Is Bullying Ever Justified?
Is bullying ever justified? What do you think? Have a say and say why.
From a Discussion on Monash Uni Alumni LinkedIn group Started by Brian Monger – Early 2012
- Christine Fares • No… Bullying is always attached to an excuse or a number of excuses (i.e low productivity, wrong doing, etc.) made by the bully.. The bullied victim is convinced they made a mistake of some sort.. the bully normally suppresses the the bullied person and treat them inappropriately… What both parties do not understand is the fact that no one should be treated inappropriately regardless of their productivity level or behavior.. Bulling is not justifiable!
- Dr. Brian Monger • Bullying – Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants
- Fu Chen • Just to offer a different opinion. Bullies might be just another form of animal nature.In the animal kindom, individuals have to fight with each other for the power of control within the group. It is always the bigger , stronger ones to lead, while weaker ones have to suffer. Nowadays, animal nature of human being is supressed by moral and law. However, it is easy to go backward as it might be the most easy way to settel conflicts. Different levels of bullies can be found in workplace. Even well educated people would use their strengthness to bend others’ will. This could be achieved through physical or mental means. For example, getting a stronger body might help to achieve a better deal in business. Or using mean words could motivate others to follow instruction. If think further, using wealth to control people’s behaviour can be seen as an advanced form of bully as well. In this case, the difference is its easiness to accept by the victim.
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Hi Brian, bullying is a type of corporate harassment and can be expressed in a form of excessive over management, unfair critique of work, constant humiliation, intimidation and public downgrading of your skills and abilities, often causing loss of confidence, self esteem. It has psychological impact and as we are not in an animal world it can have adverse effects on productivity and personal development. It can never be justified and often those who demonstrate this behavior have been the victims of bullying bit perhaps never recovered due to not seeking help or counceling,
- Dr. Brian Monger • While understnading that bullying can be bad (everyone knows that). Can it not be used in a good way? For example against a bully – to stop them? Reasoning and being nice may not work in some cases
- Fu Chen Bully is a negative term. It is hard to change the perception of people that it could be used in good ways.
- Maybe a better way to address this would be settling conflicts or how to make people follow?
- Anna Lyubomirsky • I too think that being nice towards bullies as a way to make them understand is not a strong or effective way of counteracting bullying behaviour. After all many of them are psychologically effected. One has to have almost equiavalent direction of address towardss bullies but remain calm and reasonable in their arguments or case presentation – bullies are emotional and insecure so its important to target those areas when resisting and battling bullying. There must be a good degree of understanding of why and what the behavious is all about in order to develop the return strategies.
- Shama Kazmi • It really depends on the degree of bullying behaviour we are talking about. In my opinion, bullying in the typical understanding of the word is unacceptable. It destroys human relations, breaks the spirit and rarely does it benefit either party – the person bullying or the recipient.
- There are shades of grey in this issue though. Kids bullying their parents into getting them a favourite toy? Teenage girls bullying their mums to let them do things that will help them ‘fit in’ with their friends – getting a piercing, going out late at night, getting their hair dyed? An elderly boss bullying his junior staff into meeting particular performance targets… the bullying behaviour manifesting in a carrot-and-stick approach.
- Much turns on the context. I think it is important to define the sort of bullying we are talking about here…
- Dr. Brian Monger • Shama – how about countries trying to bully say Iran to stop their nuc. program?
Everything turns on situation and context I find.
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Political and economic bullying has always existed. Countries have done this throughout the history of mankind targetting weaker regions and attacking and conquering for gain and political power, often for oil, gas etcIts how we deal with everyday bullying at work, socially, organisations and schools. I thinks as discussed in other groups there are now platforms such as HR and other support services that would provide assistance and guidance in dealing with the bullying behaviour. The outcome however can be positive in terms of what the bully gets as a result of actions taken but at what cost does this occur? I agree that context and situation are important in the evaluation of behavious and actions needed to address them. Some may charge into a fist fight, direct conflict and some may take up a more strategic approach.
- Karen Price • Bullying- Who does it? Just read an interesting article by Prof Gordon Parker on Personality Disorders and how most often they are very unamenable to treatment or insight led actions. There is a qualitative difference in personality “style” vs “disorder”.
