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  • Victoria Alexandra Cabrini Luckie

On dealing with workplace (or other) bullies. My lengthy comments on an article in Kenya's Stan

My lengthy comments on this article in Kenya's Standard Newspaper on How to deal with workplace bullying are below and and form practically an article on their own.. Original article: My comments: Having encountered many bullies in the past I have learned a couple of things. Here is what I would have done differently in a couple of situations. 1) Never take a job well below your level (your colleagues will likely be well below your level too). If you are forced to then do it to the best of your ability 2) Find out what the official complaints procedure is as soon as you encounter bulling and use it. Don't bother with unofficial complaints if it is a job that is not your career, or quit and tell your boss why in writing so they have to deal with the bullies. 3) Do not assume bullies will have changed over time, until they prove it. Do not allow them into your social media or business networks, do not allow them to claim they know you and deal with libel and slander quickly, legally and publicly. 4) Many bullies will try to undermine your qualifications, your integrity or slander your personal life, sometimes finding the source of such libel or slander can be difficult, and many people will advise you to "just ignore it", "drop it", "stay offline" etc. It is easier to do this if it is happening to you, or to ignore it if you see it happening to someone else. But by not confronting it you are allow it to perpetuate and get worse, and you are allowing the bully to think that is a valid way to get what they want. So unless you want to live in a world run by bullies and the self-interested then we all do need to stand up to it, the first time, and each and every time. 5) And finally (I think). Bullies are manipulative people who will often use your emotions against you. Whether via straight aggression, threats and physical fear, or threats and whispering campaigns, exclusion or subtle inferences like eye rolling, face pulling, or social media mobbing and repetition and twisting of the meaning your own words against you. Bullies are often inherently dishonest and have low moral standards, as a result they may use dishonesty or even attempt to use pity to make you feel sorry for them in order to get what they want. (Which may purely be to knock you down as they perceive you as getting too successful or being too happy when they are lacking in someway or think you somehow undeserving). People are inherently tribalistic in the sense that they look for support via commonalities and aspirations in society (whether that be the same gender, the same career experience, the same religion or tribe). Within an existing established company culture or structure (particularly an institutional one) the tendency can be to develop an us and them mentality. This can be very dangerous as bullies know and use this to silence and discredit a victim. One thing I have learned from my experience as a journalist, if you hear people speak badly of other people ignore the cultural, gender, tribal and whatever differences, always try to check the facts. Always ask if they have proof, always get both sides of the story. Bullies may sometimes have a great deal of friends or be very wealthy. How people deal with seeing others get bullied or mistreated, especially repeatedly, or where the person bullied is not in a position to defend themselves tells you a lot about that person's character and integrity. Or lack of it. Victoria Luckie MA

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