Do you consider yourself a bully? Even if you don’t think you are, experts say you could be at work. That’s because workplace bullying is at a record high. In fact, a recent survey found that 1 out of 3 employees experience bullying on the job. And many workers don’t even realize they’re doing it. Psychologists say that’s because they think acting tough on the job is a surefire way to climb the career ladder. So, how can you tell if you’re being bossy – or a bully?
- First: You ask subordinates to pick up your dry cleaning. Experts say that may not seem like a big deal. But any time you ask a worker to do something not listed in their official job description – like making fliers for your daughter’s school play – that’s 100-percent bullying. Because it’s forcing a worker to do something that they didn’t sign up for.
- Then, take a look at your co-workers. Do they look you in the eye? If the answer’s “no,” then body language experts say that’s a huge sign that they’re afraid and feel threatened by you.
- Another sign you’re an on-the-clock bully: You say “I paid my dues…you need to pay yours!” If you use your past suffering as an excuse to inflict suffering on others, you’re nothing but a grown up bully. Because bullies were often bullied themselves and it becomes a cycle.
- Finally, do you hear “yes” all the time? Experts say that bullies are often surrounded by a “yes” posse that agrees with everything they say – no matter how random it is – because they’re scared the bully will turn on them. But here’s the main difference: Acting as an authority does not, in fact, make you a bully. When bossiness becomes bullying is when the goal is dominance. So – if you ask your assistant to get you a coffee, and the coffee is the goal, that’s fine. But asking for coffee just to make a colleague feel small and unimportant, on the other hand, is bullying.