I was in the first year of my Engineering school maybe, when I watched the Lindsay Lohan movie “Mean Girls”. I know for the longest time it was one of my favorite movies to re-watch. I adore Tina Fey’s work and that movie had a really poignant point to make: How to not become a Mean Girl Yourself?“
Why are we talking about a High School Movie?
Well, you might be wondering why I am writing about a High School movie? Sometimes you come across a ring leader in high school, with a bunch of followers. She thinks she can get her way because she has a bunch of followers who will laugh with her and do mean things with her. Why is it relevant here?
Because be it in your teens or tweens or at your work, these high school bully ring leader Girl still exists. If you escaped her in your high school that does not mean you cannot come across her in your adulthood.
Why is it relevant to spot this workplace bully?
The Research in this publication by The University of Tennessee, Knoxville says:
According to the 2017 Workplace Bullying Institute U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey that was conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) in June 2017, nineteen-‐‑percent of Americans are bullied at work, another 19% witnessed workplace bullying, and 61% percent of Americans are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace. Workplace bullying affects at least 60 million Americans.
According to 2017 U.S Workplace Bullying survey results, 70% of women who reported to have faced some kind of workplace bullying are by another female colleague.
So the Mean Girls are for real.
Also, bullying can seriously affect your mental health, your performance at work and your motivation to do better.
You will not be performing to best of your abilities knowing that people are hostile around you.
Workplace bullying can also negatively impact your self-confidence and the adverse consequence will be your professional growth being stunted.
So it is important to spot these bullies and stop them from ruining your professional life.
Are you a bully yourself?
This article is not about how to spot the bully in your workplace but rather focusing on the attributes of whether or not you are being a bully yourself.
Like I mentioned before, you did not leave this “Mean Girl” back in your high school. It is very possible that she is here where you work or the worse “You are her”
Very much like the movie “Mean Girls” she tends to operate in a clique, spread rumors, tries to be the victim, blames others for her misdeeds and treats everyone else with disdain.
Does not seem like anyone would want to be her right? But here are some of the attributes described below which you can evaluate yourself and see if you are behaving like the bully or not:
1. You like to play the blame game
If you are late for the presentation that was due today, instead of owning up to your faults, you would like to point fingers at someone else. It is completely fine to screw up sometimes and I am sure everyone has been there once. It is not fine to point fingers at someone else for your own screw-up.
2. You like to gossip about people’s issues and get your “endorphins” from it
Do you like to gossip about your colleague and try to use it against them next time you get a chance? You are definitely the office mean girl. If you have a company of people who like to do it, do not lend your ears to such a conversation. Toxic conversations do not contribute to any productivity.
3. You are not a team player when it comes to group projects
When you are part of any group projects you tend to not listen to any ideas. You like to do things your way, If this is one of the traits you have you are definitely a bully. A group project is a place where everyone’s ideas need to be heard. If you are shutting other people down, you are definitely the Mean Girl.
4. You look through your co-workers
Do you look through your co-workers? Do you make it obvious by giving them a cold shoulder? If that is the case you are definitely the workplace bully that no one wants to be around. This habit is not similar to being an introvert but by demeaning other people’s existence.
5. You operate with a bunch of other people and form a clique
It is not wrong to be part of the same group of people who grab their lunch together or their coffee together. But if you tend to do all those things described above with a group of people, then it is a problem. Also, at work it is always advised to network out and meet new people for best career advancement.
In conclusion I would like to say that it is extremely tempting to become a bully yourself, given that the workplace competition is fierce.
Also, sometimes when you are not brave enough to stand out of the crowd it is easier to live in the shadow of someone more powerful. That way you are also supporting the bully.
Workplace bullying is a serious problem and many incidents do not get reported. When you see any bullying incident, make sure to raise the concern with the right personnel so that things can be addressed at its earliest.