Observers of bullying

Do you think there is bullying going on around you?

Observers take different roles. Some become henchmen and help the bully, others are bystanders. A bystander is someone who does not become actively involved in a situation where someone else requires help (see definitions). A few support the victim, covertly, whilst at the same time conforming to the expectations of loyalty demanded by the bully. Which role are you taking?

Try to improve communication in your group. There is a loss of reality within bullying scenarios. By keeping channels of communication open, there is less chance that bullying will escalate.  It is often the simplest actions which are the most effective in keeping a dialogue going e.g. saying ‘Good morning’ to colleagues.

Bullies will only bully if they are allowed to. Set firm boundaries. Colleagues can work together to defend the victim if they chose to. Courage, compassion and integrity are needed when confronting injustice.

If the bully is a manager, he/she will be projecting his/her own anxieties as well as some of those generated within the group and organisation’s culture too. What is your manager projecting on to the victim? Is this something that is stopping the group moving forward? Are there key issues which are not being engaged with? Is the victim a scapegoat for the group?

The bully may just need some extra support for him/herself - but of course would not admit to it. He/she is likely to be in omnipotent denial. Can his/her anxieties be worked through within the group? Little steps forward are better than ambitious targets.

Training on group dynamics, without the bully/bullies being present, can give space for reframing the ‘story’ of events. It can alter the team dynamics for the benefit of everyone

As bullying is addictive, if nothing is done another victim will be selected and it could be you.