The Whimsical World of Tweet Chats: with Kate Nasser


Just spent some time checking out Kate Nasser’s leadership series that she hosts on Twitter #‎peopleskills where she addressed the issue of workplace bullying. For those of you who may have experienced it (one of her participants mentioned that Between 35% and 50% of workers have been bullied or otherwise abused at some time or another), I’d be interested to hear how you would have answered some of these. Feel free to comment:

Q1. What is workplace bullying? Is it always overt?
Q2. What is the full impact of bullying in workplace?
Q3. How do leaders/orgs. make it OK to bully at work?
Q4. What’s the diff: Being competitive vs Sabotaging someone’s work?
Q5. The bully leader vs. strong leader – The difference?
Q6. When does aggressive supervision become #‎Bullying‬?
Q7. How would you handle being bullied at work?
Q8. Is sidelining someone (minimizing their importance, making them head of the broom closet instead of offering improvement info) a form of #bullying?
Q9. Why do Bully Managers get away w/ #bullying?
Q10: What steps can leaders/teams take to ‪#‎stopbullying‬ in workplace?


1 Comment

  1. A1: Workplace bullying is not always overt. It’s a form of exclusion that’s about asserting power and using hostile or dominating behavior (incl. non verbal gestures, management directives, gossip, withholding of information, etc.) to intimidate, demean or influence peer behavior.

    A2: The effects of bullying and 2nd-hand anger trigger stress hormones which have the same effects as chronic fatigue & stress. “The stress affects performance, responsiveness and lost of attention (@FelixNater).”

    A3: “…passive #leadership, lacking in emotional intelligence (@leadershipcall).” “Sometimes the leaders ARE the bullies so it sets the example for the org (@CBechervaise).” “Leaders who believe that bullying behaviors makes everyone stronger perpetuate this plague (@katenasser).”

    A5: strong leaders promote trust and encourage teams to share accountability for making team success inclusive. Bully bosses localize authority & reward results based upon transactional interactions more than they reinforce and reward the means by which these ends are achieved. And when the leader’s example is weak, non existent or not visibly reinforced or boundaries articulated, domineering competitors can disrupt a workplace culture with sabotage when agendas and interests begin to compete against one another and no mechanisms are in place to reinforce integrity. “Sorry, no such thing as a ‘bully leader’. Fear is not leadership, no matter how much it pays (@SJAbbott).” “Bully leaders intimidate & push people down. Strong leaders encourage & lift people up (@lotus_yon).” “The strong leader has tremendous Emotional Intelligence and clear communication. The bully is stunted in both (@katenasser).”

    A6: “When it violates the rights and boundaries of the other person (@Samantha_S_Hall).” Aggressive supervision becomes bullying when the subordinate feels as if they can no longer articulate their own boundaries or that their will be retaliation or consequences if they ask for what they need resulting in a fear of using their own voice.

    A7: ” Not so easy to speak up if the bully is your boss and you need the job. Many struggle w/ this (@katenasser)!” In the past I’ve either collected evidence, then addressed the person directly (usually with digital tape recorder in tow to make sure I can’t be accused of insubordination) or I’ve reported it discreetly with supporting documentation (my preferred medium is visual surveillance); it really just depends upon the rate of incidents weighed versus the weight of risk. ” Setting boundaries is also part of documentation and reporting. Persistence is documented (@FelixNater).”

    A8: I’ve sidelined bullies I couldn’t fire to reduce the risk of them harming others or themselves until they were willing to accept training or help. I’ve always been sure to explain the process & to let them explain their needs so that we can establish safe boundaries and clear expectations for both parties. Based upon Kate’s definition, I may need to rethink this, but the intent was not meant to exclude but rather create the space for the person to articulate what is causing their frustration (most of the time is a misunderstanding about the expectations or some external factor that has nothing to do with work) but I’ve only ever really used it for employees who have shown demonstrative displays of anger or thrown tantrums to influence or demean peers. What I have done deliberately however, is actively avoided authority figures who I’ve seen display abusive or other forms of unethical behavior and trust me; the consequences have NEVER worked out in my favor. So now I just try to keep things as close to textbook etiquette when I call their character into question to minimize the risk of escalating the situation (like literally, I keep a copy of Martine’s book of etiquette in my handbag just for moments of shock or if one of my colleagues has left me so blindsided or frustrated I worry I may have occasional memory lapses).

    A9: distrust and fear. “If victims are afraid to speak up b/c of retaliation, bullies may not be identified (@tshroyer2).” Bully managers get away w/ bullying when leaders are detached from what’s happening. Fix the silos (@katenasser)!” “Bully managers get away w/ bullying when they were mentored by bully leaders (@katenasser).”

    A10: I’ve started using a bully tracking system (in addition to surveillance footage, etc & have implemented a peer mentorship program so that newer workers can go to experienced peers for help and guidance if they are afraid to speak up to a supervisor. “Between 35% and 50% of workers have been bullied or otherwise abused. We need to learn how to handle it (@AlGonzalezinfo)!” “Leaders can teach and model clarity and respect. Lead w/ honesty & civility. Leaders can #stopbullying in its tracks: Identify, Teach, and Correct. Bring bullying out in the open. Discuss it, explore it, and overcome it. @katenasser).”

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