Expect to Bypass Bullies and Cynics at Work

      24 Comments on Expect to Bypass Bullies and Cynics at Work

Susan Boyle  shut down because of bullies in her youth.  New York Times tells us bullies and cynics are on the rise. Any stomped out innovation because of cynics or bullies where you work? Sometimes we tend to take cynicism, rage and intimidation of bullies in stride. Other times, we call on ethical practices to challenge their mistreatment and confront their discrimination of vulnerable peers. Each time people passively allow bullying or cynicism, they likely promote more tragic traits from toxic minds. How so?

With every browbeating behavior, bullies and cynics literally rewire their brains for more toxins. Be that language that excludes other views, beliefs that fight for one side only, laughter that discriminates against others, wealth that devalues people in financial need, and intellects that demand personal opinions over opposing views from those who differ.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way.

My question is, what goes on within a bully’s or cynic’s mind? We’ve all seen bullies flaunt violent, reactive behavior, and many have read studies similar to that in ScienceDaily, where researchers identify brain chemicals associated with aggression. Will bullying diminish because we now know how a bullying brain operates?

Perhaps new guides such as nanotech simulation, which implants and guides skills for appropriate behavior, will lead to better treatment for problems of violence. Do you see it happening?

When caught early – bullying stands a better chance of fleeing. It starts often with thoughts and words for power – and can move from there to lead the bully to road rage, rape, and even shootings.

Fear is often the handmaiden of aggression. When fear plagues people daily through perceived lack of security,  Bruce Schneier, author and world leader on computer security  says, they tend to stop thinking sensibly about real security. They’re less apt to consider how to create genuine safety, and more apt to protect their turf at any cost. Do you know bullies who operate on such fears?

When bullies get away with fear tactics at work, negative behavior spreads rapidly. FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program shows violent crimes up 2.3 percent in 2005 and 1.9 percent in 2006, the first steady increase since 1993. Driven by fear, people make poor decisions yet fail to take risks needed for progress. Some people suggest that war and violence are rooted in fear. Fear also creates waste as people hoard materials and miss investments with longer term dividends.

Research shows how brain structures that involve moral judgments tend to be damaged in violent bullies. It’s also true that aggression creates changes in the brains of both aggressors and their victims. Not surprisingly, people who suffer aggression from bullies, also  show increased vulnerability to depression and immune-related illnesses.

Is there any protection against bullies where you work?

Holidays can be the worst time for depression and loneliness to spawn! But it doesn’t have to be this way, if you create space for mindfulness, stress shrinks by default!

New studies from the University of California, San Diego, give a sharper image of what goes on in the brains of bullies who respond with inappropriate anger and aggression to perceived threats. Preliminary findings from these studies suggest that such behavior is associated with a hyperactive response in the amygdala, an area of the brain that processes information regarding threats and fear. With  less activity in the frontal lobe, a brain region linked to decision-making and impulse control, bullies see situations more from their own needs and act to get what they want, regardless of consequences to others.

If brains of bullies and their victims rewire by aggressive on-the-job behavior, how could a person or firm, or nation rewire for more peaceful solutions?  The opposite of bullying at work – is openness to beneficial opportunities for all. Those noble prospects that remain hidden when a bully fuels fears and adds toxic mental chemicals.

What tactics do you use to unleash brainpower beyond Seas of Cynicism where you work?

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Smart skill 23 = Expect Peace in Brain Based Bits
Smart skill 24 = Expect to Bypass Bullies Where you Work
Smart skill 25 = Expect Vision to Fuse Racial Differences
Smart skill 26 = Expect Calm Under Pressure
Smart skill 27 = Expect Brain Benefits from Humor
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24 thoughts on “Expect to Bypass Bullies and Cynics at Work

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  8. eweber Post author

    Thanks for your comments Philly and the reminder that many people confront bullies that reduce productivity and break spirits at work.

    You raised a vital necessity central to all secondary school and university curriculum. They work well in any corporation too!

    The virtues you refer to here are included in every person’s brain through intrapersonal intelligence, and can be taught daily through empowering strategies that inspire the practices of virtue in oneself, in others and in the wider community. It’s daily and it’s deliberate if embedded in all content taught or practices valued.

    These include love, kindness, justice, service – and values agreed upon by people of all faiths and cultures. To mentor with the brain in mind, for instance, is to embed these strategies that deepen people’s intrapersonal connection with values that give direction to what and how they learn or do.

    At MITA Brain Center, for instance, we do this by building what Dr. Nell Noddings refers to as caring communities and these can be cultivated in every learning setting, to ensuring that virtue is part of the strategies learned as people investigate solutions to problems and at the same time cultivate virtue in themselves and others.

    Perhaps it would be worthwhile sharing how others cultivate virtues as core to all problem solving.

  9. Philly

    There use to be so many bullies where I worked. They always did whatever they wanted and got away with it somehow. I am glad I don’t work at a factory anymore!

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  21. eweber Post author

    Ricky what a deeply thoughtful look at the whole problem and possibilities related to bullying in today’s workplace! You build a good case for the fact that we often reward bullies and that rewarding only furthers the problem of this trend.

    While bullies are not always connected to rank – you show how they certainly can be – and that makes it even harder to live with the problems associated with aggression.

    Thanks also for reminding us of the links between fear and bullying! You are so right — we cannot change others – but neither do we have to let bullies win! Your thoughtful insights help us to understand how to work together against this horrid tendency. Thanks for modeling the kind of leadership that inspires growth beyond the limitations of bullies!

  22. Ricky Netherton

    Do you think that bullying can be a learned response? In the military basic training training instructors are taught to train recruits with bullying tactics. Once the recruit continues on in their service time they are promoted to higher rank and given more responsibility over more people. Since everyone that is in the military came through basicly the same basic training it seems that all are wired to either be the bully or to receive the bullying according to the rank they have. Once the person leaves the military this behavior does not leave all of them and carries on into the civilian work place. They become driven by their fear of losing their job and power and feel the only way to retain it is to bully their subordinates. I just survived twenty eight years of working for a person like this I understood him because I was also in the military, but I could not change him because he outranked me in the civilian world.

  23. eweber Post author

    Interesting distinctions here. Thanks for the way you model leadership on the other side of challenges that people can bring to a team, Michael. Negative behavior is rarely easy to work with and it takes longer to move a team forward when it manifests. So glad that people like you – continue to show how we can get past problems though.

    A great deal has to do with learning the tone that allows for disagreement – while at the same time respecting others in the team. Have you too found that when folks lack the tone skills for effective communication, they tend to act like “jerks” as you state – with far more frequency. Love the challenges of the work we do, but grateful for fellow leaders who meet the challenges with great results!

  24. michael cardus

    I wish I had a solid solution to decreasing rates of bullying at work. I blogger earlier about an episode of “this american life”, where a college hired a confederate to ruin team work through various behaviors. One of these was a “jerk” i feel the bully and jerk are similar and still different.
    One skill that the researchers said that worked in a team atmosphere was an effective leader. Who has the ability to silence the jerks negative comments and at the same time ask questions and create enagement with all the team members. Perhaps as you mentioned in the post once the brain of the jerk stopped recieveing reinforement it stopped being a jerk?
    Also when the leaders were able to model effective skills for mitigating the jerks negative behaviors the other team members brains were able to mimic this behavior and “follow the leader”.

    This is a tough question – that I feel is lost once we become adults.

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