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Women 'work harder' after being bullied

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HC Online | 21 Mar 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
New research has investigated the impact workplace bullying has on women – bizarrely it was found that women actually work harder after being harassed.
  • Anonymous | 21 Mar 2013, 04:18 PM Agree 0
    What happens when the bullying is from the most senior HR director in the region? Passively aggressively bullying all females in the team, who don't report to him, but he ensures they realise if they talk about it, they will be managed out. It's a tough one. Report him to the senior leader you report to, and be ostracised even worse so that you will leave, or continue to try to manage his Jekyll and Hyde personality while all the time avoiding the office when he is in, avoiding any communication unless absolutely necessary and smiling through tears of frustration when he belittles you in front of the team. A very unpleasant work environment where turn over in the HR team is high.
  • Anon | 21 Mar 2013, 05:11 PM Agree 0
    To the comment above, if you aren't comfortable talking to him about it, something needs to be said (perhaps to his peer to express how you are feeling and for advice?) That sort of behaviour from someone who should know better is disgraceful. I think all too often bullies in leadership roles build a culture of fear which makes it difficult for people to speak up. I hope this sitaution sorts it self out for you.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen"
    Winston Churchill
  • AnonymousToo | 21 Mar 2013, 05:14 PM Agree 0
    I have been in this position within a HR team where the HR Director was the bully. The team had the highest turnover rate in the organisation and when I finally decided enough was enough and resigned, four of us resigned in a 3 day period. Guess what? Even this followed by an exit interview with his superior didn't produce any results, it was just covered up.
  • Anonymous March | 21 Mar 2013, 06:08 PM Agree 0
    I have also been in this same position where the CEO - Lady was the bully, I was certainly made aware by her that no one would ever go over her head to the Board of Directors about her bullying the team, she sacked one young lady, after ripping her head off in front of at least 20 staff members and then told us all that's what you get when you mess with me. 7 Staff who were present at the meeting resigned that week,another 9 the next week... when they put in the exit reports why they had resigned, CEO told us Managers that she had tore up the exit reports !!!
  • Anonymous As Well | 22 Mar 2013, 08:20 AM Agree 0
    Report him to Worksafe and sit back and watch what happens.
  • Anon as well | 22 Mar 2013, 09:08 AM Agree 0
    I too have been bullied in my own HR team, working for a woman manager who was insecure and 'out to make a point' by bullying anyone who stood up for themselves. Mine was not an isolated incident but the bullied group were all older Gen X Employees, some part-time, all fairly well paid, all female. We all stuck it out and are still working hard to restore our name in our organisation, unfortunately confidence has been knocked out of us and the struggle continues daily. Repeated discussions about the situation with Senior HR Managers really got no-where. If HR professionals are suseptible to bullying by our own colleagues, how can we stamp bullying out in the wider organisation???
  • Kirsten | 22 Mar 2013, 09:33 AM Agree 0
    To Anonymous,
    You have probably advised other employees how to deal with what they perceive as unfair treatment or behaviour from their leader - now is the time to practice it yourself!
    1. Be assertive. Ask to sit down with your leader privately and tell him how his behaviour is making you feel - maybe he does't actually realise the impact on you so give him the benefit of the doubt. Tell him you want to have a good relationship with him and ask him what he needs from you in order to achieve this.
    2. Document everything! Follow up your meeting with an email regarding the outcomes.
    3. Keep file notes. Record any further instances of unfair treatment/behaviour.
    4. Escalate the problem. Escalation doesn't need to be to an HR person - if you don't trust his manager, take it straight to the MD. Remember that mangement has a responsibility for your health and safety at work and can be personally liable if they do not take risks seriously and take action to prevent bullying in the workplace.
    5. If none of the above achieves an adequate solution, contact FairWork. Don't do nothing. No action = no change.
    Good luck.
  • Pat from Brisbane | 22 Mar 2013, 03:30 PM Agree 0
    All very worthy advice but my experience is that nothing changes. Typically the people exhibiting such behaviours as outlined above fall into one of two categories - those who at that time are unaware of the effects of thier behaviour (as distint from lacking personal insight and thus unable to change), who when challenged will generally apologise and attempt to change thier ways; and those with a personality disorder (whether narcissistic, psychopathic, sociopathic, borderline, they will be somewhere along that continuum) who very often do have insight into the effects of their behaviour but continue to do it anyway. There is generally a reluctance by senior management to address the latter, as quite often the behaviours are being rewarded or framed as task oriented, strong leadership etc. By the time you have elevated it to management, management will be already aware, but looking the other way. The bully has got his or her story straight, so if you complain, you will be painted as the "whinger with the adjustment disorder", "poor organisational fit", or "just not that competent"... "disappointing really." In that case the best you can do is probably to plan your exit strategy and leave the organisation. I know I will be criticised by mental health professionals for my loose use of language here, but the person who is doing the bullying is often a damaged individual, who needs to control others as a means of dealing with thier own insecurities. Your physical and mental health and peace of mind are far too important to leave it in the hope that either HR or management will suddenly develop the testicular fortitude necessary to deal with the matter. Don't look on it as being defeated or running away, rather it is the kind of strategic withdrawal we all need to make on occasion in order to ensure our survival to live and fight another day. The best indicator of how the organisation will manage the issue is how have they addressed it in the past? My advice? Flee, flee now... let someone else address it.
