Behavioural Adjustment

Bullying - both physical and psychological
including passive aggressive results in severe impacts on people and enterprises -Organisations have a duty of care to deliver A SAFE-WORKPLACE.

Common sense say "rid this menace from our environment" -everyone in some way bullies another - it is not about good and bad people, just society running what actually is, 'approved bad behaviour' patterns.
That is, the same people behaving the same way, often day after day, year after year and still being paid each week!

It is not good enough to warn someone (some people are given dozens of warnings over a period), there actually needs to be a sustained change in behaviour and it is about 'all parties', not just the focus of the bullying one (or more).

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Bullying... is your duty of care
...and your personal responsibility to eliminate any bullying—not just signs of bullying!


As a company policy, a company commitment. It has to stop and you must take care to ensure that outcome occurs— there must be a plan—there must be more than potential—it has to stop.

Supervisors at all levels care a legal responsibility to ensude delivery of ‘duty of care’.

Bullying – about it and what to do to change the situation to reflect justness and achieve growth for the bully and the bullied. Your responsibilities – become aware of things to watch out for – how to change the situation back to fairness and maintain a proper equitable and fair balance. How to grow your people so that there is equity and integrity on your workplace.

What Bullying is when someone does something to someone else that does not value their personal rights for a peaceful and respectful coexistence. This is often seen as something physical, if not the action, the threat. However it is probably more likely to be something psychological – someone saying something or ‘not’ saying something, some one doing something to or with something that in effect, intimidates.

Where Everywhere: at home, at school, at work and at play – in front of others, in groups and in one-on-one

When All the time: all hours of the day; when someone is new to a place/situation; when someone has been in the same place for a long time

Who Everyone does it! Some people have etched out their lives through effective bullying, others use it more sparingly but everyone does it. Now the odd twist is that bullying is usually seen as someone doing it to someone else where in fact it is really a two way thing – “someone bullies me and if I don’t find an effective response to stop that, then I actually through passive aggression, bully the other person through not helping to change their pattern” – bit heavy hey, more of this latter (this comes into the ‘if nothing changes nothing changes and it starts with me type stuff’)

Why It really starts from birth (it could be argued) when baby decides comfort in a tight space has a priority over mum’s comfort & so, wriggle wriggle attention is achieved – mum moves so baby  can move and comfort is restored, little matter that this happened at 4.00 am when ‘mum’ had really only just started to get a good nights sleep!

It continues when baby is hungry, “cry cry” and someone rewards with food. Lesson learnt, act selfishly and you are rewarded. NOW this is not to infer in anyway right and wrong, good or bad intended behaviour but is about communication – baby has no other way to express need except for the overt – physical movement or loud noise.

It continues through life to varying degrees –really in some proportion to how well parents weaned us off the now learned and accepted (regarless of the other behaviours surrounding the behaviour of acceptance) - eg, scolding for poor behaviour but still allowing it - it just becomes part of the pattern - I yell, they smile, allow, get tired of it, scold, then allow.

This is such an important time in development and can make it so much easier for the growing person to adjust to ‘sharing and consideration’ if the method used was positive and consistent and was succesful.

How Physical - A bully may actually physically make contact in a way which severely impacts or, merely touches, just suggesting the potential impact. Psychological – words and actions or lack of words and actions – emotional or withdrawal of emotion, inclusion or exclusion. Oddly even when we seek to include someone and they exclude themselves, eg 'not my job', 'not my turn', 'you get paid for doing that, I don't', 'I have got time to go to training' and we do not find a suitable response so that the person does 'include', it is we as managers who have failed in our job and the exclusion this person now suffers is our responsibility - we do not get off the hook just because we have allowed the person to disconnect!
Abraham Maslow
recognised the ‘hierarchy of needs’; the need for ‘inclusion – social acceptance’, along with physiological, safety & security,  self esteem and self actualisation. Our social needs are in many ways a foundational need. Inclusion gives us strength and a sense of capacity.

So what?

the bully - “I have been like this all of my life—how else could I act?”
the bullied - “I have been bullied all of my life—what else can I expect?

This is where the story starts
“If there is no post-hole for the post to insert into, the post would just fall over and lay useless on the ground”. The hole is necessary for the successful post to succeed in standing. ‘What then is our post hole?’ Assertive behaviour allows others to see that we honour our self, that we have esteem and therefore we are able to ‘stand-up-to’ / ‘counter’ aggressive behaviour. Our ‘post-hole’ then is -  A bully looks for the ‘chink’ in our armour; our lack of assertiveness, our indecision, uncertainness, lack of self-esteem – this is the ‘hole’ that post needs.
Background thinking: Rarely does a new born infant ‘bully’ another. There may be smacks and hits as arms and legs flail helplessly, still learning what they are, what they do, how to control and how to use but kicking and hitting as a bully to the other, no!
Somewhere as learning begins we use the many and varied experiences we gained in the womb as our reference point —most of the know-how focused on one thing only, our comfortable continued existence!
For there to be any sustainable change, we therefore, and not the bully need to address our behaviour—what are the chances a bully will wake up one morning and ask, “why do I act like this? I am going to change today!”  ??????

What are the chances of this happening!! What are the chances you will take responsibility for things happening to you?
it is me that needs to change then how do I know if I make the change ‘it’ will change, the bullying behaviour will stop or at least diminish?
Well the answer is you don’t! But if the behaviour is there and you do nothing, then what are the chances?
Shouldn’t they change— what are the chances without some ‘hole being filled in first—remember the post hole? If your ‘hole—behaviour’ has allowed the bully to flourish then if your behaviour is the same, why would there be change?
IMPORTANT MESSAGE—this is not about ‘what should be’ but ‘what is’! Not about ‘what is fair’ but about ‘what needs to happen’.

