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Managing bullies

On a recent post in the old forum, it became apparent to me that there are people here who think that bullying is 'inevitable for some people' or 'a fact of life'. I'd like to canvass opinion on that.

Personally, I think it's totally unacceptable.

Do you think it's inevitable ? How do you manage it ? Are the cultural norms on bullying different in different places ? Is flaming bullying ? When does practical jokery turn to bullying ?
WoodenTongue Send private email
Monday, September 20, 2004
 
 
==there are people here who think that bullying is 'inevitable for some people' or 'a fact of life'. I'd like to canvass opinion on that.

==> Personally, I think it's totally unacceptable.

Unacceptable or not, you ain't gonna stop it. It *is* inevitable and has been going on since the first time Grog konked Ugunda in the head with his caveman club.

It's human nature. You won't eliminate it. All you can do is deal with it.
Sgt. Sausage
Monday, September 20, 2004
 
 
==> It's human nature.
Human hah? Have you ever seen monkeys in the zoo?
From my experience as far someone is from animals as less possible this kind of behavior.
Igor
Monday, September 20, 2004
 
 
I agree with the Sgt Sausage.  Unfortunately bullies are a fact of life, but if you deal with these people head on they will stop bullying you and look for an easier target.  At least this has been my experience.
Don't be a hater!
Monday, September 20, 2004
 
 
Martial arts
Just me (Sir to you) Send private email
Monday, September 20, 2004
 
 
I've never seen anything like this. I've seen the boss intimidate his underlings into working more hours, or committing to an insane deadline, but not the grade school p2p bullying that's been described here.

I have seen some overly sensitive people think someone is out to get them, though.
Miles Archer
Monday, September 20, 2004
 
 
How is this topic related to "The business of software"??

Other than the obvious HR angle.
example Send private email
Monday, September 20, 2004
 
 
"Unacceptable or not, you ain't gonna stop it. It *is* inevitable and has been going on since the first time Grog konked Ugunda in the head with his caveman club."

Crap. You may not be able to stop the world from bullying but you can damn well stop it in the workplace. It's very simple: bullying should be a sackable offence in any workplace. Sack a few of the arseholes and the message will sink in.
Mr Jack
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
 
 
As is typical, I mostly agree with Sgt Sausage, but I modify the sentiment in the context of the workplace.

In the long run, each human being has to develop assertiveness or choose to be demeaned as a lifestyle choice.

In the context of a professional workplace (we ARE talking professional, aren't we) - in EVERY instance in which I've observed pathological bullying - it has been with the blessing of the @sshole ownership and management of the company. I say "@sshole" because owners that engineer this kind of dynamic behind the scenes tend to gloat and snicker that they're washing out the deadwood, making the cream rise, etc.

It lowers productivity by giving the most credence to the idiot most willing to start a fight and by creating a sublayer of anti-motivations to shut up and not do anything lest you provoke the office asshole.

Good people WILL leave environments like this.

Management should accept the !@^*! responsibility and clean it up... but few ever do.
Bored Bystander Send private email
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
 
 
Can't believe stuff like this happens in an office environment. 
It is disgusting even when you see it happening on the street...but when it is actually someone that you work with on an everyday basis - I think the bully should be fired.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
 
 
Yeah, it happens.

Another true story (I've actually held back on these threads.)

A co-worker was accosted one day in the lab at work by the small company's top prima donna, an engineering tech-cum programmer with a 2 year degree who invariably got his own way on everything. The guy who was being bullied was being screamed at to be accountable for a project that he was only a bit player on. The guy walked out of the building and never came back.

Management scuttlebutt about this was that the "harrassee" would have been placed on probation for walking out, and oh no never fucking mind the miserable prima donna who drove him out. The prima donna was quite lucky that the other guy (who was a rower) didn't drive his head into a workbench.

I heard snippets after the fact that management there was interested in the "productive" social engineering effects of unleashing the weenie and actively encouraged the guy to be an asshole on company time just to see what they could accomplish.

This, by the way, was a DOD contract company.
Bored Bystander Send private email
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
 
 
Bullying is harrassment, pure and simple and has to be managed alongside sexual, racial and cultural discrimination.

It does get tiresome reading company policy in the tearoom, but formal notification of policy on hiring and at boost meetings together with acceptable net usage policy, the fire drill, smoking, dress, blah blah shows the organisation has drawn a line in the sand.

This sends a signal to those who may need it, both the bullies and the bullied, that complaints will be followed up.

Despite seeming as unnecessary as signs banning spitting in the foyer, simply stating the rules is the way to start. Following up any complaints that ensue is essential.

Ignoring the problem can have messy results.
trollop
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
 
 

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