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Bullies Must Be Confronted and Managed

Bullies must be confronted and managed effectively. (Americans have not been trained to handle bullies.)


When they go low, We go high

- Michelle Obama


 “Never wrestle with a pig because you'll both get dirty and the pig likes it." 

- George Bernard Shaw

Positive energy is much more powerful than negative energy. If you stay positive, the negativity can't touch you (from Goodreads).


The Joke by Brandi Carlile:


They can kick dirt in your face. Dress you down, and tell you that your place,

I see you tugging on your shirt. Trying to hide inside of it and hide how much it hurts.

I have been to the movies, I've seen how it ends. And the joke's on them.

I have seen you shine.


Introduction

Most Americans can barely manage relationships with “reasonable people;” that is, people who conform and follow societal norms and the rules.  Many know how to deal with goal-oriented negotiators. They are not trained how to deal with liars, criminals, law breakers, and lastly, the subject of this blog entry, “Bullies.” Negotiators enjoy dealing with collaborative negotiators, but what about aggressive bullying negotiators; that is, the “take-no-prisoners” negotiation approach?


Goal-Oriented Negotiation

At the George Washington University School of Law negotiation is taught in the goal-oriented fashion. This means that all of the goals of the parties are identified. A successful negotiation is when all goals have been substantially achieved or exceeded.


Students are taught to be “Effective Negotiators;” that is, flexible, adaptable, and creative.  But, research shows that effective negotiators can expect:


  • 40% of the negotiations to be collaborative aka “the ideal,”

  • 20% compromising

  • 20% accommodating,

  • 5% avoiding and

  • 5% aggressive.   


Management of bullies:  It is bold, brave, and sometimes dangerous, but bullies must be confronted from the “get-go;” that is, nip it in the bud. Bullies adhere to the saying, “Give an inch, take a mile.” In other words, let President Vladimir Putin take Crimea; next, Ukraine; next, Estonia, Poland and long live the reinvigorated USSR!


Management of Bullies is Necessary. If these bullies are not managed, the situations will cause much stress. It is estimated that 80% of doctor visits emanate from stress, which causes many health issues and exacerbates pre-existing conditions.


Bullies are ubiquitous.


Bullies can be found all over the world and in every segment of society:

  • Law enforcement, police, and military

  • International, like President Putin

  • National politics: Mitch McConnell bullied Obama

  • Schools, colleges, universities, fraternities, and sororities

  • Workplace

  • Neighborhoods

  • Local politics: ANC Leroy Thorp and ANC Columbia Heights.

  • Churches: (Mormons-California, etc.)

  • Television, movies, media


School bullying example resulting in suicide in Oklahoma City  

16 year-old Nex Benedict identified as nonbinary. Nex was teased and bullied unmercifully.  There was a restroom fight. Three girl bullies attacked leaving a head injury. Later, 911 was called for Nex at home and it was ruled a suicide by overdosing on two toxic drugs.


“Bullying and harassment have a significant impact on students and, tragically, many of these youths believe that suicide is the only option for peace,” said Brandon Dilawari, a case manager at Rainbow Youth Project USA, an Indiana-based group that aims to improve the safety and wellness of LGBTQ+ young people. “This is not an isolated incident by any means.”


University hires bully dean, former military

D was hired seemingly because of her military background. She transferred these bully skills to the universities. D was never concerned about the quality of teaching but was concerned about each thing the professors did in their daily routine. D went after the older professors.   D’s power base was her younger age and being ex-military.


Politics:

Example One: Former President Donald Trump: Morning Joe Scarborough declares that if anyone else had instigated the January 6th Insurrection, stole nuclear documents, interfered with Georgia presidential election phone call, etc., they would have been convicted.  MJ reminds folks that Trump declared that he could murder someone on Park Avenue, NYC and get by with it. Joe agrees.


Trump with his attorneys are playing the legal system. Author Anand Giridharadas (The Ink) declares Trump pursues “mafia law.”