Anyway just going along with rarely being able to reason with an INTENTIONAL bully. Some may well have very difficult personalities that have been actioned upon by both nature AND nurture to produce the sort of person we know to cuase mayhem in our families or workplaces. These people are not able to be contextural so will exhibit dysfucntional behaviours across most situations. Those with just a personality “style” however who are less effected may be able to modify responses in the right context. Prof Gordon Parker remains puzzled by his inability to pick the sociopath who of course can be charming and who exists throughout the business world. He remains challenged by this. I have been less academic than the esteemed prof of Psychiatry and used the term “wolf in sheeps clothing” a more visual metaphor for my patients. They like myself and Gordon Parker bemoan our inability to pick this wold out of the docile and lovely sheep we might meet. I now console myself with the knowledge that these wolves are indeed cunning and charming on initial greet and meet, but the seductive vortex is quickly deduced by a lack of boundaries an over familiarity and then feeling like you are in a twilight zone or feeling like you are being “recruited.”
Sorry for such a long winded medical perspective but I am not sure there is anyway to handle a bully other than zero tolerance and strict and swift structural policy practices. Early and willing identification by an organisation or group very important.
And the definition of a bully other than the persuasive things we all do to get other people to do our bidding. I think it comes down to Annas reply where the receiver of the bullying action is made to feel in some way demeaned, humiliated, excluded shamed, and belittled.
I never felt that way when my kids coerced me into a toy or a treat. I just felt either tired or a pussycat parent or like a big and willing softie!!!
- Karen Price • So NO bullying is never justified at an individual level.
Is Iran a threatening bullying nation?? What are the possible range of responses given the low likelihood of a diplomatic solution? Are sanctions part of the larger world view of structural policy and procedures enacted swiftly by a zero tolerance world. Assuming that the world is MOSTLY zero tolerant of the use of nuclear weaponry?
How to live in a peaceful world ????? Anyone???? 😀
- Shama Kazmi • How to live in a peaceful world – a topic that probably warrants a thread of its own!
These are my ideas for achieving peace in this world, just speaking generally:
1. Recognise that you/ your organisation/ your nation has inherent shortcomings/ weaknesses.
2. Be aware that you also have your strengths…
3. Work on maximising your strengths and be realistic about your shortcomings. Be aware, be sentient, be sensitive…
4. Cooperate, forgive, analyse, evaluate and reevaluate, review and work on realistic, practical goals.
5. Communicate. Reflect – remember that the greatest voyage in life is the journey within.
6. Use your strengths in a positive way. Help others to achieve their goals, save lives, benefit communities, go out of your way for the underprivileged, encourage science and the arts, teach children to read and maximise their opportunities.
Use your weaknesses in a positive way. Learn from them, change your set perspectives which have led to stagnation and lack of progress/ growth. Grow, develop and move forward!
Of course the above ideas are more of a sort of noble aspiration than something that can always be applied in the real world. Realpolitick and economic constraints mean that people will always be influenced to act as per the needs of their goals/ organisations. I do wish for a world where there could be peace and happiness though! And the place to start would be to look within ourselves! Sorry if I’ve wandered too far off the topic.
- Karen Price • Love it Sharmi!
That is a worthy and beautiful vision and I think a lot of people fortunately aspire to it.
I am singing ” to dream the impossible dream” (and I do love that song)
Is it mans nature to be aggressive in collecting tokens for his nest to attract a mate.
Also known as capitalistic greed?????
(Really tilting at the windmills now!!)
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Karen – you are so right!!! I loved the comments. The Peaceful world is
Utopia and I do not believe we will ever see this sort of a world – sorry I
am a sceptic! Was it George Orwell who tried to demonstrate Utopia but at
what cost – loss of freedom, freedom of speech etc. Communism propagated by
Lenin during the Russian revolution using Marx’s model was Utopia/ideal
socio-economic world but if Karl Marx knew what was happening he would
have climbed out of his coffin!!!
I love your definition of a bully “ personality style” LOL!! There is a
clear emergence of psychopaths in the professional world (and may be social
one as well but we have more choice who we hang around with outside work
hours), it’s a style of my way or highway – I was recently told that I was
arguing with my boss but I was simply in my opinion presenting my point of
view of why things happened the way they did. She kept saying I was arguing
and did not understand… I said that I want to be understood too and that I
had the right to express my point of view which happened to be contrary to
hers. I do not consider this bullying but she has the tendencies and traits
of that nature. It’s a definite disorder that is widespread like an
epidemic and we need medical urgent measures -Karen?? LOL!
