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Do you think you may be the victim of Workplace bullying?

Unfortunately, workplace bullying is on the rise and the effects it has on the individual and the company as a whole is massive, costing companies time and money and employees often their health.

The dynamics are also changing with women more often being the perpetrator. Victims of bullying can be male or female and are usually good loyal staff members who have been well regarded in the past.

Bullying is a serious matter which effects people mentally and physically, symptoms include

  • Nausea, Anxiety, Headaches, Fatigue, Depression, lack of motivation

  • Reduction in self-esteem and confidence in their role.

  • Taking more time to complete tasks as they keep on checking everything they do due to fear of consequences if they make even the smallest of mistakes.

  • Lack of passion for their role and the company in general resulting in lack or focus and just working automatously which dilutes creativity, innovative thinking.

  • Emotional distance from family, friends and work colleagues.

  • Feeling inadequate, undervalued, unsupported and powerless.

  • Mental numbness, apathy.

As you can see the results are damaging not only for the employee but also the company in general.

The Perpetrators are game players who like to make themselves look better by undermining others. They climb the corporate ladder by meeting company Strategic KPI’s by unscrupulous means treading on and destroying anybody who gets in their way. To the CEO and higher management, they appear as one of the nicest most supportive employee’s, as they play and act the perfect part.

Bullies use a variety of methods to destroy anybody around them who may be a threat to them climbing the corporate ladder.

Bullies don’t target the weakest, they pick on the employees who are good at what they do, and who they perceive as a threat to their journey to the top. They are often narcissistic but on the outside come across as the most charming passionate and loyal employees.

Females often use flirting techniques to win over higher management demonstrating Charisma and passion for the decisions made at the top with an absolute passion for the company. They have perfected their acting roles and could win an Oscar for their performances in front of their leaders.

In complete contrast they use mind games to their victims and create environments to completely destroy the victims self-esteem to the point that even the victim starts to believe they are no longer capable of doing their job. This includes (amongst many other things)

  • Isolating the victim from their supportive network of work colleagues or team

  • Undermining their victim to the other team members or finding fault with their achievements in front of others.

  • They set them up to fail, by giving them a job to complete and then denying it in a team meeting to make the victim look like they are losing control.

  • They deliberately miss them out of emails or invites to meetings and berate them in front of the team for not turning up or knowing what is going on.

  • If they are the victims line manager, they may arrange meetings with them and HR or another manager and come across as supportive and caring offering to assist them with their workload to make it appear the victim is not coping with their job.

  • If others start to become suspicious that the victim is telling the truth the bully often turns it around to make it look like the victim is the bully, by crying and making up stories and scenarios where they have supposedly been victimised by the innocent party.

  • They can make a mockery of the victim, laughing at them and encouraging others to do the same.

  • They Spread vicious rumours and lies.

  • They Ignore their victim, giving them the silent treatment, rolling their eyes at them, deliberately leaving them out of conversations, so that they don’t know what’s going on and look incompetent.

NEVER underestimate a bully, they know exactly what they are doing and play the game slowly and religiously, the harder you fight the more they enjoy the challenge and will fight back.

Unfortunately, you are unlikely to win the battle against the bully. If you report it, they will make your work life hell, deny everything and find a way to come out looking good. If you win a battle against your employer through a court tribunal battle (which is extremely stressful for you and your family) when you apply for another position elsewhere you are legally obliged to disclose the fact you have taken court action against a previous employer if asked (many employment contracts, ask this question now).

So what can you do.

  • Record everything however insignificant it may seem. Dates times events, which relevant emails you have been missed from, any emails that show bully tactics, disrespect, controlling behaviour over and above your role requirements. Conversations even if just between the two of you.

  • Stop being hard on yourself. If you have had good reports prior to this person coming on

boards then know they are the problem not you.

  • Make sure others are around when conversing with the bully. This takes their power away and provides a witness to anything inappropriate.

  • Remain professional and polite at all times even though you could happily punch them on the nose.

  • Record the facts and only the facts, leave the emotion out of it unless you need to say, “This made me feel” which is also good evidence.

  • Contact your union or HR early on to highlight the problem, don’t wait until it becomes unbearable.

  • Demand to have a support person with you if the bully wants to discuss your performance in private avoid one on ones whenever possible.

  • If management suggest mediation bring a support person (I suggest a union rep or someone who knows about the legalities of the situation). Bring all of your evidence along and be prepared to discuss every piece. This will help to paint a clear picture of the type of behaviour the bully is displaying and help you in your case.

  • Don’t let others define who you are. Their opinion is just that “Their opinion” do not take this as fact.

Look for another job.

I know that feels like the bully is winning but honestly even if your employer does support you, if the bully still works in the same regional office things are going to always feel uncomfortable. Unless the bully leaves things are unlikely to change apart from the fact the bully will be more careful not to be found out, but the challenge will be on to continue undetected by anybody but you.

This might be the opportunity to move on to better things. I have myself been the victim of a bully twice in my long career and the bully has actually done me a favour in the sense it made me leave my job and enjoy a much happier environment, I will never be a victim of work place bullying again it’s a horrible unhappy, unhealthy position to be in and no employer is worth making your life miserable for.

What your employer should do

As soon as you report bullying to HR or your union they have a legal obligation to investigate. They

need to do this in a way that makes you feel safe which doesn’t mean telling you to get over it or to drag you into a room with the bully to talk it out. Your employer will need to follow process as outlined in their systems and procedures. They may suggest mediation in which case you are entitled to a support person.

They may need to talk to both parties separately and may also involve other staff members who have witnessed anything which may be of help.

If they are a good employer they will find a way to relocate one of you to avoid future confrontation and that might solve the problem, until they start on some other poor victim.

The employer should take things into consideration when investigating, for example if the employee has been with them for some time with no problems and a more recent employee has changed the dynamics of the team, this should be looked into as a new staff member can easily upset team flow.

Ignoring it is NOT an option.

Work related stress costs the workplace. The New Zealand Herald reported

‘When it came to wellness the number of days lost in 2014 were 6.7 million working days, up from 6.1 million in in 2012. The average number of absentee days per employee was 4.7 - amounting to a national cost of $1.4 billion in 2014.’

Looking after your mental health during or after this stressful time

It is vital that you find a way to maintain your self-esteem, confidence and mental clarity throughout the process or during any work related stressful situation. Meditation, Mindfulness, and Exercise are all useful tools to keep those damaging negative thoughts and high levels of cortisol from running into your body, causing your muscles to tighten, your heart to race and your stomach to malfunction.

For further help and information contact me

Kymberley Carter-Paige AMHNZ, AAAH

Rapid Transformation Therapist


Professional Speaker/lecturer in mind based training and personal happiness.

Rapid Transformation Therapist


Professional Speaker/lecturer in mind based training and personal happiness.

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