Eugh! Did anyone else read Guy Browning’s article in the Guardian? I missed it in August, but someone just sent me the link.
I’ve given a brief description below, but I’ve put the link at the bottom of my blog in case you don’t quite believe what you’re reading. This is the second article of this kind I’ve read in the past few weeks. The theme of this disturbing trend is that if you’re bullied at work, you’ve only got yourself to blame.
Tip 1 from Guy Browning:
‘If you tour the workplace asking if people hate you, you're very likely to encourage people to do exactly that even if they only found you mildly irritating before...Office workers who worry about workplace rejection generally don't have a grip on how to operate in the workplace’.
I was subject to one of the worst cases of workplace bullying – but I never once ran around asking if people hated me before it happened. I couldn’t have cared less. After the bullying started, however, I did worry about workplace rejection. And the worse the bullying got, the more I worried.
Guy, it seems, is a bit of an amateur when it comes to workplace psychology. Anyone with an ounce of emotional intelligence will realise that a significant lack of confidence and self worth are the result of emotional abuse – not the reason it happens. Worrying that our colleagues hate us is one effect of bullying - not the cause.
Furthermore, is he really saying that had I followed the unwritten social rules, my boss wouldn’t have put 2 packets of Paracetamol in his draw and encouraged me to take them? Doesn’t it make more sense that there might have been something terribly amiss with my boss? And if you’re being bullied at work the chances are, there’s something wrong with yours.
Sadly, Guy’s insights into workplace bullying don’t stop there.
Tip 2 from Guy Browning:
‘The truth is that people don't hate you until one of two things happens. Firstly, you show that you already hate yourself and that others are welcome to jump on the bandwagon. Or...you show very quickly how much you like other people.’
I might send Guy Browning my book. It’s all I can think of to dissuade him from using phoney psychology designed to make targets of bullying feel like everything is their fault.
For years it’s been recognised that there’s a link between workplace bullying and domestic violence. Just imagine the outcry if he told battered spouses it was their fault. It wouldn't happen if they just obeyed the the rules of the house. Twenty years ago, I’ll bet some guy just like Guy Browning wrote an article along the lines of:
“If your husband/wife is terrorising you, then it’s because you’re self loathing and needy”.
I’m so disappointed the Guardian published this. I’ll say it again and I’ll keep saying it.
DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF. BLAME ONLY THE COMPANY YOU WORK FOR – AND DON’T FORGET TO BLAME IGNORANT JOURNALISTS WHO DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD!