Many of us are now perhaps aware about workplace bullying. Some of us may even have experienced bullying at some point, while some of us may have realised that we are actually bullies. Bullies come in different types and use different tactics but they all cause psychological harm to those they target. Knowing the types of bullies that we can encounter in workspaces may help us deal better with the situation when it arises.
This type of bully is perhaps the most common one. These people make it their business to be seen and heard by everyone- loud in character and can be construed as attention seeking behaviour by others. They can be physically intimidating, refusing to respect personal space, property, and other boundaries. And ironically, think that instilling fear in others earns them respect. Often times they insert themselves in situations that don’t concern them.
These types of bully have a tendency to execute their abusive behaviour more covertly (secretly), but the damage they do is not lesser. They may even come across as mostly friendly people to your face, while they undermine you behind your back at every opportunity they get (two-faced people). They are usually the ringleaders that form cliques and purposely alienate others. These people engage in spreading false rumors and gossip and may also extend their bullying tactics outside of the workplace such as, on social media platforms.
Just like the word describes it, this bully is the “enemy of progress” for those they target. In some cases, they may not necessarily work closely with their target and can have little interaction but their tactics are harmful. Bullies in certain positions of power in the workplace can exert plenty of control over others even through a more indirect relationship.
For example, employees in charge of things like training, budgets, scheduling, event planning and resource allocation, can have a huge impact on their colleagues’ work experience. As part of their bullying tactics they can ensure that their targets never gets the resources they need, or always overload them with a schedule that is stressful or even unsustainable. Also, they can easily exclude their targets from getting invited to important work functions or conveniently forget to inform them about the events.
These bullies tend to engage in harsh and unrelenting criticism. They always have something negative to say about their target. This can be one of the most damaging types of workplace bullying and harassment, because the bully’s objective is to totally diminish the target’s confidence and ability to do their job well.
This employee sees him or herself as essential and expects recognition for everything. However, they aren’t usually very good at what they do. To compensate their incompetence, these bullies tend to spend most of their time either micromanaging or watching competent workers performance to complain about. The wannabes will demand that everything is done their way – even when there are better ways of doing things. Because they’re automatically opposed to others’ ideas and will do everything in their power to prevent changes to their work processes.
Usually the intelligent, well-spoken, charming and charismatic sociopaths are the most destructive bullies of all. They have absolutely no empathy for others, yet they are experts at manipulating the emotions of others in order to get what they want. These bullies often rise to positions of power within the workplace, which makes them extremely dangerous. Sociopaths tend to surround themselves with a circle of assistants who are willing to do their dirty work in exchange for moving up the ranks with them.
There are many other types of bullies. Familiarise yourself so that when confronted by a bully you can protect your emotional health.