Stop Stepping on Bullies

To  clamp down on bullying, simply create settings that impede  further attacks, where studies show staff wants to quit. Create a walk in the park for innovation, and watch intimidation suddenly slip off the plank.

Stop Stepping on Bullies

Support good moods rather than focus on foul tempers, and you’ll ignite confidence for talent development.

Build a brainpowered setting and expect intimidation to flee. How so?

Bullies and their glum can topple a house unless they are replaced with a climate for high impact minds to flourish.

Shift from intimidation through …

1. Curiosity allows other angles to emerge in ways that challenge diverse talents and build calm consensus. Bullies show few skills to tame their amygdala, yet are dissuaded by genuine curiosity.

2. Risk opens new adventures, by moving beyond past failures. Bullies often lack mental ability to let it go or to advance opportunities.

3. Trust strengthens intuitive intelligence, that bullies often lack. Forgive personal injuries and move past doubts that hold back bullies.  Why obsess over harm you fear facing?

4. Investments visibly impact others’ offerings, through support and affirmation.  Bullies rewire mentally to mistreat others and insist on their own way.

5. Inventions offer doable approaches that resolve annoying workplace problems. Bullies tend to explode under pressure, rather than reframe problems with solutions in mind.

6. Generosity builds consensus by giving more than demanding. Bullies daily satisfy personal needs ahead of all, in the name of competition.

7. Sincerity creates opportunities for learning from all, and building on others’ talents. Bullies, in contrast,  rarely speak what they mean.

8. Wisdom rewires the brain for mindguiding benefits through mutual mentoring. Bullies avoid mindguiding possibilities while they frame most problems cynically.

9. Courage tanks popular idols and scares away sacred cows that block innovation. Bullies tend to dwell on sacred cow regrets and speak more about what could have been, while blaming others for what’s lacking.

10. Wonder invokes emotional health, builds ethical approaches that win, and rewires people for IQ growth.  Bullies use fewer intelligences yet blame others for visible personal miseries.

What mind-bending practices could create a non-bullying climate where you work?

12 Comments

  1. Ha! This reminds me of a story, Ellen. When I was a freshman in high school, one of the older kids decided to make me his personal bullying project. He’d knock me up against the side of the lockers, stare at me in an angry way in the hall as I tried to get past him, threaten me with getting “punched out,” etc. I was certainly scared of him — at first, but gradually I just got sick of his annoying behavior, and my anxious reaction to it. One day, he decided to push me around some more, so I just stopped in my tracks, looked him in the eye, and using his first name, told him in an assertive voice, “________, if you’re trying to make friends with me, this is absolutely the wrong way to do it!”

    After that, for whatever reasons, he never bothered me in that way again, and in the future actually became kind of polite.

  2. eweber says:

    Oh Dan, what a wonderful story — and it captures the essence of this entire post in favor of a new focus. Love it! Your courage and wisdom inspire settings I illustrate here — and it only takes one act of courage to prevent a bullying act!

    On another note, I smiled when I read this story because it sparked a far lesser story in my early youth:-) I was in first grade and the 4th grade boy who pushed me in a fish pond daily finally got to me too. But unlike your amazing solution, I chose the lesser path.

    I arrived at the pond crossing early, waited for my ambush plans – in a nearby tree and hit him with a rock when he appeared. That was the last time I had to pull myself out of the pond in tears, but the boy who bullied us ended up in jail by his teens.

    Your way is my adult choice and our stories – side by side here — remind me why! Thanks Dan:-)

  3. Cheryl Aldridge says:

    Very thought provoking article and much to ponder for the future. Thank you for posting it.

  4. Your story is a moving reminder, Ellen, that creating a positive workplace as a adults is one way to support people who need to also find ways to support their kids. When people are doing well at work, I believe they do better at home — and vice versa. Who knows where the ripples will spread from a drop of water in that pond!

  5. eweber says:

    That is supported well in the research Dan, as we each come with mirror neurons – http://www.brainleadersandlearners.com/mirror-neurons/more-magic-in-mirror-neurons/ – and so we mimic what we observe. Can you also see this ripple effect (either for or against bullying) across some entire work settings? Yikes – no wonder the practices are challenging to change at first try!

  6. I can remember getting a new tricycle as a five-year-old. An evidently jealous neighbor girl decided to knock me down as I rode down the sidewalk. My knee crashed to the sidewalk and caused the flesh to rip and bleed profusely. I cried and ran home to my mother. Of course she comforted me and put a band aid on my knee. My mother was shy and did not talk to the girl’s parents. I avoided that neighbor girl like the plague from that point on.

  7. eweber says:

    Robyn, what I like about your comment here is that it speaks for many, whose parents lack the strategies to guide against bullying.

    I also see this connected to supervisors at work and across many organizations who allow bullies to rule – by default – because they do nothing.

    This happened recently at a client’s workplace where we saw retreat as the hope that bullying would go away. It grew worse as a result. All to say thanks for showing another angle of the problem.

    What strategies do you think work best for leaders who currently turn away and ignore bullies – while they chew up the workplace, like the girl who dumped you off your wheels?

  8. What a great question, Ellen. Ignoring problems allows them to fester and get worse. Often I find the best answers by “picking others’ brains.” In this case, I would ask managers, supervisors and employees for tactics to redirect bullies’ motivation in a way they could gain recognition. I’ve long thought that bullies are after attention more than anything.

    Maybe asking the bully for lunch and learning what the person is most interested in, would also be a way to invest some kindness and generosity and develop a collegial relationship.

  9. Hi Ellen,
    Bullying is a topic close to my heart and head. It is starting to get the attention it deserves although there are some administrations of schools claiming it is overblown and takes too much time to investigate.

    Well I am thrilled that your scientific perspective is here for all to read. From the incident at Rutgers to the $4.3M settlement in NJ school district when a bully punch paralyzed a student (http://yhoo.it/IR1LZl )– bullying isn’t just in the eye of the beholder.

    It’s causing physical and psychological pain of epic proportions.

    Bravo Ellen for shining the light of brain chemistry on this important topic.

    Regards and thanks,
    Kate

  10. eweber says:

    Kate your point about bullying finally getting its true colors under the light makes sense. Until we make bully issues transparent – we cannot transform their toxins in any setting.

    Thanks for your kind words, Kate. I agree with you: “From the incident at Rutgers to the $4.3M settlement in NJ school district when a bully punch paralyzed a student (http://yhoo.it/IR1LZl )– bullying isn’t just in the eye of the beholder.”

    Would you agree that “physical and psychological pain of epic proportions,” can also be seen in many adult circles?

    How we can all shed even more light on brain chemistry of sincere communication – where we can disagree while at the same time building respect for all humans?

    Until adults model care more in their communication, youth will continue to suffer more from its lack. We have a way to go to eliminate bullying, but I agree there’s new hope with exposure – as you suggest! Where to from here, as you see it? Best, Ellen

  11. Louis House says:

    Love it! excellent read. So correct, we need to invest more on generating positive emotions and behavior. Negativity tends to win if you go at it head first for too long; great advice! foster healthier more creative and collaborative positive environment. Thank you!

  12. […] Research is shedding light on why some people tend toward a bully’s tone.  Use tone skills to improve mental dividends from wider differences, and bullying loses its grip. […]

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