By John Reynolds
While most people think of bullying as something that occurs on a playground, it can happen in the workplace, too.
Craig Clayton Sr., founder and CEO of the Spartacus Group, a global management consulting firm, told a gathering in Springfield Monday that workplace bullying is more common than people think.
“If you’re not being bullied, look to your left and look to your right,” Clayton said. “If it’s not you being bullied, then it’s the person on your left or right. That’s the degree it’s occurring.”
Clayton, of Houston, was guest speaker for the first in a weeklong series of hourlong noontime sessions on diversity at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
Dr. Wesley Robinson-McNeese, SIU associate professor of internal medicine and executive assistant to the dean for diversity, multicultural and minority affairs, said it’s important that people understand that bullying exists in the workplace.
“Sometimes we relate to one another in certain ways and we don’t think its bullying situation at all, but it really is,” McNeese said.
Clayton told the75 attendees there is difference between a bully and a tough boss who pushes his or her employees.
For instance, a tough boss might express disappointment in an employee, but will do so in a way that’s not confrontational. A bully, on the other hand, might insult employees by telling them they’re stupid.
“Normally, tough managers are giving you feedback on specific aspects of your job and what you do. It crosses the line to bullying when it becomes personal,” Clayton said.
Women are targeted 60 percent of the time, he said, and some women bully other women.
The stress bullying causes its victims can cost a company money.
In one study, victims of bullies reported spending about 15 minutes per day worrying about the problem or avoiding the perpetrator.
“They are absolutely losing money. There’s no question about it,” Clayton said.
Unlike illegal discrimination or harassment, there are no state or federal laws against workplace bullying.
Clayton said people are surprised to learn that certain behaviors can be called bullying.
“It’s similar to what happened when sexual harassment training began,” he said. “People walked out and said, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that was sexual harassment.’”
When asked for an example of bullying, Clayton referred to a type of boss or manager called “the gatekeeper.” Gatekeepers confront employees if, for instance, their 15-minute break runs a minute too long.
Another type of bully is the manipulator.
“They are going to ask you to jump through hoops. Every time you do it, they don’t assume its because you’re successful at what you do. You just got lucky,” Clayton said.
He emphasized that it’s important for people to speak up when they see bullying, even if they’re not the target.
“When I see a peer targeted, I have an obligation to call that out,” Clayton said.
Source: The State Journal-Register