- Dr. Brian Monger • So – Scenario 1:
Bunch of people being bullied by couple of thugs – say at a high school.
Teachers don’t notice and it continues. Should Handsome Harry step forward and tell the thugs to knock it off – OR ELSE?
Scenario 2: LOL (Little old lady) being pressured and threatened. Should Tradie Tarzan next door intervene and threaten to thump the pressurer unless he decamps immediately?
- Anna Lyubomirsky • I would love to say yes to both scenarios and perhaps its an option that should be used in conjunction with direct approach to the authorities and address the school etc.
Karen Price • anna You are quick
in an ideal world
but that would be because they recognise bullying for waht it is and have a sense of social responisbility because they were brought up by parents who had some kind of social conscience and gave their child the ability to think outside of the group. That is be an individual. When they disciplined their child or Harry or the tradie they did it in a respectuful sense where juniors behaviour was the problem and then they modelled themselves non bullying means of interacting with the world. Sometimes I think Bullying would be a lot less if SOME FATHERS did not resort to military style of parenting , left over from our war culture I think. Ie Do it OR ELSE BLAH!!!Add a comment…
- Dr. Brian Monger • I am a fan of more social intervention in public places. Yes I know you could get hurt – but if it was the expected response (on trains for example) that photos were taken, calls made and as required actual intervention, then there would be less problems.
Thugs etc do it because they think/know they can get away with it.
German trains (at least at one time) were clean because if you dropped rubbish, several people would bully you into picking it up.
I have really hated bullies all my life and just about always intervened. I am getting too old to do this now but… well I guess I am going to get hurt.
- Dr. Brian Monger • The helping others and intervening was a result of what my soldier father taught me was the right thing to do.
- Karen Price • If the link doesnt work, look up todays The Conversation a Melb uni publication I think
- Not all military fathers parented that way Brian. 😀
Its just that Fathering skills rarely get talked about and I see some pretty poor ones that mothers despair over and kids suffer from and its usually the very rigid authoritarian stuff they default too. Particularly useless and damaging with adolescents
although psychology still seems particularly keen to “blame” mothers, better though than in the 1960’s I think……
- Dr. Brian Monger • I have a perception that for quite a while there has been a greater permissiveness with kids – less discipline?
You probably know my perception from the comments I make about the little B’s one often encounters at say the supermarket. Or older ones in a uni tute? (not you Mersi)
- Karen Price • should bullying become a crime???
I just read another interesting article on the trial of charles Taylor war crimes trial and how historic it is that crimes against women and girls are included. (one might ask why not before???)
Anyway given that this is supremely bullying behaviour…. when does the “stuff” we consider bullying become criminal behaviour? Is the intent the same???
- Dr. Brian Monger • When it becomes assault – which is more than physical assault.
- Karen Price • When is bullying NOT an assault??
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Its a psychological assault and cannot be proven easily unfortunately and hence are not criminal actions, but can be put for consideration to HR and legal etc if warranted enough. When it starts to be physically offensive (that is subject to definition too), it can be constituted as assault and then criminal charges laid.
Mersi Halilovic • Good point Anna. The psychological torment that leads to depression and sadly suicide is what cannot be proven easily and is overlooked. Interesting that many criminals have successfully defended their inhumane and brutal actions against humanity on the basis of insanity, depression and other psychological illnesses…
Also, the psychological and emotional bullying can affect the victim to the extent that they are not willing to come forward and report the culprit.
- Anna Lyubomirsky• True – a lot of bullies do not put anything in writing and are very clever at the pursuit of intimidation and emotional harassment.Dr. Brian Monger • Not an assault? – no threats of violence? You did ask about it being a crime?
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Yes if its a clear threat to do violence – having witnesses would be wise…difficult to prove otherwise ( a friend of mine went through this for a long time until she was able to prove it)
- Mersi Halilovic • Another part of the problem is that many people, moi including, struggle to admit that they are a victim of bullying because that ultimately means admitting that we are different and do not fit the ‘social norm’ (some of us are proud of not fitting the social norm but so many of us are desperate to belong and to be accepted) and that we were not strong enough to withstand this sort of treatment.
