4 Types of Workplace Bullies Your Company Should Watch Out For

April 9, 2020

 

Workplace bullying is any abusive conduct that specifically threatens, humiliates, or intimidates a person. Research shows that 90% of employees in the U.S. say they have been bullied by a coworker or a manager. 

 

Office bullying can be detrimental to everyone's morale and productivity. Below are the common types of workplace bullies your company should be aware of. ; 

 

1. The Screamer 

 

Screamers are not afraid of losing their temper when things don’t go their way. They provoke their targets directly through harsh words and loud and condescending tones. 

 

When screamers are confronted, they usually use passion to justify their behavior. Some would even say that their hurtful words are meaningless and they were only uttered to push an employee to do better. Regardless of the bully’s intention, no employee deserves to be spoken to in a humiliating manner. 

 

2. The Gossip 

 

The gossip uses rumors as their primary tactic to hurt people and harm reputations. They will talk about anything, from other people’s personal lives to performance-related issues. In some cases, the bullying may also take place in social media. 

 

These bullies are often two-faced and passive-aggressive, which makes them more dangerous. The gossip can easily claim that any rumor-spreading was false unless there is concrete proof, or argue that it was just simple banter and had no negative intentions.

 

While it may seem impossible to monitor these bullies all the time, building a workplace culture that denounces negativity and judgmental behaviors can lead to a healthier and more genuine environment.

 

 

3. The Critic

 

This type of bully provides extremely harsh, and sometimes unsolicited, criticism. Critics hold their targets to insane standards, focusing solely on their mistakes and refusing to see any good in their work. They crush their target’s confidence and strip them of their enthusiasm to work.

 

Critics can easily brush off the bullying as legitimate criticism. They can even provide documented proof of their target’s inadequacies just to save face. It can be difficult to draw a fine line between critical criticism and abusive behavior. But situations where particular employee is singled out countless times while their colleagues get away with similar mistakes or experience less jarring consequences are outright bullying. ; 

 

4. The Gatekeeper

 

Unlike screamers and critics, gatekeepers tend to operate in the background. They usually have access to certain things that enables them to exert control over others. Gatekeepers are often in charge of budgets, training, scheduling, event planning, and other matters that they can use to sabotage others’ work experience.

 

For example, they can ensure that their victims have more jampacked schedules than others, or are never informed about important events and announcements. 

 

Gatekeepers will always have business-related excuses for their actions. Working with them can be a stressful and frustrating experience since it’s harder to provide concrete proof of their actions. This is why managers should be responsible for taking any reports seriously and probe into them if necessary. 

 

It is the HR department’s responsibility to create a comprehensive harassment policy available to all employees. Reports of workplace bullying should immediately be investigated with 100% confidentiality, and bullies must face the necessary sanctions regardless of their position in the company. No employee is exempt from creating a safe, fair, and respectful work environment. 

 

 

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