Overt bullies easily get our attention. And we know exactly what we’re up against when they attack. Stealth bullies, who stab you in the back in public with a friendly smile and a laugh designed to disguise their attack as a joke, are much tougher to deal with. In fact, it took a lot of teamwork and determination to neutralize a smiling backstabber we were asked to help rein in.
To read the rest of this article from the San Antonio Business Journal, see: How to deal with the smiling, stealth office bully http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2010/05/31/focus6.html
Chuck was “Mr. Cheerful” when he cut down people. For example, in front of co-workers and bosses, with his arm draped around Joe’s neck as if they were best friends he’d smiling say, “Joe is always the last person in and first to leave. Ha, ha, ha.” Or he’d jokingly remind everyone that, “Frank lost that sale because he’s too shy, but we’ll try to put some life into him.” Or he’d cheerfully say, “Harry dresses like he doesn’t care or maybe he’s colorblind. We’ll have to show him how to look more professional. Ha, ha, ha.”
Everyone was confused and stymied by the mixed messages in Chuck’s hostile words delivered with a jovial tone. He appeared totally insensitive to people’s looks of hurt and pain. And his coworkers were too polite or afraid to say anything. So they hesitantly laughed at his nasty, bullying, abusive remarks.
How can you stop a Chuck without looking super-sensitive and petty?
There was a way Chuck’s team could eliminate the high cost of his low attitudes.