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Workplace bullying is a problem, whichever way you look at it. And it seems to be a bigger problem for women than for men. One survey from 2014 found that an estimated 9.6m US workers had been the target of serious bullying in the preceding year*, of those, 60% were women. Put another way, right now, 5.8m women are being bullied at work in the US alone. Women are 50% more likely to be bullied than men.
Also coming out of the survey is that men are much more likely to bully than women (69%) and, when they do, they are more likely to bully women. However, when women bully, they are much more likely to bully other women (68%) rather than men (32%).
This is relevant to influence because being the target of bullying is the extreme of powerlessness and inability to influence. Rather than continue down the statistical minefield, it seems to me that everyone, but especially women:
- Need to be able to spot the early signs of bullying behaviour (and this is likely to vary between male and female bullies).
- Should continually work to build their personal power, confidence and interpersonal skills to be able to deal more effectively with problems which do arise.
- Ensure that in their pursuit of power and influence, they do not inadvertently adopt behaviours associated with bullying.
A few questions to reflect on…
- What behaviours do you consider to be bullying?
- Why does bullying happen?
- Do men and women differ in the way they bully?
- How would your response differ if it was a women rather than a man bullying you?
ResourcesIf you, or someone close to you is the target of bullying, the following resources may be useful:
Don’t delay and think it will go away. Do something.
|If you think you are being bullied:
Helen Isacke, Executive Coach, Crown Coaching, UK.
- Are You a Bully? Are You Sure You Aren’t?.
- Wrongfully Accused of Bullying .
- The Ethics of Influence: Five Rules to Live By.
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