  • Anon - Gold Coast | 22 Mar 2013, 11:22 PM Agree 0
    I was bullied by my HR Manager several years ago. I did file a grievance against her for the behaviour towards me. I had witness statements and everything. They offered me a payout to leave quietly after the first meeting but I turned it down as to do so was saying that such behaviour was acceptable. It went right to board level and even then there was no resolution. I stayed on at the organisation for a further six (6) months. One day a mistake was made and I received an invite to a disciplinary hearing. For 6 months they had tracked all my emails, set me tasks that I struggled to complete, covered up work I had done so it looked like I had not done it and even the FD and MD gave me incorrect work information so I made mistakes. I resigned and walked away knowing I had given it my best shot – that was 6 years ago and now I actively promote a no bully workplace and are in the process of writing my own training plan for my clients. Now that I have moved upwards in my career I have the capacity to make a difference and by doing so at least in some part heal the wounds of my past. I do believe what goes around comes around and these bullies today will get what’s due tomorrow.
  • Pia from Perth | 24 Mar 2013, 03:30 PM Agree 0
    Im an advocate of "pick your fights" and consider what you are likely to achieve out of itand at what cost. I quite agree with Pat from Bisbane but sometimes it is worth having the courage to stand and speak and take it all the way until the problem has been dealt with. Often,along with benefits to you others will benefit directly and indirectly.

    then there are the other times where it is just best to have the courage to walk away!
  • Anonymous | 25 Mar 2013, 12:13 AM Agree 0
    I can relate personally to the findings in this article: I am in a position where where I need/want to keep my job because it is not a good time for me to move, and also, being an older worker I have concerns about being able to find an equivalent role. So I accept a work load that is much heavier than comparable roles at a similar level, and I make sure that there are never any substantive issues with my actual work delivery. This is a calculated compromise on my part. The bully is quite aware of this and takes advantage of the situation.
  • Anonymous | 27 Mar 2013, 07:48 AM Agree 0
    I too worked within an organisation where I was bullied several times during my 17 years+ there by very senior male manager (CFO, CIO). Finally the last straw was when a senior manager actually threatened me (my job and remuneration for something that happened that I had absolutely nothing to do with). I lodged a formal complaint (not grievance) with the Head of HR who was a friend and did everything he could to unofficially assist with the formation of that complaint as he saw the effect it had on me. I was 'officially' informed that they would assist but felt that this manager would probably fight to the end and if it went to court they more than likely would not win. They moved me away from him and cautioned him not to approach me without someone else around (which he did BTW) - he had left a trail of carnage across the organisation and was the cause of one HR manager's departure as she was unable to cope with the number of complaints being lodged against him. It eventually led to me suffering a nervous breakdown which the organisation never 'officially' acknowledged. I even had to pay for my own counselling as the counsellor could not give an exact timeline on how long it would take for me to recover sufficiently to be effective at work. I used all of my long service leave as part of the recovery process. I still have residual effects of the breakdown and have had to change my work/life balance to ensure it doesn't happen again. I was once a very strong and effective woman in my chosen field but now have taken a back seat as has my career. That organisation no longer exists, I now only work part time and am much happier. I say report it to HR or the MD if HR is ineffective then if there is no change, leave ensuring you keep a record of everything that happened and take it to relevant health & safety organisation in your state.
  • ANON | 27 Mar 2013, 03:28 PM Agree 0
    I too have been been bullied and sexually harassed - within HR. Emotionally it was devasting however, I drew my strength from the fact that I was well educated and supported personally, I knew the law and policies and in the back of my mind was "well if its hard for me - how do uneducated, unsupported and financially stretched woman (single mums) do this!!" I was scared that I would lose my job etc and it has taken a number of years to move on... but you have to document, speak up and go externally... DON'T put up with it!!!
  • Blackcat | 29 Mar 2013, 11:31 PM Agree 0
    In South Australia, Dr Moira Jenkins from Aboto Psychology is currently investigating the effects on individuals who have left the workplace due to workplace bullying and harrassment. Interesting to see if this turns up any new information or whether it can change the behaviour of management. In my experience, a government department was more than happy for one it's most experienced staff to leave because they couldn't guarantee workplace safety and obviously by association,having done a risk assessment, paying out costs for psychological injury to a work injured employee who might have stayed and fought for their rights. The same organisation professed to value it's people!
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