Bullyology – The link between narcissism and bullying

Bullyology – The link between narcissism and bullying

A few years ago, I suffered extreme workplace bullying at the hands of my HR manager while working in the resources sector in the Top End. That experience was the catalyst for creating Bullyology, a global business devoted to breaking the silence on bullying and dedicated to helping business leaders and schools develop positive, healthy interpersonal relationships.

At the time, I couldn’t understand my perpetrator’s motivations. His behavior made no sense to me. It was only later that I came to understand it was all about his own insecurities and had little to do with me. Mostly, he was threatened by my successes in the workplace which undermined his power position. What’s interesting is that much later, while learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (a recognised psychological condition), I discovered that he showed all the personality traits associated with the diagnostic criteria:

  • A pattern of grandiosity and self-importance
  • An acute need to be admired
  • An absence of empathy
  • The dismissing and devaluing of others’ achievements
  • Boastful pretension
  • Angry reactions to criticism
  • Inflating of accomplishments
  • A desperate need for attention
  • Fragile self-esteem

Amazingly, my bully ticked every box (and may have added some of his own). What stood out for me most was the ‘absence of empathy’ part: he wasn’t so much unaware of the incredible hurt he was causing – he just didn’t care. There was zero emotional intelligence. He may have even deluded himself into believing that his my-way-or-the-highway approach was ‘strong leadership’. In fact, his behavior created a toxic environment, reduced productivity and sent employee morale (and emotional health) plummeting.

He was living proof that a single intimidating presence can poison the climate of an entire workforce, especially when supervisors fail to take immediate and appropriate action to stamp out unacceptable behaviours.

 

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from my insights and follow me on LinkedIn. I am passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people to break the silence.

If you would like to book me for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.

CONTACT

Email:
jessica@bullyology.com

Phone:
+61 413 265 991

GET FREE UPDATES

bullyology is a professional member of these associations:

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION logo
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON WORKPLACE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT logo
Anti Bullying Alliance logo

FEATURED IN:

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Bullyology – Blue-collar apprentices and the high price of bullying

Bullyology – Blue-collar apprentices and the high price of bullying

Being a blue-collar apprentice in Australia can be rewarding, fulfilling and lead to a profitable career – but for a few, it’s an introduction to bullying, unsafe pranks, harassment and childish initiation rituals. Bullying within the trades now receives a higher profile than in previous decades and today’s workers tend to have a better understanding of their rights, but that doesn’t mean the old-school mindset of ‘toughening up’ a new worker has disappeared completely.

Some pranks can be good-humoured and non-threatening: sending the newbie to the supply desk for ‘a set of fallopian tubes’ or ‘a left-handed hammer’ may be infantile but don’t constitute bullying (unless such requests form part of a larger campaign of ongoing harassment).
But when the line is crossed into racism, sexism, repeated intimidation, chronic belittlement, sexual harassment or other forms of sustained victimisation, a whole set of problems can arise – including expensive lawsuits. ‘Harmless fun’ isn’t harmless when it drags down workplace culture and affects employee well-being and emotional health.

Bullying of anyone in the workplace (apprentices or not) has a huge and proven negative impact. Productivity drops. There’s higher staff turnover which leads to extra training and recruitment costs. Work is disrupted while employee complaints are investigated. Morale/motivation decreases and absenteeism/presenteeism rises. There are extra costs associated with workers’ compensation claims, support, mediation and counselling. Business reputation suffers.

Current research shows that bullying costs Australia up to $36 billion each year, with the average case draining employer’s pockets to the tune of $17,000-24,000. Fines under the Workplace Health and safety Act can be as much as $3 million for a Category 1 offence. On top of all that, workplace stress costs this country more than $14 billion a year.

For everyone’s sake, we need to treat our hard-working Aussie apprentices with the respect they deserve.

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from my insights and follow me on LinkedIn. I am passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people to break the silence.

If you would like to book me for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.