Trump not born a bully. He was created. There are many psychological terms that could be used to describe Trump. Bully is one of them. Bully Trump was probably trained and created by Father Fred. Father, by all reports, was brutal with low emotional intelligence. He wanted Trump to be a winner and a killer.  Dad subjected Trump to abuse and humiliation and finally sent him to military school where Trump perfected his bully skills, beating on cadets with broom handles, according to his niece Mary Trump.


Trump was rewarded with the US Presidency and now the republican presidential nomination.  


Example Two: US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (MM):  MM was devastated by the election of Barak Obama. Directly after the election, MM was asked by the media about his #1 priority in the new year. It was not international peace, ending world hunger, ending child poverty, etc. Instead, he declared his #1 priority was to ensure that Obama would be a one-term President. He pursued that declaration for 8 years.


What was Obama’s response? Obama spent 8 years trying to negotiate with MM. MM denied Obama a US Supreme Court nomination, unethically.


Obama’s response?  Obama nominates a lukewarm Merritt Garland thinking this guy would appeal to both parties, but alas, MM scheduled no hearing. Obama lost.


An assertive approach for Obama. Obama could have nominated 36 year-old black female California Supreme Court Justice. Obama could have walked her from Senate office to Senate office defying any Senator to deny a meeting with the first black female nominated.  Obama could have then stated that the US Senate did not do their duty to “advise and consent” so he is swearing her in and walking her to her office at the US Supreme Court.


Example Three:  Ohio Congress Member Jim Jordan.

When many think of JJ, they use terms like loudmouth, jerk, rude, loud, troublemaker. His recent unsuccessful campaign to be US Speaker of the House consisted of threats, bullying, and badgering.


Jordan menaced with threats delivered through allies. And no one—especially not members of Congress who control their fiefdoms of roughly 700,000 constituents—likes a bully…And his personality is one that can grate even friends, sparing few words for pleasantries and looking beyond himself infrequently. And Jordan is far from a masterful legislator, having passed exactly zero bills during his nine terms in Washington. The threats of primary challengers and mean tweets proved his critics correct when they argued he is a petty man who is not to be trusted. “Threats and intimidation tactics will not change my principles and values,” Rep. Jen A. Kiggans wrote, noting she had already voted twice against Jordan and his approach to governing by browbeating. Added Rep. Kay Granger: “Intimidation and threats will not change my position.”


His role in inciting the January insurrection is still suspect since he defied the Congressional subpoena by the J6 Committee.


In his background is the 177 males who were abused by the Ohio State University Doctor when JJ was Assistant Coach. JJ denies knowing anything. At least 6 students claim they told JJ specifically and he ignored their complaints.


Example Four: District of Columbia Advisory Neighborhood Commissions: DC is unique in many political ways. One, is that they have a myriad of neighborhood commissioners.    These commissioners are elected, receive no pay, and their only power is “advice” to the city government. Still, some folks really want this elusive power. Many times a bully (like LT) walk about with their posse of thugs threatening anyone who is rumored to run against them. These incidents have been reported to the Election Board and nothing happens.


Community, HOA (Home Ownership Associations) Bullies:

Example One: L becomes the Condo Association President. L behaves as if L is Condo King.  Everyone must obey or suffer the consequences. L even had the management association bullied by threatening to change management. Only L’s obedient colleagues ran for board positions. If one got in L’s way, L would find a way to fine them. Part of L’s power base is that L, as an attorney, created the HOA documents including the Bylaws and Rules and Regulations. (Some HOA Bullies become powerful by becoming the documents experts of which most home owners are barely familiar.)


Thirty percent or 74.1 million homeowners are subject to an HOA. This is up 35X from 1970, when it was 2.1 million. There may be 350,000 HOAs.


Law Enforcement, Police, Military

These areas seem to attract bullies or maybe create them, perhaps because of their organizational structure?


Example One: Movie,Concerned Citizens, Tel Aviv:  Police are called because two Illegal immigrants are leaning against a public street tree. The police arrive declaring that these two are damaging public property. One runs. Police chase. He falls. Police basically kick him to death and then cover it up.