- Vanessa – How is this even a question?
- Dr. Brian Monger • Well Vanessa, its got a question mark. It is an invitation to think about it and comment.
You think there is no range of opinions or ideas possible? Or ..what is it you are suggesting?
- Dr. Brian Monger • When we seek to protect someone, something, from someone else – how do we stop ourselves becoming the new bully?
Mersi Halilovic • Good point Vivien, I am sure that individuals or even perhaps society at large may deem such women as intimidating. We still live in a very sexist society and I am sure that Clinton is regarded as powerful,inspiring and admirable whereas strong women who fight for a cause like Hillary are considered intimidating and condescending.
- Dr. Brian Monger • I will bet that someone like Hillary Clinton (MorF) is a hard person when they want to get something.
Reality – the meek will not inherit the earth
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Hilary’s leadership must be seen through the eyes of her subordunates, people she works closely with and I am in no doubt that she is wilful, determined, and intimidating to many, but would she as a people’s leader emply deliberate tactics of harassment and psychological pressure? As a world leader and woman of great causes she is regarded as Merci said before and that is vital to get her causes and actions across – we know that. That is just the issue of your personality/behaviour vs your prefessional approach and leadership again. I found myself also being hard and perhaps intimidating to some when you are on hold for hours waiting for a service centre to answer, or you have come to exchange something and they make you write 1000s of docs like you are a security risk, so many things make us display our assertiveness and I guess if Hilary can do it then so can we! Is it a form of bullying in order to get something done?
- Mersi Halilovic • Hm Anna, that is a bloody good point…and question! Is assertiveness a form of bullying? I never looked at it that way. The examples that you gave make this a tricky question to answer. I would say, yes it is a form of bullying. But, given your examples where you are emotionally involved ie frustrated and you perceive yourself the victim in that particular scenario, are you defensive or offensive aka a bully?
I think that we all have a bully in us when it comes to assertiveness and some people do require a bit of extra motivation to get the most simple of tasks done, but there are levels of bullying.
- Dr. Brian Monger • Ah – the thinking behind the original question.
Yet we had some others just say “No” – the expected answer.
- Mersi Halilovic • Brian, am I a bad person by tentatively saying ‘yes’ in certain situations, although I choose to redefine the behaviour?
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Very much so – there are levels and borderlines to bullying. I personally think that being assertive is not bullying and as we know bullies are insecure and often are unstable and need to dominate. I am assertive and strong (at times but ssometimes get sick of being pushed around) but I am not a bully and will identify one when one appears to display those qualities. It is a fine line and subject to personaly and values. I often help the underdogs at work who cannot organise themselves to produce something – so get them started because it increases their confidence. Those managers/leaders who deliberately isolate and disengage their staff and do not aknowledge their successes are also bullies – its just a different type of humilation, outcasting and intimidation.
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Brian – you are a magician by extracting the darkest thoughts from us that stimulate the discussion and ourselves.
Merci – I do the same … and cannot say NO when I should. is there a pill for that?
- Dr. Brian Monger • Mersi – you are certainly not a “bad person”.
In Asia “Yes” does not necesarily mean “I agree” It could mean – “Yes I hear what you are saying”
- Mersi Halilovic • Phew, thanks Brian! 🙂
I think I am saying ‘yes’ in a way, because my interpretation of bullying is a bit more complex and more encompassing than that of others.
- Karen Price • Ideally I do not agree that bullying is acceptable in “certain circumstances”. Assertiveness and forceful defence are entirely different matters. I believe it is the intent rather than the action that needs to be considered. If the intent is to humiliate, belittle, inhibit then that is bullying and not the most functional response. Physically maybe it is akin to intentional torture. If the requirement is that you shoot your enemy before they shoot you or others that is a different intent. (A defensive intent but violent nevertheless) Being assertive and not accepting bad behaviour or intimidation by another with forceful rebuttal is not bullying.
- Vivien Gardiner • Something I ponder often: let’s consider the converse. There is a particular Western cultural development which has burgeoned in many European countries since the Second World War (and is now apparent in Australia) which tends to celebrate victimhood. In Australia, we often embrace it as barracking for The Underdog and it now permeates most aspects of social and political discourse. Paradoxically, this necessitates the growth of a “human rights” industry which itself often bullies and harasses, depending on which side of the ledger you stand.