If Major effort is needed at this stage to come to grips with the question - "do you want this behaviour the other person throws at you to stop or not" - if the answer is yes and other things you have tried haven't worked, then you will have to take the responsibility to make those changes possible through your maturity, conviction and capacity.

Is it possible—impossible?  
We know almost everything is possible—who was it who said, “when there is commitment, providence moves”? Without commitment there is no force, no direction, no potential and so there is no change—it wasn’t expected and it didn’t come—self fulfilling prophecy achieved.
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." Goethe,

What do we need, to achieve some form of commitment—possible faith that something will work, a desired outcome will be achieved. We adjust the focus over everyone - we look for gaps in behaviour of everyone and then we identify strategies to achieve sustainable movement - we achieve equity!
Think about it. When we talk to another work mate or even ‘the boss’ about a colleague who has poor / inappropriate behaviour so often the response is something like, “they have always been like that but they are very good at what they do” or, “just walk around them, we have tried everything and it just doesn’t work” or, “if we did get change it wouldn’t last, so don’t rock the boat”, or—we could go on for pages but you get the idea.
These ‘observers’ are not bad people just people who have lost the belief that change can occur. Unfortunately our usual reaction is to agree and then to continue to let that person continue in their actions

  • status quo achieved and we go home each night depreciates
  • strangely just as they do.
This Group Think (see article from web on this subject) is also a form of bullying—someone says something and other agree, quite often to disagree would put you out of the ‘social acceptance’. As an example if the supervisor you went to talk about a colleague who was acting poorly towards you—bullying—and they said it wasn’t possible to make change and you said it should be, there would be tension—you would have doubted the supervisors capacity—you would be saying there was something and they weren’t able to achieve it. How would that go down? See also Pre-emptive / group think
So it is easier to leave things as they are and ‘wear it’. Change seems so hard—impossible—or at worst not worth the trouble given that it probably wouldn’t last even if it  did happen for a while. Group Think comment by Rex 

Any of this making sense to you?
Pre-emptive think is another form of bullying—this is where another person (usually the decision maker) would act in a certain way and so nobody asks the questions, this sounds like “I wouldn’t bother asking so and so, they would only so no” - ever heard that before.
Why is this bullying? Because the people who are pre-empting the response are not allowing the person the opportunity of responding—just as if someone bullied someone else into ‘not responding’ or over-spoke or butted into their response—both bully tactics.
Perspectives of bullying
So, we have discussed here various forms of bullying and really spent little time on the physical—why?
Cause and Effect
Just as in a steam cooker, as the steam build up the pressure mounts and then there is an explosion. The behavioural explosion is the physical bully.
Through time, the expectation of the bully of pressure being applied means that there needs to be very little pressure applied for them to bring out their behaviour—in the end they walk into the room exhibiting the behaviour as their usual way.
We see the person and expect them to act—they do! Self fulfilling prophecy—I knew they would—they did.
So to alter these circumstances there needs to be someone who takes control of the situation and that doesn’t mean (in the fist instance) formal warnings. After all, everyone has been playing the game.
Why pick on the bully? “If I let you bully me, then you are acting with my authority despite anything I may say to the contrary”.
And so it is necessary to address bullying situations non-emotionally, clearly, situationally. Not to be confused by our emotions or the past but clearly focused on the future—what to do about a situation that has arisen and become established (bullying rarely happens only once but is usually a build behaviour over time).
What is the cause and it isn’t their personality!
We are now getting to the hard bit, the bit where we need to address the entire situation, that is them and us, not just them. It is not our position to judge others but to consider circumstances and we are surely part of the circumstances. Now is not the time for comments like, “if only they didn’t…” but more about “what do we need to do”.
Should we put forward ‘solutions’ here?
If we did, could there be a tendency to ‘disbelieve’ those answers? If you identified with what has been written so far, and the problem is of the size and importance that it really is, then should we believe that a ‘self-help’ few pages without any explanation and interaction would be sustainable beneficial. We think it could be worse that that—if your response was to ‘poo-hoo’ and through that solutions were seen to be impossible then permanent damage could be done to your ever fixing the bullying behaviour you are experiencing.
What next then?

1st step—decide that YOU want to and will address the situation

2nd step—no blaming others for inaction or deciding that it really is someone else’s job to fix the situation (if you are wearing the outcome it is impacting on you)

3rd step— drop us an email or pick up the phone and have a chat—no fee, no obligation
From this initial discussion we can work out the most appropriate methodology to address ‘your’ situation.
There needs to be commitment from management and team to tackle these situations and when people get the confidence that something CAN change, that commitment comes along quickly.
Tomorrow can be yesterday today if you act now. That is, you will be saying to yourselves, “why didn’t we act sooner—why did we put up with this for so long—why did we bully the bully by not addressing this when it first occurred?”
Duty of care extends to everyone and enterprises that allow bullying behaviour to continue, face the risk of  loss of integrity, potential legal recourse and of course the normal loss of commercial capacity.
When? –now!
and they often 'hate the boss' which leads to sabotahe and loss of ‘employer ofr 1st choice’ and of course opens the organisation to litigation - failyre to supply a safe workplace.

Ring Rex
or Email
Read the information associated with each heading to discover some of the rationale for that comment - if you agree then you should best make contact so we can arrange to eliminate this form of intimidation from your enterprise.

Governance It is amazing how all of these topics are relevant to this subject of 'bullying' - that when fully considered the impact of 'bullying'' on the community is huge in personal and business terms.

  • Ethical behaviour
  • Diversity
  • Productivity
  • Square peg round hole