Example Two: TV  Series, The Mire, Poland:  Chief of Police bullies all. He calls employees whores, broads, c—ts, cripples…He makes such statements to employees as "Do me a favor and f__k off!" It seems as if this system highly rewards bullies.


Bullies in these fields are most scary since they have real power: the power to arrest, to charge, to give false witness, to falsify evidence, etc.


International

Example One: President Vladimir Putin of Russia

In 2014, Russia held an illegal election and annexed Crimea.  What was the international response? Ukraine condemned the actions as a violation of international law and previous Russian agreements on Ukrainian borders. The United States and the European Union issued sanctions. Russia was expelled from the G8.  


Regrettably, sanctions did not work. Former Treasury Official Steve Radner clearly lays out how Russia found ways around the sanctions.


Many would say the weak approach to the 2014 Russian annexation set the stage for the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Some defend the weak response declaring that 63% of Ukraine favored the annexation.


Example Two: China

The dictatorship of China has pursued a campaign of dominance and expansion through threats and actions. US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emmanuel declares that China is in conflict with every neighboring country from the Philippines to Australia. To balance the power, the unbelievable has happened:


  • Post WWII, the historically non-military Japan has now militarized - spending 2% of their GDP on the military (the third largest in the world).

  • Seemingly mortal enemies, South Korea and Japan have been brought together with a treaty orchestrated by the United States.


(Russia can also be considered to be a Bully country. This is covered under Putin. Also, this bullying has caused an unbelievable action: Sweden and Finland joining NATO.)


Television: Morning Joe Scarborough

A non-evil, non-dangerous bully probably is JS. His power seems to emanate from his being 6’4,” net worth $25, and many would consider handsome. On MJ, he is quite a bully as he orders people not to show certain videos, or he constantly interrupts and he constantly overtalks.


Churches and Religion Bullying

Some might claim that most religions at the roots are resting on a bed of bullying. With most religions, logic and facts have been thrown to the wind. They bully followers to simply believe and contribute their monies.


Example One: Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and California Proposition

2010 The Mormon Proposition Documentary: According to The New York Times, the film "uncovers the classified church documents and the largely concealed money trail of Mormon contributions that paid for a high-powered campaign to pass Proposition 8, noting that "Mormons raised an estimated $22 million for the cause." Proposition 8 overturned several local court rulings and posited that the definition of marriage was between a man and woman. In 2010, the federal court ruled “8” to be unconstitutional in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Constitution.


What are the behaviors of Bullies?

Some common examples of bullying behavior include:


  • Talking badly about someone behind their back (online or in person)

  • Teasing someone, calling them names, giving nasty looks or making rude gestures

  • Spreading rumours or lies about someone (online or in person)

  • Hurting someone physically by pushing, hitting, slapping, ganging up on or restraining them

  • Excluding someone from a group (online or in person)

  • Harassing someone because of their race, sex, religion, gender or a disability

  • Sharing embarrassing photos of someone online

  • Posting mean things about someone on social media

  • Harassing someone online with comments or DMs, or in person by intimidating them or following them.


Bullies Always Have a Power Base

Bullies’ power emanates from many sources:


  • Sometimes physical size or mental acumen

  • Organizational structure

  • Political structure

  • Followers


Bully-Victims:  Domestic violence may be an extreme subset of bullies. Most abusers have been abused, usually during childhood. In many ways they are taught, usually by their male household figures, how to bully and how to abuse.


One person stated that he bullied in school because he was bullied by his father and he was trying to hide his gayness.


Some say, "Show me a bullying kid, and I will show you a bullying dad."


ChatGPT/Open AI on Managing Workplace Bullies

Confronting a workplace bully can be a challenging and delicate situation, but it's important to address the behavior in a constructive and assertive manner. Here are some steps you can take:


  1. Document the behavior: Keep a record of specific instances of bullying, including dates, times, what happened, and any witnesses. Documentation can be valuable if you need to escalate the issue.

  2. Assess the situation: Determine if the behavior is a one-time occurrence or a pattern. Consider the severity of the behavior and its impact on your well-being and work performance.

