Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why bullies cost companies and the economy in general millions of dollars

I will write this article in a language that managers will probably understand..  It's all about money.
Most of all companies think that bullied employees should just stop whining and shut up. They are generally treated like they would overreact to everything. At least as long as the managers or bosses haven't been in the same situation at some point.
Why? Because they just don't want to get involved and see these social issues as a waste of time.

That's in fact a huge mistake.

Studies have shown that the ones bullied are the most unselfish and overcontributing employees,  the productive ones that basically are working machines, crunching huge amounts of work. Coworkers who just waste 90% of their time feel guilty because of their own incompetence of unwillingness to do their work properly. No one with an ugly face likes mirrors, so they start to follow certain tactics to distract everyone else from their lack of contribution: they generate a set of false and\or purposely misinterpreted information to blur the image of the productive coworkers.

The bullied individual gets kicked out of the social circle and becomes the new enemy of the group.

What does that mean for the company?

If the victim leaves the company,  total loss. They do not just lose a precious employee, no.  Fact is,  that the percentage of productive personal shifts to the "we'll soon be broke"-side.
If the victim tries to continue with their work, their sense for perfection and the constant attacks of his coworkers result in a steady decline of productivity and workpower.
In the end it is also a total loss, it just takes longer.

Fact is,  that not just average coworkers are bullies. My experience told me that quite a lot of times, the amoral and destructive characters in a company are in leading positions.

My most hated character types.

One of the characters I personally hate the most is the incompetent manager who keeps up the illusion that his lack of leading qualities isn't the reason for most of his projects to fail,  but instead blames it on one of his employees. These people are often very self-confident, at least they try to convince themselves and others that this is the case.  But deep down inside,  they feel guilty and know that they are not management material and are afraid to fail. These people would never admit a mistake,  but rather blame everything on a personal "deamon". They usually have a favorite victim to blame.  I was one of those favorite victims. Some of my Bosses (I would love to name them but at least one of them might have changed,  the other one got kicked out of his leading position,  months after I quit,  so I got my revenge) weren't able to communicate, had no idea how to set goals and esteminate milestones or timelines, burned thousands of euros and blamed everything on me after I basically worked myself to death for these companies. I never heard a thank you. These people are unable to set priorities. Best example: IT was more important for them that I clear my desk so another person could put his pens inside the drawer than me finishing the project which's deadline was on the same day. They've sent me 3 times someone, nagging I should clear my desk while I was working my ass off to get the stuff done that my boss didn't do as he promised. They are also 100% resistant to advices from a minor creature like an employee. If I tell them "It's impossible to do that in this short amount of time" they just told me to shut up because they have studied informatics and I'm way too young to know what I'm talking about. Of course all the projects failed and I got the blame.

The other characters I really really hate is the bitch. The bitch is usually (at least she believes that) very pretty or very ugly. She has issues like a self esteem thing, had an affair she didn't want anyone to know about, has a failed marriage because she works her husband like a puppet or just loves to be with jerks. She could also be lonely because no one really wants to spend time with her, or she's jealous of others. In companies with a large number of women,  you find at least 2 of them and you can bet your ass that they are friends. If you are an average or more extroverted, dominant male coworker like me,  you will probably never encouter them behaving badly. Yes they actually kiss your ass, but beware if you are sensitive or a woman. They form little IT-Groups like in high-school and love to bitch about others. Yeah, exactly. The passive aggressive bitches of your nightmares. They also convince others to avoid contact with you,  tell a whole lot of their imaginary garbage too get rid of unwanted concurrence.
These people are just human waste and sadly, these people are widely accepted in the companies,  because they use psychological tricks and manipulative bullshit to gain the sympathy of others...  they just love to play the victim..  and the real victim gets silenced.
To ensure this little excursion to reality,  I want to add a little quote I heard lately.

Dear gene-pool! 
  Please add chlorine. 
Sincerly yours,
Charles Darwin.

Here is the description of a recent experiment that shows how the interna of companies work:

The experiment was about rating for different types of people.
There were 3 character types
  • Fair (small contribution/small use or large contribution/large use) 
  • Unselfish (large contribution/large use) 
  • Selfish (small contribution/small use)

At first,  people were asked to rate which one would be the most and which one would be the least desireable character-type to be. The result was surprisingly and unsurprising at the same time. The fair type was most desireable for the tested persons,  but least desireable was by far not the selfish one...  no it was the unselfish one. 

The second task was to rate which character types would be the ones which people would want to be in the group with.  They had the chance to chose two of the three by giving them points. The vast majority chose the selfish and the fair type and by that the unselfish character got expelled out of the group,  even if it meant that the balance of the whole group shifted to low contribution and large use of resources.

What does that mean?

It means that people avoid to get under pressure by being measured on the unselfish large contributers which would result in a feeling of guilt and the urge to work harder. That's why they prefer to remain with the selfish people in the group instead of supporting the most productive and valuable member of the group, which in fact,  they basically kicked out.
So if the unselfish contributers get bullied,  no one will help them. And so productivity will suffer,  the company loses money but at least the lazy people are happy.

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