There are NO bystanders. NO-ONE can claim innocence or that it’s “not my problem”. Here is one place where things really are black and white. If you do nothing to help the victim, YOU ARE HELPING THE ABUSER.
When I was targeted, out of 70+ faculty in my department, wanna know how many people stood up for me? TWO. And one of them was me. A few others made a feeble effort, but they did nothing that would, in any way, risk anything they personally had. I had often taken risks for them, but they were unwilling to do the same for me. Most ultimately turned on me (that’s where the mobbing part comes in). Those with principles have left the department (any time you see a high staff turnover you KNOW there is something going on). All that’s left there now is people whose principles and integrity are weak at best and compromised beyond repair at worst. A few never had any in the first place.
One study by John Medina showed that workers stressed by bullying performed 50% worse on cognitive tests. Other studies estimate the financial costs of bullying at more than $200 billion per year.
They found that employees who had managers who were incompetent, inconsiderate, secretive and uncommunicative, the employees were 60% more likely to suffer a heart attack or other life-threatening cardiac condition. By contrast, employees who worked with “good” leaders were 40% less likely to suffer heart problems.
A 2008 meta-analysis of the connection between health and leadership by Jana Kuoppala and associates concluded that good leadership was associated with a 27% reduction in sick leave and a 46% reduction in disability pensions.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the targets of office bullies are not the new, inexperienced and less confident employees. The targets, according to research, are the highly competent, accomplished, experienced and popular employees.
So, in a sick and perverted way, becoming the target of a bully is a compliment.
By putting so much effort into making your life miserable, they are actually acknowledging that you are better than they are (of course, in some cases, almost EVERYONE is better than they are).
The people who are never noticed by the bully? You are seen to be insignificant – unimportant. In some ways, that would be worse.
Note: My next post will be my 200th. Cool.