How Toxic Can A Workplace Be?

No one wants to be put down for trying to do their job. When you are trying the best you can, the last thing you want to hear is that this report is “garbage.”

According to a 2010 study, 35% of the U.S. workforce reported being bullied at work at one point. Another 15% reported witnessing it.

Sometimes, the higher-ups may see a bullying manager as an asset. This isn’t to say that companies put value on management acting like jerks. But if a manager produces better numbers than others, that manager is usually rewarded. By looking at the numbers, it isn’t always clear that that manager is a task master and their employees feel miserable. However, there is a fine line between a boss pushing their employees and abusing them. Each employee has their own line, so what may be motivating to one may be verbal abuse to another.

In a down economy, workplace bullying becomes even harder to read. The most obvious indicator of managerial bullying is a high turnover rate. But when employees feel they are stuck with their job, they put up with a lot more. Other manifestations can occur, such as a large amount of sick days or low employee morale.

The majority of workplace bullies are men at 62%. They usually bully other men, at 56%. But among the 38% of women bullies, 80% of the victims are women. Overall, 68% of bullying is same-gender.

Workplace bullying doesn’t always roll downhill. Sometimes co-workers will undercut their perceived competition in an attempt to get ahead. Multiple employees may gang up on an individual. Clients can even become bullies. Imagine that an important client is treating an employee like dirt. The owner might ask the employee to “take one for the team.”

Additional Resources

Workplace Bullying Institute: http://www.workplacebullying.org/

The Washington Post Career Coach: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/career-coach-dealing-with-bullies-in-the-workplace/2012/05/25/gJQAHPT3uU_story.html

Business Management Workplace Bullying: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/30691/workplace-bullying-when-hr-is-the-target

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