CONTACT

Email:
jessica@bullyology.com

Phone:
+61 413 265 991

GET FREE UPDATES

bullyology is a professional member of these associations:

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION logo
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON WORKPLACE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT logo
Anti Bullying Alliance logo

FEATURED IN:

Lawyers Weekly Logo
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Jobsite 1
Team Women Australia 1

Bullyology – Bullying prevention: leading by example on Australia’s remote job sites

Bullyology – Bullying prevention: leading by example on Australia’s remote job sites

Working in Australia’s resources industry comes with its own unique set of challenges, especially on remote job sites. At any given moment, around 60,000 fly-in, fly-out workers are accepting these challenges to keep this country moving forward. But when the challenges include a toxic workplace culture and lack of strong leadership, the stress of living and working in a remote location can become unbearable.

How can employers and managers better support their remote-area workers so they’re happy and productive? Here are a few tips:

  • Create a workplace where safety is prioritised and where employees view each other as mates and not competitors; replace fear and uncertainty with a sense of community and teamwork
  • Take bullying incidents seriously and be prompt, assertive and upfront in dealing with negative behaviours; bullying doesn’t go away by itself – it’s stamped out with proactive leadership
  • Make safety a workplace priority and ensure your workplace promotes healthy emotional well-being as well as physical safety
  • Encourage honest, open communication based on mutual respect; employees produce their best work when they feel valued – not just as profit-making tools but as human beings with a voice
  • Isolated work environments can lead to extra stress, which means employee health is paramount; look after your employees by encouraging fun social activities, exercise and healthy eating and be attuned to their personal and professional needs by truly listening when they have issues that need discussing
  • Reward workers when the excel and earn their trust by setting an example as an advocate for positive cultural change

Workplace bullying costs time and money and can reduce a job site’s overall productivity by as much as 40%… and that’s a loss no business can afford.

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from my insights and follow me on LinkedIn. I am passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people to break the silence.

If you would like to book me for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.

CONTACT

Email:
jessica@bullyology.com

Phone:
+61 413 265 991

GET FREE UPDATES

bullyology is a professional member of these associations:

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION logo
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON WORKPLACE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT logo
Anti Bullying Alliance logo

FEATURED IN:

Lawyers Weekly Logo
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Jobsite 1
Team Women Australia 1

Bullyology – Recognising the line between bullying and banter

Bullyology – Recognising the line between bullying and banter

One of the most common excuses for workplace bullying is ‘it was only banter’. The old ‘I-was-just-joking around’ ploy underlines a major problem in the modern workplace – too many people don’t understand where playful teasing ends and hurtful bullying begins. The banter cop-out aims to shift the blame from the perpetrator to the target, suggesting they’re ‘too sensitive’, ‘thin-skinned’ or ‘can’t take a joke’.

So how do you spot the difference between playful, harmless teasing and outright bullying: sexism, homophobia, racism and other forms of victimisation?

It starts with understanding the definitions. Bullying is intentionally harmful, persistent and typically involves a power imbalance. It sets out to make a person feel worse about themselves. Banter, on the other hand, is a playful exchange of teasing remarks. It’s mutual, good-natured and grounded in friendly humour.

For example, you might tease someone about their clothing choice and they’ll reply that at least they have a love life. Or someone might kid you about being distracted by a group of women at the basketball court; you then point out that even when distracted, you can at least hit your free throws. Bantering is laughing with someone – not at them.

Essentially, the difference comes down to how the remarks make the recipient feel. Are they aimed squarely at personal insecurities? Are they a one-off teasing in private or a repeated barrage of put-downs in front of an audience? Do they make the target feel outnumbered, paint them as a social outcast or suggest they’re inferior in some way? If it hurts and it’s repetitive, it’s not banter – it’s bullying.

When a workplace colleague doesn’t know (or care) they’ve crossed the line between banter and bullying, tell them – whether you’re the manager, a bystander or the target. Because the quicker hurtful behavior is called out, the sooner it’ll stop.

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from my insights and follow me on LinkedIn. I am passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people to break the silence.

If you would like to book me for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.

CONTACT

Email:
jessica@bullyology.com

Phone:
+61 413 265 991

GET FREE UPDATES

bullyology is a professional member of these associations:

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION logo
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON WORKPLACE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT logo
Anti Bullying Alliance logo

FEATURED IN:

Lawyers Weekly Logo
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Jobsite 1
Team Women Australia 1

Bullyology – Why aren’t there more women in Australia’s construction industry?

