We have a new bill number: Senate Bill 1013. We’ve updated all of our marketing materials, and you can now pass out flyers with the new bill number on them to spread the word about the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill:
Spread the word!
Don’t worry – we’re not about to blame you for being a workplace bullying target. Just the opposite. It’s narcissism that’s the root of why bullies bully. And when those in power operate on jealousy and insecurity, their biggest threats are the ones with targets on their backs.
Your strength is a threat
“Targets’ strengths threaten bullies,” says the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) based on findings in their 2012 poll. “Technical prowess and personal popularity posed a threat to their bully (chosen by 34.5 percent of respondents).”
Other reasons why you’re a target
Nearly 39 percent of respondents — around the number of respondents who said target strength was the reason they’re targeted — cited factors outside of targets’ control as the reason for the bullying: personality of the bully, instigator of a mob, and organizational incentives.
About 28 percent of respondents said that bullies perceive a vulnerability in targets. Bullies consider targets weak and not political game players.
These other reasons might cause you to feel flawed and weak. But don’t let them. Vulnerability is never a weakness. It’s a strength. Narcissists are terrified of vulnerability. And while a certain level of political game-playing may be necessary at work, focusing entirely on politics detracts from your greater purpose at work: to work together toward a common vision as a team.
The bottom line
Narcissists view work differently than you do because they’re insecure. That’s it. There is NOTHING you can do to change them. While we may post articles about how you can react to a bully, we simply suggest coping strategies to address the problem: the bully. Whether or not our suggested tactics work have nothing to do with any flaws in you and everything to do with getting you to a healthier place when dealing with these abusive bosses. You are not the problem.
Their insecurities are not your flaws.
As we close 2016, let’s reflect on how you’ve helped spread the word about workplace bullying.
In 2016, we had more than 20,000 blog views and nearly 13,000 unique visitors. Compare those numbers to nearly 4,000 views and nearly 2,200 unique visitors in 2015. That’s five times more views and almost six times more unique visitors in 2016. And yet we only posted twice as many blog posts (135 in 2016 versus 55 in 2015).
Our Facebook page likes have also increased dramatically in just one year: from 2,123 to 2,878. We’re talking a 75 percent increase.
There were roughly 650 Twitter followers earlier this year. Now we’re at 827 — an increase of almost 80 percent.
What these numbers mean
Here’s what we can say from these numbers:
- Insights on workplace bullying resonate with more people than ever.
- More supporters share more Facebook posts and tweets in record numbers.
We have you to thank for these numbers:
- You’re sharing information that resonates with you to help others.
- You’re sending us articles you find so we can post them in the first place.
The biggest takeaway: we’re well-positioned going into the new legislative session in January when we gained the support of 58 sponsors. With 200 members of the entire Massachusetts Legislature, that’s nearly one-third who sponsored the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill.
Imagine how much legislative support we can get with our number of advocate supporters now.
What you can do now
- If you haven’t already, like us on Facebook.
- Then click on the “Invite friends to like this Page” link at the top of the righthand column.
- Invite as many of your friends as possible. Even if they don’t live in Massachusetts, they can share articles to spread the word.
Stay tuned for a planning meeting in early 2017. Let’s make this the session we make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts.
Bullying leads to stress, and stress leads to health problems. Health problems can then eventually lead to poor work performance. At that point, workplace bullying targets can either:
- Take paid sick leave, which lets employees prevent, recover from, and manage illness
- File for workers compensation
- Take family medical leave
- Seek disability insurance
As of last year, Massachusetts employers are required to provide their employees with 10 sick days, still worse than Norway, Germany, the UK, and Japan (all offering up to 26 weeks) but better than the rest of the U.S., where there is no federal paid sick leave law or provision for replacing lost wages.
In a 2013 poll, the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) found that slightly more than half of respondents took no sick leave, leaving them vulnerable to health problems, poor work performance, and worsened personal relationships.
That means that nearly half of respondents took some form of sick leave.
Types of sick leave targets chose
Targets who took sick leave reported they were forced to choose between the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), disability, and workers compensation (WC).
FMLA. FMLA was the most popular, available to employees whose companies have 50 or more employees and used by 55 percent of those who took sick leave. FMLA users took:
- Voluntary paid (40%)
- Forced unpaid (25%)
- Forced paid (17%)
- Voluntary unpaid (17%)
Disability insurance. Nearly 34 percent of those who took sick leave used disability insurance. Those in this group took:
- Early retirement (45%) (difficult to achieve)
- Short-term disability (38%)
- Long-term disability (17%)
WC. Eleven percent of those who took sick leave used WC. In 76 percent of these case, employers forced employees to take WC. But in only 40 percent of cases, the WC was granted. While employers often see stress as a work injury, many states are adopting laws that prohibit psychological stress as a WC claim.
In the U.S., it’s perfectly legal for an employer to abuse an employee and cause them financial ruin because the financial safety net (a paid sick leave mandate) is not adequate. Individuals are left to correct a problem they did not invite or deserve.
At the beginning of the 2015-2016 legislative session, 1,766 people liked the Massachusetts Anti-Workplace Bullying Healthy Workplace Bill Facebook page. That’s 1,766 people since roughly 2010.
Today, 2,660 people like our Facebook page. That’s an increase of 66 percent in the last two years alone. That’s no small feat.
Our website user base is growing at the same rate. Until the last legislation session, we had 20,570 users.
In the last full session, we added more than 10,000 users, most of them new and spending nearly 2:30 minutes on the website each.
Thanks for all of your work. We’ve come a long way to make “workplace bullying” a household term.
“Excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you,” says leadership speaker William Deresiewicz. Most of us who find ourselves bullied at work wonder how on earth the incompetent bullies get ahead while the competent and ethical targets stay at lower ranks with less pay and responsibility.
Here are two reasons why bullies get ahead at work:
- Our culture rewards narcissism and selfishness. We live in an oppressive culture where enough people believe those who think they’re more important and entitled than others — and allow toxic behavior. When a bully simply takes power and feels entitled to dictate, belittle, control, or manipulate the target by calling him or her “sensitive” or “emotional,” and we or leaders believe the dismissal of the target rather than hold the bully accountable, we help the bully get ahead.
- Incompetent people overrate themselves, and competent people overrate others. The phenomenon is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. According to Wikipedia, “the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average…. Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding.”
How we can change the culture
We move the needle when we stop seeing the target as “sensitive” or “emotional” and instead recognize the real problem: the bully’s narcissistic behavior. We change the culture when we:
- Stand up to belittling, controlling, and manipulative behaviors.
- Stop giving people power who act entitled to it.
- Foster a collaborative environment in which we respect all opinions.
The 2015-16 formal session of the Massachusetts Legislature ends at the end of the month, and we’re still in there pitching for the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB). In Massachusetts, as in most other states, legislative sessions run in two-year terms starting early in the odd year. Typically, there is a flurry of activity early […]