In the Asian societies I’m familiar with, what we would often describe as bullying is perceived as strength. Paternalism is welcomed. Submission to “bullying” is considered pious, even though to us it might appear as subservience.
I agree with you Anna: it has much to do with the underlying motivation (often difficult to discern at first), delivery and timing. However, I’ve often found those who disguise their insecurity by being abrasive, rude and uncooperative will soften considerably when responded to with respect and dignity. Sometimes the most collaborative and rewarding relationships can result from a tempestuous beginning. I always find encountering bullies makes me more self-aware, more resilient. It helps develop my own thinking and be conscious of modifying my own impulses when engaging with others.
Sexual harassment is a whole other can of worms, so to speak.
- Dr. Brian Monger • Karen – I am all for the concept of ideal – but I don’t think we are even going to get improvement unless we better understand the concepts better.
Really, while it is part of the right process, in some circumstances being assertive is not going to fix the problem
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Very interesting comments Vivien. Self-awareness and self-resilience are
definitely sharpened when dealing with a bully but what about autocratic
management – one that is so old fashioned, by delegation only, no
nurturing or engagement, one that never celebrates successes but only picks
on errors and hurdles and one that has to be one way – theirs. Is that a
form of bullying? Its reverting back to our discussion on leadership… As
you say Vivien some societies do not tolerate weak behaviour and lack of
assertiveness and encourage what we would sometimes call aggressive
professional behaviour and lack of tolerance – eg. Japan.
- Mersi Halilovic • Karen, what you are saying makes sense in terms of the intent of assertive and forceful behaviour. However, bullying can still occur even if the intent wasn’t there. If you are forceful in your communication and offend or upset people, that is bullying. It doesn’t matter what the intent was.
- Karen Price • Hmm then we are at the mercy of other peoples perceptions Mersi? I do not entirely agree with that. If an assertive woman is called bullying (but not often an asserive man as that is gender appropriate) do we fine her and call her in for remediation. I agree with Vivienne that there is an interpersonal skilled approach required. Human beings are constantly misunderstanding and misunderstood with no evil intent necessarily. Conflict resolution and good policy and procedure in the workplace help provide a lighted path who dont possess Good EQ themselves.
Being assertive doesnt always fix the problem Brain thats why I mentioned carrying a gun.
- Vivien Gardiner • Many moons ago, when I was an Operating Room nurse, I used to have surgeons screaming and shouting and throwing instruments at me. I would sometimes observe – with amazement – a senior and experienced nurse approach, look the surgeon in the eye (nothing like a face-mask to intensify the death stare, lol) and say in a calm but firm (aka assertive) tone something along the lines of: “When you have finished throwing your tantrum Doctor, and decide to behave like an adult, we will be able to proceed with the surgery in the best interests of the patient and all involved in their care”. We underlings would of course be in awe of person who had stood up to the bullying, so when the surgeon tried to raise hell in admin, he would find himself without any support.
Those who stand up to bullies (without resorting to bullying themselves) win much political support and many friends.
Of course, the “career line” vs “staff” aspect is a mitigating factor. Karen, your senior colleagues might have had to deal with arrogance and pomposity in the hospitals quite differently.
- Karen Price • Yes Vivienne power does corrupt some. There are shining examples of leaders who did not succumb due to robust psychological strength and an integrated adult personality. These are the leaders I remember fondly. Your senior nurse was spot on. If I had done speciality training I would have kept my mouth shut more which I am not good at by the way. There were surgeons I remember who threw instruments and were pathetically immature. I remember even as an intern taking him on with humour at his attempt to intimidate me and he never attacked me again. Alas it was not so good for my very timid registrar. Awful stuff. Worse were orthopedic surgeons some of whom back then were misogynistic and that was actually more difficult as the discrimination was more subtle. I did complain nevertheless to the admin about that but I didnt have to worry about getting a job in that speciality training program. My friend who wanted to do Paediatrics got sick of being asked what school she went to and what her parents did and gave up. More difficult than outright aggression is the passive and behind the scenes undermining which becomes impossible to confront and at the time seems petty, but overall is a more insididious form of bullying which women/girls particularly seem to excel at, sadly. Yes just said something gender biased.
