It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression. While bullying is a form of aggression, the actions can be both obvious and subtle.
It is important to note that the following is not a checklist, nor does it mention all forms of bullying.
I have received similar comments from other Fed readers in the past in response to articles I have written that may have touched on the subject, so I know that there are employees in a number of Federal agencies who feel they are being bullied.
I think the following guidance, adapted from Violence in the Workplace Prevention Guide, published in 2001 by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS), is worth a look whether you are a Federal manager, supervisor, or non-supervisory employee. Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could ‘mentally’ hurt or isolate a person in the workplace.
This list is included as a way of showing some of the ways bullying may happen in a workplace.
Also remember that bullying is usually considered to be a pattern of behavior where one or more incidents will help show that bullying is taking place.
While most employees who are bullied are unlikely to strike out at their perceived tormentors – in fact, they are more likely to absorb the bullying without saying anything to anyone – I can’t imagine anyone doing their best work when they are feeling bullied and humiliated and/or are fearful for their safety.
I would also suggest that they let employees know that bullying, like workplace violence and threats, will not be tolerated, and tell employees who feel they are being bullied to report it to management immediately. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Examples Include: It is sometimes hard to know if bullying is happening at the workplace.
Many studies acknowledge that there is a “fine line” between strong management and bullying.
I also ran across a November 7 Reuters article entitled “Bullies may get kick out of seeing others in pain.” In this one, University of Chicago “researchers compared eight boys ages 16 to 18 with aggressive conduct disorder to a group of eight adolescent boys with no unusual signs of aggression.” The article went on to state that, in the “aggressive teens, areas of the brain linked with feeling rewarded…became very active when they observed video clips of pain being inflicted on others.
But they showed little activity in an area of the brain involved in self-regulation…as was seen in the control group.” Researcher Benjamin Lahey noted that “It is entirely possible their brains are lighting in the way they are because they experience seeing pain in others as exciting and fun and pleasurable.” Lahey went on to say that “the differences between the two groups were strong and striking, but cautioned that the study was small and needs to be confirmed by a larger study.” How does all of this relate to the Federal workplace?