  3. Address the behavior directly: Find a private and safe space to talk to the bully. Remain calm and assertive, and use "I" statements to express how their behavior is affecting you. For example, "I feel uncomfortable when you make derogatory remarks about me in front of others."

  4. Set boundaries: Clearly communicate what behavior is unacceptable and specify the consequences if the behavior continues. Be firm but professional.

  5. Seek support: If you feel uncomfortable confronting the bully alone or if the behavior persists, seek support from a trusted colleague, supervisor, or HR department. They can provide guidance and intervene if necessary.

  6. Follow company policies: Many workplaces have policies and procedures in place for addressing bullying and harassment. Familiarize yourself with these policies and follow the appropriate steps for reporting and resolving the issue.

  7. Take care of yourself: Dealing with workplace bullying can be stressful and emotionally draining. Practice self-care and seek support from friends, family, or a counselor if needed.

  8. Consider external resources: If the situation cannot be resolved internally or if you feel your safety is at risk, you may need to consider seeking assistance from external resources such as labor unions, legal counsel, or government agencies.


Remember that confronting a workplace bully requires courage and self-advocacy. It's essential to stand up for yourself while also seeking a resolution that promotes a positive and respectful work environment.

 

  1. Stay calm. The first thing to remember is to stay calm and not let your emotions get the best of you.

  2. Talk It Out. Have a private discussion between the board and the member in question.

  3. Stay Neutral.

  4. Remove the Person.

 

Manage bullies by balancing the power

University Example:  In the example above, the older professor contacted the union, filed claims via the union and filed claims per local government. University management finally decided that it was too much trouble and moved the bully into a non-supervisory capacity.

 

Government Example:  J had worked diligently for a federal government entity and was relatively happy until the bully boss was hired. Of course, the bully boss ingratiated themselves to the higher echelons. So, J became the union steward and suddenly everything changed. Multiplicity of claims were filed against the bully boss until management finally determined it was too much trouble and moved the Bully Boss. (Note, they moved rather than terminated. This is typical so now the bully boss can bully a whole new set of employees who may not know how to balance the power.)

 

Managing bullies by moving on

Sometimes, especially in the workplace, one needs to be realistic, update the resume,and LinkedIn page, and simply move on.  One must be realistic. If the bully boss is entrenched or has ingratiated themselves with management, the bully boss may be here to stay. If one stays, the stage is set for much workplace stress that could lead to health issues.

 

Are there any benefits to bullying?

Author Angelo Baaco does a yeoman’s job in stretching to identify the possible benefits of bullying. He refers to some successful folks who cite their past experiences with bullying as providing a motivator to be better at some skill. He wonders whether bullying may fuel success? He suggests that maybe some bullying teaches conflict resolution skills? Baaco comes from a male, account manager, technical, sales, software perspective.

 

Most likely these incentives can be provided by other challenges beyond the unnecessary bullying.

 

Conclusion

So, bullies are everywhere. Bullies are not born; they are created. Often, they have been victims themselves. Most people would rather not deal with them. If that is possible, do so.   Get away from this toxicity. Moving on might be the best case scenario. In many cases, this is not possible and they must be managed. Bully management is necessary and bold, sometimes dangerous. If they are not managed, much stress may be endured resulting in many health issues.

 

THE JOKE song written by Brandi Marie Carlile et al:

I saw your eyes behind your hair. And you're looking tired, but you don't look scared.

Let 'em laugh while they can. Let 'em spin, let 'em scatter in the wind.

I have been to the movies. I've seen how it ends. And the joke's on them

 

Resources:

See Recommended Books under “Blogs” drop down menu.  


Roy J. Lewicki is the author of 'Essentials of Negotiation', published 2015 under ISBN 9780077862466 and ISBN 0077862465.  Publisher: McGraw Hill Higher Education


The Conflict Resolution Training Program, Leader’s Manual,  ISBN:  0-7879-6077-2.  Prudence Bowman Kestner and Larry Ray


5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.

 

Getting Your Way Every Day.


 

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