CEOs and HR leaders to be a part of the solution; to improve our workplace for new hires and for our daughters and sons.

Isn’t it time we figure out how to insist on company cultures of respect not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the smart thing to do? Isn’t it time that we find our voices to say once and for all, it’s over, enough is enough? The workplace is no place for bullies.

Resource: “Taming the Abrasive Manager” by Dr. Laura Crawshaw

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About Author

Bonnie Low-Kramen

Bonnie Low-Kramen is the Founder of Ultimate Assistant and is one of the most respected leaders in the administrative profession. The bestselling author of Be the Ultimate Assistant, she is known for her passionate commitment to being a catalyst for positive change in the global workplace. For 25 years, Bonnie worked as the Personal Assistant to Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis and now travels the world teaching and speaking. Bonnie co-hosts the monthly “Be the Ultimate Assistant Podcast” with Vickie Sokol Evans, available on iTunes. For more information: www.bonnielowkramen.com. Bonnie will be speaking at Executive Secretary LIVE in London 27-28 March, 2020. For further information and to book, visit www.executivesecretarylive.com

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