Whatever their methods, each bully has the same aim when they commence a campaign of workplace bullying: to remove power from the colleague they are targeting and retain that control for themselves.
Bullies do this by trying to limit the behavioural choices open to the target at the time of an attack. The bully wants the target to feel so anxious that they don’t fight back, leaving the bully fully in charge of the interaction between them.
If a bully can successfully do that, they are well on the way to introducing a bullying dynamic into the relationship whereby they use coercive behaviour to keep themselves in control, while the target’s anxiety keeps them on the back foot.
Here are five key contexts for the decision to bully:
However, the good news that every target needs to hear is that a clean and clear expression of choice by the target at the time of an attack will alter the bullying dynamic in their favour.
Even if their options are limited, targets have some choices open to them in the moment of an attack. It’s what the target says and does in the moment of being bullied that interrupts or maintains the bullying dynamic, and that is where their true power lies.
A clean, clear expression of choice results in the bully relinquishing some degree of control and going onto the back foot so that the balance of power between the target and the bully alters in the favour of the target, sometimes sufficiently, sometimes decisively.
Learning how to use the influence available to them under pressure is a key goal for people vulnerable to workplace bullying. Learn how by:
- Accessing free downloads on how to detoxify, recover from and combat workplace bullying from oadeassociates.com/downloads
- Reading my latest bestselling book Free Yourself from Workplace Bullying: Become Bully-Proof and Regain Control of Your Life (Mint Hall Publishing, £21.99)