Originally published Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 06:00a.m.
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
Bullying isn’t confined to just children. “Mean girls” grow up and become mean women.
I know a company bully who’s threatening my family member. She is new to the company and vulnerable.
Why are so many small town offices (which seem to be predominantly female) run by a bully? Whispering, gossip, innuendo, and lies are used to control their coworkers.
Supervisors are oblivious to the bully who manages to get rid of anyone who doesn’t bow down to her.
The bully appears to be a great team player, but intimidates and undermines victims who try to keep out of office politics.
What recourse does a victim have to keep their job when they become a target? HR and management are clueless.
When my family member thinks the bullying is over and gets comfortable, then it starts all over again.
She gets depressed, and it’s almost impossible for her to feel any happiness at work.
She’s terrified of losing her job.
Signed, Family advocate
You are correct: “mean girls” can become bullies as adults. However, bullies come in both genders and can be found in all sizes of companies and towns.
If they got away with it in childhood, they learned that undermining, trashing someone else’s reputation, and playing a victim works.
Popularity was the impetus of high school bullying, while career advancement is usually the motivation for the workplace bully.
Office bullies try to ruin the brightest, most creative, and hardest working employees.
Oftentimes, they ruin the plain goodness of co-workers.
Tell her to be direct with the bully, and that she isn’t afraid of reporting bullying to every manager up-the-ladder or food-chain. And mean it!
If nothing is done, she should go to Human Resources or to the manager or owner.
Tell her she cannot afford to be fearful of losing her job. There are more important things to lose such as dignity, integrity, mental, emotional and physical health.
Workplace bullies impact every level of business, from morale to bottom-line productivity. It gets rid of the employees that companies want and need!
She must not gossip about the bully. It only fuels the fire in the bully and gets mud on her.
Then, if she has done everything she possibly can to rid the company of a ticking time-bomb without success, she will have to switch positions to a different one within that company … or switch companies.
Signed, Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org. Find out more about Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation at www. rhondastopbullying.org.