Controversial I know, but since my teenage days, when I came across a tape of Mohammed Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle fight against George Foreman, I’ve been inspired by Ali’s legendary rope-a-dope and boxing in general.
The rope-a-dope technique is where a boxer covers up, lying with his back to the ropes, allowing his opponent to take pot-shots at his defences. After a number of rounds, the opponent assumes the guy on the ropes has no fight in him. Maybe he wonders if the guy is ill. He unloads his punches. He goes to town on the weaker athlete. Pretty soon, the busy boxer wears himself out. It’s a tiring business punching away at something round after round. And it gets boring. It’s at this point that the guy on the ropes jumps out from his defensive guard and fights back with everything he’s got. Surprise!
Ali’s rope-a-dope is a now an accepted strategic move in any competitive situation outside sport. One party deliberately appears to put themselves in what looks like a losing position, but only does so with a view to winning in the end.
I’m only talking about this because the non-pugilist rope-a-dope is what I’d recommend anyone do when they’re targets of workplace bullying.
A friend of mine recently asked what I thought about them trying to expose their bully to the press or TV. They wanted revenge or justice. It’s understandable, but not advisable. It’s not our job to punish our colleagues for their antisocial behaviour, however appealing the idea might be.
We need to find a solution, whilst not showing any fight or aggression. Patience is the name of the game. Bide your time observing. Think about what you can do to get yourself out of the unpleasant situation. In the meantime, when they make a mistake, which they inevitably will, you can tell it like it is and people will pat you on the back.
Simply give them enough rope-a-dope to hang themselves, and you may find they do it all for you.
- Bullied By The Boss
- Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."