Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Friends and Allies: Antidotes to Bullying

A wonderful woman told me a success story this week.

A few years ago, when she still worked in corporate America, a friend and colleague in her workplace was targeted by an especially large and self-important man. As the bullying continued, the target’s friends and allies began to rally around her and looked for ways to stop the bully. For almost a year, working their way up the hierarchical ladder level by level, they presented the situation to superiors but couldn’t get responses. Eventually, they learned the tightest bottleneck was two levels below the CEO and was also his cousin.

Because the cousin intercepted all their messages and attempts, they decided they would try to reach the CEO directly, but with no success, until one day when the CEO personally answered his phone. He actually took time to listen to the caller’s story and agreed to investigate. The happy result was that the bully, the cousin, and two of their buddies were fired.

Research indicates that in 83 percent of cases, the target is driven out and the bully remains. This woman’s story of success is rare in the world of workplace bullying, and it shows what ongoing support of friends and allies can do.

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