Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Evelina Silveira, President Diversity at Work
One day lying in bed, a light bulb went on for me. Workplace bullies often struggle with the same issues as people who abuse their partners: anger management and poor communication skills. Alas, I realized that I had found the solution based on my previous experience as a Group Counsellor for a male batterer program.
I have developed a program for workplace bullies based on what I have learned from teaching anger management and communication skills to court-mandated clients who had domestic abuse charges.
Over the last 3 years, the demands for this service have escalated due to increasing awareness as well as protective legislation. People often ask me, what are they like?
I work with a very specific client group. Almost always, the workplace bully meets with me after an investigation. The bully employee has expert knowledge in their field and is highly valuable to the organization, thus losing them would have adverse financial effects on the workplace. The cost of my training is a bargain in comparison to losing an irreplaceable employee.
Usually, my clients are hard-working and good at what they do. But there are some definite characteristics which have rung true in almost every situation.
They are loyal employees. Bullies care about their workplaces and get angry when others do not care about it the way they do. These are the individuals who will “do things by the book.” Their rigidity means they like order and get upset when others deviate from it.
They have low self-esteem. Their opinion of themselves gets elevated when they intimidate others, especially if the other person complies with their wishes. Otherwise, they tend to be unhappy in their own skin. Most will disclose their family of origin was strict or conversely their parents felt they “could do no wrong.”
They do not take criticism easily. Workplace bullies take criticism extremely hard –especially the ones I deal with who excel at their given jobs. They can become defensive and tune out what the other person is saying. With a tendency to be selective listeners, bullies may hyper-focus on the negative or exaggerate the criticism.
They have poor self-care. Many of my clients will talk about a dependency on alcohol or substances. Others will medicate themselves with food. Poor self-care often translates into them working lots of unpaid over-time or not taking vacation. Constantly obsessing about work, bullies are worried about how the company will operate without them when they are away.
If you know an employee who needs to learn better ways of managing their anger and develop positive interpersonal skills, please contact me at: 519-659-4777 or Evelina@yourdiversityatwork.com. Learn more about this program at https://www.diversityatworkcommunications.com/sensitivity. Sign up for our promotions. Sessions usually take place face-to-face, however, online training is available upon request.