Tactics, The Bully Boss’s First Brutal Tactic
by ABC – AntiBullyingCrusador
Do you think you may be a “target” of a “workplace bully?” If so, you probably are and I would like to offer my congratulations! First I will explain how you can tell for sure, then I’ll explain why this can be thought of as a event to celebrate.
The most amazing thing about workplace bullies is the similarities of their tactics. I was so perplexed by this at first. As I met one bully after another through my first decade of employment, I came to realize that although the bullies I encountered, didn’t know each other, or have any other shared history, it seemed as though they did.
That’s a hallmark of a workplace bully, the similarities of their tactics. It seems as though these people are some how related to each other or went to a class to learn the art of workplace bullying. Once you know one bully and understand the “workplace bullying and mobbing phenomenon”, you’ll be prepared for the next one.
Targets usually come to the realization that they are being faced with a serious problem on their job, when the bully boss suddenly turns against them after an initial period of being very nice. One author described this as the “honeymoon phase”. Targets are often treated so nicely at first, that they feel favored. This tactic gives targets a false sense of security and potential with increasingly high expectations for the future on their job and with this boss. This first tactic or maybe I should say “attack”, is especially brutal for a number of reasons and intentionally made so by the bully.
The way serial bully bosses get to know their intended next targets are similar to how a serial killer stalks their intended next victim. Both the killer and the bully need to know their intended target/victim’s weaknesses. What are their vulnerabilities? How will the predator snare the prey into their traps. Bully bosses focus in on their intended target’s emotional vulnerabilities. They are expert at feigning shared values and encourage emotional intimacy. The unsuspecting target responds to this by sharing everything the bully needs to know to take them down.
This very first tactic is the most difficult for many. It was for me. Suddenly being turned against by someone you thought favored you is very confusing. Why would someone do that? It just doesn’t make sense. The pure insanity of the usually ridiculous accusations that these bully bosses come up with, are yet another hallmark of what targets can expect. Accusations are rarely related to the bottom line, which is productivity, or numbers of completed tasks and quality of those completed tasks. Instead, accusations are related to a target’s appearance, mannerisms and vague references to interactions with others. Examples or concrete evidence of real work deficiencies are rarely produced and when they are, are exaggerated, twisted and taken out of context. A bully boss will never tell a target who made the accusations because the accusations were never made!
In fact, any talk about the job performance of a target by others, is most likely very positive. I know this about targets because of what motivates bullies in the first place. Bullies are compelled to behave this way because of physical or emotional mental disorders. Some bullies have personality disorders, which are abnormal physical differences in their brains when compared to a normal brain. These physical abnormalities rob them of their empathy and their ability to think in ways that most of us do. Other bullies had harsh childhoods leaving them with feelings of inadequacy and shame. A subordinate’s good work performance will gain the attention of a bully who has fears that their own inadequacies will become more evident to others by the bases of comparison.
It’s amazing how consistent bullies are in this respect as well. They consistently choose the best people on their staff to target. Through the past few years I have read hundreds of emails, comments, and questions from targets of workplace bullies. The targets that I have interacted with, consistently and just about always, seem solid and intelligent in the way they express themselves. You would think that a web site about bully bosses would get all kinds of angry, disgruntled, stupid comments and responses. It has NEVER happened, can you believe it?
Bullies are also thought to feel satisfaction or some kind of pleasure when they elicit a troubled emotional response from their targets. If you think you detected a little smile on your bully’s face during a confrontation, you are right. The bully is literally happy that they were able to upset you.
It is not possible to reason with a bully about any of the issues or accusations that they make. It is not their intention to resolve issues. Their intention is to drag the target into battle with them in order to subjugate, control, then force them out of their jobs. No amount of effort on the target’s part will change the bully’s behavior.
Trying to work around the bully by reporting bullying behaviors to superiors or to Human Resources are also usually a wasted effort as the bully’s ability to convincingly deceive the perception of others is expert. The denial by their supporters is deep.
Workplace bullies are dangerous to the emotional and physical health of every target they choose. Whenever faced with danger it is always logical to put distance between you and the source of the danger. Whenever possible, the best advise is to QUIT THAT JOB !! But hold on just long enough to find yourself another job.
The best way to hang on to a job until better options are found is to NOT REACT to anything the bully says or does. This takes the joy and fun out of bullying. The second thing targets should be mindful of is being especially kind and helpful to coworkers. Never badmouth your bully boss. Instead, show concern and seem perplexed by bullying behaviors. It’s really tough for a bully boss to take down a well liked employee.
Lucky for you if your bully writes down a lot of their insanity in emails they send to you. Many bullies favor the use of email in which to harass their targets with. This is referred to as “cyber-bullying”. If your bully uses email, forward all of the emails to your home computer. On your home PC add in a comment section at the bottom, then document details of the incident that the email refers to. Doing this keeps things sane for me. Every time I look over the emails and my added comments, I validate to myself how real and how crazy this stuff is. Unfortunately, not many people have an understanding of how devastating workplace bullying can be but sharing some of these emails during an exit interview, may some how help someone. It would be even better though, if workplace bullying and mobbing became illegal. What could be better than the bully’s own written words to prove a case?
Once a target learns about the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing and understands that they were chosen by a bully because of what’s good about them, they can move on realizing how likely it is that they will find another job, with a boss who treats them with the respect that a person of their caliber deserves and should expect.
So to all new targets of workplace bullies, Congratulations in advance for your new positions and for being the very special people that you are. Sincerely, ABC