In a big company it is clear that you can avoid toxic people (sadly they do exist) unless you work very closely with them. Your work environment can become unnecessarily unpleasant, which it should never be. Toxic workers engender conflict. It is what they want, that is what makes them thrive, because they have a single personal goal and that is to get rid of you. They want you gone because you have in some banal way upset their personal status-quo in the office, especially if you have challenged them or doubt their value in any shape or form. They are generally less then interesting people that often feel that they are, or should be, superior to you. It is widely known that they are in the main control freaks, possibly in a dead-end job and are frustrated by their inability to dominate you as an individual. This irks them to the point that it manifests itself in an innate, uncontrollable struggle within themselves to gain a dominance over you. They rally others to their aid through many manipulative and subversive ways; both openly and in secret. The new word for this is ‘Mobbing’.
A lot of people who have never experienced or seen a mobbing situation really do not understand what this topic is all about, nor can they understand why this actually happens. Nice people cannot comprehend why anyone would verbally attack, insult and menace co-workers, because for them it makes no sense. Well it does not make sense because it is the office and not a life-or-death situation, nor is it the 100,000 Euro Koh-Lanta challenge? Mobbing situations are simply either personal dislikes (sometimes incompatible human chemistry) that cannot be overcome especially when it involves simple work related tasks and other banal aspects of daily working life.
Mobbing generally starts with the mobber’s accusation that you are ‘going behind their back’ in some work aspect, which could be a simple not CC’ing them in an email, to speaking to one of their subordinates without letting them know what the conversation is about. The control freak in them is disturbed and if you do not cede then they start to up-the mobbing-anti – AND if you still fail to cede to their ways then it becomes an all out war for them.
The perpetrators of this work bullying habit often consider themselves perfect and are narcissistically blameless if confronted. ‘IF’ is a big word in this case, because this is a subject that most people cannot easily confront. When it is an adult to child situation i.e. school bullying … there is intervention and the situation can be sorted out. NOT when it comes to adult to adult bullying. This is where people have a hard time dealing with this kind of situation hence its meteoric rise in the work-place.
There are plenty of workplace bullying cases with a lot of explanation for the problem, but little in terms of solution as can be seen from the reams of data on the WWW covering such people-v-people situations.
Extract from Wikipedia – British anti-bullying researchers Andrea Adams and Tim Field have used the expression “workplace bullying” instead of what Leymann called “mobbing” in a workplace context. They identify mobbing as a particular type of bullying that is not as apparent as most, defining it as “an emotional assault. It begins when an individual becomes the target of disrespectful and harmful behavior. Through innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting, a hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force a person out of the workplace.”
Adams and Field believe that mobbing is typically found in work environments that have poorly organised production or working methods and incapable or inattentive management and that mobbing victims are usually “exceptional individuals who demonstrated intelligence, competence, creativity, integrity, accomplishment and dedication”.
So with that in mind there is really only two ways to deal with it. One is to ignore it as best as possible – As they often say in life – “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” No matter how hard it is you must remember that the person doing the mobbing would not do this if they were really a nice person, deep down inside. They are actually troubled individuals who are psychologically fragile and it is not YOU that has the problem. In fact you must learn to rise above them and pity them for they are ill.
The other way of dealing with this is of course a much more sweet and satisfying method, but condemned by many. This is the age old cure for bullying; a fast hard smack in the mouth or several … BUT BEWARE … The workplace bully actually wants that to happen because the result is that YOU will be seen as the guilty party and YOU will be asked to leave the company. THEY, the mobber, will have then gloriously achieved what they so badly wanted in the first place. Even if it means taking a beating to get it, they will cherish having pushed you over the edge. So if you do revert to this second method just don’t do it in public 😉
It is a delicate subject that cannot be dealt with easily and management does not want to tackle this kind of problem. Sadly the workplace bully is smart enough to know this and vile enough to continue their nefarious, stupid and reprehensible tactics.