Let’s identify some key elements of a bully in the following list, adapted from Witheridge’s (2001: 4) outline of open versus hidden bullying.

Open Bullying Behaviours

  1. Physical violence
  2. Shouting or swearing at someone in public or private
  3. Instant rages over trivial matter
  4. Humiliating someone in front of colleagues
  5. Ignoring or isolating someone in public deliberately
  6. Ignoring the other person’s point of view
  7. Labelling and name calling
  8. Personal insults or ridicule
  9. Sarcasm
  10. Smear campaigns

Hidden Bullying behaviours

  1. Constantly undervaluing victim’s efforts
  2. Persistent criticism of victim
  3. Setting deadlines for someone that are impossible to achieve
  4. Moving goal posts
  5. Withholding information and then blaming person for ignorance
  6. Spreading malicious unfounded rumours
  7. Ignoring, excluding and isolating a person
  8. Making threats
  9. Removing areas of responsibility for person for no real reason
  10. Giving menial or trivial tasks to person
  11. Stealing ideas and credit for achievements
  12. Giving too little or too much work
  13. Blocking promotion opportunities
  14. Refusing reasonable requests for holidays, training or assistance with workloads

Do you recognise this behaviour in others you work with? Do you recognise some of these behaviours that you may exhibit at work?