- The Screaming Mimi controls by intimidation, belittling workers with insults, finger pointing and threats of violence.
The Constant Critic finds fault with colleagues' work, then plays the role of chiding parent to officemates.
The Two-Headed Snake is a passive-aggressive Jekyll and Hyde character who cheerfully goes for drinks with colleagues one day and then trashes their reputations in front of higher-ups the next.
The Gatekeeper sabotages co-workers by holding back money, office supplies and vital e-mails.
Adult bullies, like their schoolyard counterparts, tend to be insecure people with ineffective social skills and little empathy. Instead of attempting to grow more self confident themselves, they turn their insecurities and fear of being recognized as incompetent outwards, finding satisfaction in their ability to attack and diminish the capable people around them. And it's not an overnight one time stab. It's a slow cooker poke, poke, poke. A workplace bully subjects the target to unjustified criticism and trivial fault-finding, often without anyone else around to observe the crazymaking behaviour. This can include isolating, ignoring, or humiliating their target. Sometimes it occurs in front of others, like a dismissal.........a non verbal wave of a hand at a meeting, or an interuption with a tone of voice that shrills in condesention.
Different expectations and rules around managing and monitoring work are also an indication that a colleague (or perhaps yourself) is being treated unfairly. If the bully is the target's superior, he or she may: set the target up for failure by setting unrealistic goals or deadlines, or denying necessary information and resources; either overload the target with work or take all work away (sometimes replacing proper work with demeaning jobs); or increase responsibility while removing authority. No matter what, it's an unrelenting unpredictable roller coaster where power is abused and used to undermine another person's spirit.
Falsely accused someone of "errors" not actually made (71 percent).
Stared, glared, was nonverbally intimidating and was clearly showing hostility (68 percent).
Discounted the person's thoughts or feelings ("oh, that's silly") in meetings (64 percent).
Used the "silent treatment" to "ice out" and separate from others (64 percent).
Exhibited presumably uncontrollable mood swings in front of the group (61 percent).
Made up own rules on the fly that even she/he did not follow (61 percent).
Disregarded satisfactory or exemplary quality of completed work despite evidence (58 percent).
Harshly and constantly criticized having a different standard for the target (57 percent).
Started, or failed to stop, destructive rumors or gossip about the person (56 percent).
Encouraged people to turn against the person being tormented (55 percent).
Singled out and isolated one person from coworkers, either socially or physically (54 percent).
Publicly displayed "gross," undignified, but not illegal, behavior (53 percent).
Yelled, screamed, threw tantrums in front of others to humiliate a person (53 percent).
Stole credit for work done by others (47 percent).
Abused the evaluation process by lying about the person's performance (46 percent).
Declared target "insubordinate" for failing to follow arbitrary commands (46 percent).
Used confidential information about a person to humiliate privately or publicly (45 percent).
Retaliated against the person after a complaint was filed (45 percent).
Made verbal put-downs/insults based on gender, race, accent or language, disability (44 percent).
Assigned undesirable work as punishment (44 percent).
Created unrealistic demands (workload, deadlines, duties) for person singled out (44 percent).
Launched a baseless campaign to oust the person; effort not stopped by the employer (43 percent).
Encouraged the person to quit or transfer rather than to face more mistreatment (43 percent).
Sabotaged the person's contribution to a team goal and reward (41 percent).
Ensured failure of person's project by not performing required tasks, such as sign-offs, taking calls, working with collaborators (40 percent)
Looked at separately, this behaviour on this list seems minor. But when it happens over and over again, and one tactic is combined with a couple of others, it leaves the targetted individual feeling a sense of dis-equlibrium. It impacts everything from their confidence in working independently on a task without the ability to rely on their own judgement to how they feel others on the periphery of the toxic relationship are perceiving them.
Very quickly, the bullied person feels isolated and unsure of herself.......incapable of working at her capacity, and obsessed with her thoughts about how she is being treated. Trust slips away......... And because the tactics are so nebulous, there is little chance to legally deal with the situation. It is a passive-aggressive mess that is difficult to prove despite an armload of stories and examples. Consequently, the majority of people found in this situation usually move onto another work environment, sometimes leaving behind a job that they love. The bully carries on, simply finding a new target...........
How fair is that?