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The Bully at Work

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The Bully at Work

What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity On the Job


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Imagine the playground bully of your youth. Now, imagine that bully all grown up, in charge at the office and still belligerent. Now, what do you do? (You’ll be surprised at how you’ve grown.)

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


While much has been written on the topic of workplace violence, much less attention is paid to a more widespread problem - workplace bullying. Gary and Ruth Namie claim that one in five workers in the U.S. have been targeted by a bullying colleague or, more commonly, a bullying boss. The authors flesh out this claim in The Bully at Work by describing the prevalence of workplace bullying and the corrosive effects that such behavior has upon its targets. But the real value in this book comes from the detailed advice it provides to bullying victims. The Namies tell victims how to cope with the stress and other psychological wounds that bullying can cause, and then unveil a step-by-step action plan. This plan stretches from initial internal measures that victims can take to defend themselves to - employers take careful note - legal recourse. This eminently useful guide elevates the book beyond the reach of self-empowerment literature and into the realm of practical knowledge. As such, getAbstract recommends this book to any employee who has been bruised by a workplace bully, and to managers who are - like it or not - responsible for spotting and eliminating bullying behavior.


Recognizing Bullies

Bullies come in all forms. You may encounter some common bullying tactics at work. Be aware that while some bullies stay within one range of tactics, others vary their bullying styles depending on their mood. Learn to recognize and respond to each tactic.

The Constant Critic

This bully is a complaining faultfinder. Nothing is ever good enough. The constant critic uses put-downs, insults and name-calling to destroy a target’s self-confidence. This kind of bully often demands eye contact when speaking, only to deliberately avoid eye contact when a target responds. When a target makes a contribution, the constant critic reacts with a sigh or frown. This bully uses memos and e-mails to bury targets in correspondence. The critic even roasts personal aspects of a target’s life that have nothing to do with job performance.

To deal with a constant critic, first use humor. The next time the critic makes a critical comment, repeat these sarcastic words in your head: "Thank goodness! My life would not be complete if this person didn’t criticize me!" This simple, silent statement gives you control and retains your dignity, which the bully is ...

About the Authors

Gary Namie Ph.D., is the president of the Campaign Against Workplace Bullying. He is a social organizational psychologist. Ruth Namie Ph.D., is the CEO of the Campaign Against Workplace Bullying. Her personal experience with bullying led to the campaign and subsequent publications, including this book.

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