Bullying is commonly identified with the abuse of physical or hierarchical power.
Yet there is also bullying from below, and its effects can be just as harmful. Subordinates often demonstrate just how easy it is to make a manager’s job impossible.
A young warehouse supervisor once told me he’d been driven to despair by a couple of bullies-from-below who would perform each task only to the minimum standard required – which, of course, was within their legal rights. It took eight months before he was allowed to have one of them transferred to another department. The remaining one got bored with playing the game on his own, so the matter resolved itself.
I told him that a specialist bullying counsellor might have solved his problem a bit quicker than that. External support like this may be necessary at times, and it is not a sign of weakness to request it.
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