Bullyology – Why aren’t there more women in Australia’s construction industry?

When I first moved to Australia from Wales in 2014, my first job was in the resources industry. At an oil and gas project site in the Top End, I spent nearly three years immersed in a male-dominated construction environment filled with fly-in, fly-out workers – few of whom were female.

The construction industry is the third largest employer in the country. It’s also the most male-dominated sector: about 99% of Australia’s construction tradespeople are male, and the ratio of male to female construction managers and professionals is also lopsided (roughly 9 to 1). Interestingly, these figures aren’t much different in the UK, which has the lowest proportion of female engineers in Europe.

So what does the research say about the factors inhibiting the recruitment, retention and career advancement of women in this industry? Four factors stand out:

  • Sexism
    Sexist attitudes, actions and language still permeate the construction industry; it’s harder for a woman to gain the respect of her peers.
  • Long hours and inflexibility
    Shared or part-time work arrangements are almost non-existent on construction jobsites; hours can be long and deadlines tight and a ‘work is everything’ mindset isn’t conducive to attracting females with family commitments (especially those with little ones at home).
  • Post-parental leave support
    Returning to the construction workforce after a parental leave absence can be tricky for women, even when official parental leave policies are in place. Because many companies view parental leave as a drain on productivity, there’s not much real support.
  • Gender equality
    High-level female construction managers are still rare in Australia, even though those who receive the right leadership support and mentoring can do quite well. Also, females leave the industry almost 40% faster than their male counterparts.

So what’s the answer – your thoughts?

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from my insights and follow me on LinkedIn. I am passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people to break the silence.

If you would like to book me for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.

CONTACT

Email:
jessica@bullyology.com

Phone:
+61 413 265 991

GET FREE UPDATES

bullyology is a professional member of these associations:

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION logo
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON WORKPLACE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT logo
Anti Bullying Alliance logo

FEATURED IN:

Lawyers Weekly Logo
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Jobsite 1
Team Women Australia 1

Bullyology – Are you and your business still living in the Age of Dinosaurs?

Bullyology – Are you and your business still living in the Age of Dinosaurs?

Three years ago, I ran an organizational culture campaign at the oil and gas project site where I worked in the Northern Territory. In my HR role, part of my job was to promote healthy, collaborative workplaces where individual talents and differences were respected and management was attuned to the physical and mental well-being of their employees.

The theme of this campaign was: The Dinosaur Days are Gone. It stressed that the modern workplace and society’s expectations were rapidly changing and that old-school mentalities and behaviours were outdated, unproductive and had no place in a 21st century work environment.

The campaign was well received and the message, delivered in a fun, engaging and educational manner, resonated with the target audience.

Since running that campaign and being involved with a number of businesses and industries in anti-bullying education, I’ve noticed three recurring themes:

  • Some companies are still reluctant to bring mental health and anti-bullying programs into their workplaces; as one company director told me: “It’ll just open a can of worms – it’s easier to brush it under the carpet and ignore it”.
  • Companies that value their employees have better staff retention, improved productivity and reduced absenteeism/presenteeism because they proactively embrace education and early intervention
  • Male-dominated industries still have a lot of work to do to make employees feel safe and comfortable in speaking up about mental health issues and must do more to break down ancient patterns of harmful behavior, including ‘apprentice initiations’

The dinosaur days are truly gone. Technology is changing our work landscape, Millennials are flipping long-term, one-job-for-life career ambition on its head and toxic companies are being outed on social media.

Businesses that fail to embrace positive cultural change risk becoming extinct – like the dinosaurs.

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from my insights and follow me on LinkedIn. I am passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people to break the silence.

If you would like to book me for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.

CONTACT

Email:
jessica@bullyology.com

Phone:
+61 413 265 991

GET FREE UPDATES

bullyology is a professional member of these associations:

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION logo
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON WORKPLACE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT logo
Anti Bullying Alliance logo

FEATURED IN:

Lawyers Weekly Logo
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Jobsite 1
Team Women Australia 1