The lament of 1000 bullies
Stop moaning, start listening, and you might learn something – about bullying.
‘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.