The lament of 1000 bul­lies

Stop moan­ing, start lis­ten­ing, and you might learn some­thing – about bul­ly­ing.

Sunday Star-Times - - Opinion -

‘Truly, I do not know why peo­ple keep in­sin­u­at­ing that I am any­thing but a tough-but­fair, straight-up boss who very oc­ca­sion­ally, needs to raise my voice a touch to give some­one a mas­sive dress­ing down in pub­lic.

When Su­san gave me that re­port and I ripped it into pieces in the board­room. I was do­ing her a favour, for heaven’s sake – saved her a trip to the shred­der.

Look, you’re all lucky to have a job, re­ally. I don’t give a rat’s what your qual­i­fi­ca­tions are or how many years’ ex­pe­ri­ence you have or how many KPIs you’ve hit in the past six months, even when I do keep chang­ing my mind about what’s re­quired or de­mand­ing you drop ev­ery­thing to work on my pet project then be­rat­ing you for not fin­ish­ing the work you’re ac­tu­ally sup­posed to be do­ing.

This is a ‘‘ro­bust’’ work­place where crises come and go on the reg­u­lar; a work­place with ‘‘zing’’ and ‘‘ex­cite­ment’’ (and by that I mean shout­ing and in­sults) and if you can’t cope with me los­ing my rag and calling peo­ple things like ‘‘du­plic­i­tous pieces of shite’’, per­haps you should look else­where for a ca­reer.

Hmmm, what a mar­vel­lous word du­plic­i­tous is; I sug­gest you stop moan­ing, keep lis­ten­ing and you might learn some­thing.

I heard an ex­pert on the ra­dio the other day say­ing bul­lies rarely know they’re bul­lies. What codswal­lop. I could hardly have scram­bled up the greasy pole of achieve­ment in this very tough field to the lofty heights I now oc­cupy, with­out a crumb of self­aware­ness.

Ap­par­ently bul­ly­ing hap­pens most in stress­ful work­places, with cul­tures that re­ward ag­gres­sive or com­pet­i­tive be­hav­iour. Where ‘‘power is mis­used and lead­er­ship is of an au­to­cratic na­ture’’. I sup­pose that does sound fa­mil­iar. But I don’t feel that rings true for who I am as a leader. I have done un­pop­u­lar things and some peo­ple do not agree with them, that’s all. Noone’s ever com­plained, well not for­mally. I did talk to a few peo­ple who left rather sud­denly, but when I fronted them they wouldn’t say a thing; just stood there quak­ing in their boots or backed slowly to­wards the door with that ter­ri­fied ex­pres­sion on their faces. Odd. But if there’s no for­mal com­plaint, then how can there be a prob­lem?

Peo­ple re­ally need to take a good look at them­selves and stop this PC non­sense that’s suck­ing all the en­joy­ment out of so­ci­ety (by which I mean, my pre­ferred way of work­ing). Ev­ery­thing is bul­ly­ing these days, ac­cord­ing to the PC bri­gade. I mean re­ally, you can’t even have a harm­less gos­sip about the of­fice gays in the lunch­room when they’re not there. Ap­par­ently that’s ‘‘not OK’’ be­cause it makes every­one ‘‘un­com­fort­able.’’

That man on the ra­dio, he got it right. It’s fash­ion­able to call it bul­ly­ing, when it’s just life, surely? Some peo­ple have power, and some do not. Sim­ple. But that’s not how I see my lead­er­ship style any­way, as I was say­ing.

Now get back to work or don’t come Mon­day.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing is bul­ly­ing these days, ac­cord­ing to the PC bri­gade.

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