- Dr. Brian Monger • Vivien – At Cabrini they don’t put up with much of that – they have a waiting list of surgeons to fill any gaps.
Still not perfect though
Vivien – you are so right. There are so many righteous people who do not
tolerate other people’s opinions or views, and they use these tactics that
you would think were passed onto them through 10 commandments by Moses and
we all have to abide, agree etc. I deal with such people all the time and I
am starting to crumble because it takes so much resilience and energy to
deal with them, that I am beginning to think (may be because I am sick with
flu) that self-preservation is more important. People in power use the
empowerment in the wrong way and sometimes it’s hard to keep fighting it
- Mersi Halilovic • Karen,
I think we always are at the mercy of other people’s perception, that is the reality which makes everything quite complicated.
- Dr. Brian Monger • And what is perceived by one as reasonable and assertive behaviour can be perceived by others as too much – and being a bit bullying.
- Dr. Brian Monger • Perfect communication is not possible – even good communication is hard
- Dr. Brian Monger • As per the message of the “Should women behave..” discussion. The key to dealing with bullying is to have a set of good behavioural tools that you can work with.
And – recognising that everything is situation/context specific – and all behaviour is on a continuum.
Bullying is not one single activity.
- Dr. Brian Monger • In novels and film we seen to appreciate the “morally abiguous” characters – but we cut little such slack in the real world.
Be slow to find fault and quicker to accept.
We need to understand things more – and in greater depth before we take a hardline stance on things I think
- Karen Price • Well said Brian. a toelrant understanding world.
- Mersi Halilovic • Agree with Karen, well said Brian!
“Be slow to find fault and quicker to accept”- I really like this.
- Vivien Gardiner • The morally ambiguous character was a fashionable element of post-structuralism, but perhaps less so these days? Any theories anyone?
IMHO, too much emphasis on tolerance and understanding creates a space for the rise of the intolerant and unjust. We must be vigilant about upholding our values and ethics lest they morph into something more sinister. It was social pacifism in post-WW1 Germany which allowed Nazism to flourish, remember?
- Dr. Brian Monger • Vivien, good thoughts (vigilant about upholding our values and ethics) – but Germany post WWI had a lot of social and political violence- Sparticists; Frei Corps Beer Hall Putsch
1930 – Communists V Nazis and others
Modern morally ambiguous antiheros that come to mind – Jack Sparrow; Batman; The Crow. Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen (Deadwood) Cromwell (Bring up the Dead) Tony Soprano; The Crow
- Dr. Brian Monger • At one time I used to punctuate lecxtures with pics of polar bears. Everyone kept watching (not playing with their phones) in case they missed one..
Someone said they liked the bears and I said I had all the polar bear porn – didn’t go down well.
Like the time I showed a class the whip I bought in Argentina. Told them it was a motivational tool.
- Dr. Brian Monger • Laura Croft; Catherine the Great; the crazy homocidal woman in the Luther TV series 9I like her) come immediately to mind.
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Marie-Antoinette, Joan of Arc, Marie Currie, Golda Meyer, Indira Ghandi,
Katherine Hepburn, George Sands, Camile Claudel ….
- Mersi Halilovic • My list includes: Marie-Antoinette (my obsession…probably my past life 😛 ), Catherine Medici, Joan of Arc, Ida Dalser, ‘Samantha Jones’, Boutica (unsure of proper spelling)
- Charbel Yamouni • No, bullying is never justified; it not only belittles a resource it creates a toxic environment. Positive culture must be endorsed and led by the organisations executives ensuring bullying and harassment will not be tolerated.
I believe bullying or harassment will drive the project to be unsuccessful or alternatively when handed over to operations (BAU) it creates major issues in realising the projects benefits.
Bullying can possibly lead to depression which has its own implications; people need to be accountable for other people’s happiness in ensuring bullying is non-existent!
- Dr. Brian Monger • No doubts at all Charbel? No shades of grey suggest themselves? Did you read any of the previous inputs?
I know that there is a lot of social chatter here so let me put in some earlier thoughts:
When we seek to protect someone, something, from someone else – how do we stop ourselves becoming the new bully?
