Over the last month or so the Australian media have committed hundreds of hours to ‘Iguana – gate’. A scandal involving a Labor Member of Parliament, Belinda Neal, coercing her staff into signing false statements denying her bullying behaviour towards employees at Iguanas Waterfront Restaurant.

There’s no condoning Belinda’s behavior and as you know, I abhor bullies. But why the blinding spotlight on her alone? Have you ever watched a session of Parliament? I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of childish (and that’s an insult to children BTW!), mocking, game playing, shouting, tantruming, politicking behavior and these are ‘our’ representatives. Why aren’t there investigations and action taken in that environment as well?

The public is also angered by Belinda’s behavior (as they should be) but then I personally witness someone say, “How dare she use her power and treat others like rubbish!” and then immediately turn around to their assistant and shout, “I don’t need you to question what I ask you do to, I just need you to do it.”

The ‘Bad Belinda Behavior’ isn’t isolated, every day, in every city, of every country someone is being bullied by a colleague. Why do we let it happen?

Now let’s take a huge leap to the other end of the spectrum, where we find a beguiling bully in the form of 16 year-old reality TV show contestant, Demelza Reveley.

Throughout the show she bullied, bitched, acted like a spoilt brat and then went onto WIN the title of Australia’s Next Top Model!!!

Good work everybody, let’s reward bad behavior with a lucrative modeling contract, a spread in Australian Vogue (during the finale Editor, Christy Clements, stated she would not vote for Demelza due to her unsavory behavior. Christy has declared she will not be on the cover and will only honor the 8 page spread she is contractually obliged to run), a brand new car and the rest of the loot she scored for being a ‘mean girl’.

She did manage a fake apology to her victim during the finale, but up to the very last frame of the TV package she was still making bitchy comments about the girls – obviously she didn’t learn despite the hundreds of disgusted comments on online forms and warnings from the judges.

From a 16 year old brat to a brazen politician Australians are obviously enraged by the behavior. Now, I ask you to make the same observations, take the same anger of either being or seeing a victim, and understanding that bullying behavior is NOT OK. Take a good hard look at yourself and your workplace and take action to ban bullying.

Let’s learn from these bitches and become better for it, I wish them well in their counselling sessions.

How to Handle this Situation

Mind

Occasionally bullying occurs because victims and abusers aren’t clear on what’s considered bullying behavior. You may think you’re the sweetest person on earth but have you ever?

– excluded or isolated a colleague from a situation
– deliberately held back information someone would need to get their work done properly
– allocated impossible jobs that can’t be done in the given time or the resources provided (I’ve seen this numerous times where bosses say, “Yes” to appease someone. It’s easy to say, “Yes” when you’re not the one doing the job and you then put unnecessary pressure on others to achieve it. I know of one Manager whose team works until 8pm or later and she waltzes out the door at 5pm.)
– taken credit for other’s work but never take the blame when things go wrong (see post below for more on that!)
– spread malicious rumours about a co-worker
– no matter what a team member does it’s never good enough, and you tell them so, but you take no steps to up skill them or provide them tools to improve

As you can see, bullying is much more than, threats, screaming, shouting abuse and obscenities. Make yourself familiar with this unacceptable behavior to make sure you don’t fall into either the victim or bully categories.

Bullying is extremely serious, so here’s some information on bullying in the workplace and how to manage it:

http://workplacebullying.org/
http://www.dignityatwork.org/advice/what-is-bullying/default.htm
http://www.worksmart.org.uk/rights/what_can_i_do_if_i_am
http://209.85.141.104/search?q=cache:0vw0_62ALEIJ:www.bullying.com.au/docs/workplace-test.doc+am+i+being+bullied+at+work&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6&gl=au
http://www.reachout.com.au/default.asp?ti=1666

Body

Bullying can be covert behavior at times but it can also be blatantly physical. Just ask the HR Director of a major insurance firm who honed her skills at ducking flying office furniture. If you are at a workplace which doesn’t take bullying seriously, then you need to move on as no one should put up with it.

Spirit

Not sure if you’re being bullied? Just check in on how certain interactions make you feel. Nathanial said one Senior Manager used to make him shake in his boots because every time he had a conversation with her she used to shout, groan, roll her eyes, interrupt, talk over him and act impatient.

If certain relationships don’t feel good then please check out the resources to manage the behavior.

As in any bad relationship the victim can lose their sense of self-worth, believe what’s being said about them and the situation turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. So stop what’s going on before it gets to this stage.

Until next time.

M

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