There are shades of grey in this issue though. Kids bullying their parents into getting them a favourite toy? Teenage girls bullying their mums to let them do things that will help them ‘fit in’ with their friends – getting a piercing, going out late at night, getting their hair dyed? An elderly boss bullying his junior staff into meeting particular performance targets… the bullying behaviour manifesting in a carrot-and-stick approach.
how about countries trying to bully say Iran to stop their nuc. program?
Everything turns on situation and context I find.
- Dr. Brian Monger • Pushing people to help them realize their full potential isn’t always enjoyed by the pushed, (which in some cases can be described as bullying)
- George Stevenson • What do you do when an employee neglects elemnts of their job or is excessively slow and unproductive. If you try the softly softly approach and it does not work you have 2 choices; be more agrressive or rehire. Our employment rules and those of some of our Asian neighbours dont look favourably on firing without excessive counseling. Is taking an aggressive stance bullying?
We critiscise our educators and parents for raising our kids wrapped up in cotton wool, are we then responsible for making them more susceptible to bullies?
- Vivien Gardiner • Good input George. I also wonder at times if our culture of “victimhood” is massaged too frequently. I have no experience of employing in Asia, but here our current workplace laws require disproportionate support for unproductive and problematic staff who cry “bully” whenever the topic is broached. Troublemakers are quick to exploit this and can create havoc in a workplace.
Having said that, I think one can be firm without being aggressive. If the situation becomes untenable then the poisoned fruit must be jettisoned for the health of the whole, even if that is a disaster for that individual apple.
Agreed, our kids need to learn strategies for coping with unpleasant individuals and situations.
- Dr. Brian Monger • Good comments Vivien.
Bullies thrive when there is no effective ways to deal with them.
I used to be fond of RUNM – rolled up newspaper model 🙂
- Dr. Brian Monger • Mind you RUNM only useful in person to person situations – Being bullied by an institution – like a university or govt dept needs other methods.
Vivien Gardiner • I have great respect for the RUNM, having been at the receiving end often when my father was cross 🙂 Institutions are another matter indeed, but there are always like minds around. I’s just a matter of locating them and finding safety in numbers.
- Dr. Brian Monger • Only once did I hit one of my kids. I saw that as a failure for me. Only rarely have I ever had to use force in any situation. But most folk knew it was one of my options.
The best strategy is to win without having to actually implement force. But the threat is also a form of bullying.
- Mersi Halilovic • I can see where George is coming from, which is why I said previously that perhaps bullying is sometimes justified…I think…I know that a number of us, expressed some politically incorrect opinions.
I too fear that we are creating a culture of out of control, precious and cocooned children. You said that we “critiscise our educators and parents for raising our kids wrapped up in cotton wool, are we then responsible for making them more susceptible to bullies?”…there is a study that show that it is these overly protected and precious kids that become the bullies because the belief that they are precious, better and can do no wrong is instilled in them from very early on. I think that these same kids are the one who do bugger all at work and a lot of time get away with it, because we live in a society that frowns upon pretty much every disciplinary action and everything becomes discriminatory
- Dr. Brian Monger • Good thoughts Mersi.
Just imagine a teacher not handling their class as if they were not precious and wrapped in cotton wool? 🙂 LOL!
- Mersi Halilovic • I was brought up with respect for authorities, including teachers and the police. I would never ever EVER dare speak to teachers and police the way I have seen young adults and school children speak. In countries where the children have stricter upbringing and are taught the meaning of respect you do not hear of suicidal and depressed teachers who are forced to quit their jobs because they cannot handle the abuse.
- Anna Lyubomirsky • Hi George,
may be the emplyee in question needs more training, one on one support and skill management, developmental strategy, job rotation, Is there a reason for his/her lack of productivity? A soft approach may not be appropriate but a cut-throat one of being aggressive or get rid of them may not be that good for morale, the fact that the organisation has invested time, effort and resources for recruiting that person and more insight in needed as to why elements of their job are being neglected – lack of ability, skill, overload of work…I do not believe in wrapping anyone in cotton wool but black and white solutions are old school management I think…
- Dr. Brian Monger • Bullies succeed because they can.
“Victims” need “effective” mechanisms to deal with it.
- Dr. Brian Monger • Mersi – I agree.
It is a matter of civic and social respect.
I think there would be little need to have to think about paying teachers more if the job was not so difficult.
Mind you, I think teachers were at the forefront of promoting “accepting behaviour”.