Bully Buster

This week's trek is inspired by the research of entrepreneur and behavior change expert, Christine Comaford

Have you ever found yourself acting a little too much like Miranda Priestly at work?

Perhaps you crack a joke and realize that it's gone a little too far. Or maybe you make a negative comment about a coworker behind his back. According to Comaford bullying behaviors in the workplace often stem from a desire to feel a greater sense of "safety, belonging, and mattering." The issue, though, is that bullies try to achieve these things in a way that is both inappropriate and damaging to themselves and those around them.

Introducing Your Bully Buster Exercise

What It Is
A 30-minute exercise to help you identify any bullying behaviors you might be bringing into the workplace and determine how you can find a different course of action.

Why We Love It 
While it is easy to see bullying behaviors in others, we rarely take a moment to step back and see how we might be acting in a similar manner on our own teams. This exercise gives you an opportunity to identify the different ways you might be participating in a culture of bullying at work. 

How It Works
1. Take 10 minutes to review the different types of workplace bullies courtesy of FastCo:
- Name Caller: This type of bully likes to call people names and insult them in subtle ways. This person might "embarrass and humiliate in front of others" and might do so from an authoritative position.
- Cutthroat: This individual is competitive and will do damaging things to "come out on top." They believe their "opponent has to lose" and they'll do whatever it takes to undermine that person in some way.
- Intimidator: This individual doesn't want to deal with problems. Instead, they'll try to intimidate those that come forward with issues into staying silent, so the problems themselves don't have to be addressed. 
- Charmer: "This bully is charming to those they seek to take advantage of or who offer opportunity to them" but rude to those that appear to be useless.
- The Gossip: This person "tells stories and defames you behind your back." They damage other people's reputation to try to make themselves look better.

2. Ask yourself if you have ever exhibited any of the behaviors mentioned in #1 above. If none of these are relevant to you, consider your team's dynamic and whether you are allowing any specific individuals to display the above-mentioned behaviors. 

3. Now, for the items you identified in #2, take a few minutes to remember what happened. What specifically did you/your team member say or do? What were you/your team member hoping to achieve with your/their actions? 
What were you feeling at the time? Keep in mind that we often engage in these types of behaviors when we don't feel safe or we believe that we don't matter or fit in. Ask yourself if any of those underlying emotions might have been at play for you or people on your team.

4. Now, consider why the actions you/your team member took might not have been the most effective. What could have been done differently to arrive at a better solution? How might you address the underlying feelings you are having in a healthier way? Going forward, what are the triggers that make you behave like a bully and how might you respond to them differently?

Want to dig deeper into this topic?
Have a favorite trek? 
Hit us up at 
treks@lifetrekkers.me and tell us which one you liked and what you learned!
Here's what your fellow trekkers have to say about past treks:

"The Tutu trek was one of my favorites. Bob Carey's story was really inspiring and the exercise motivated me to reflect on a number of things that I feel vulnerable about in life and the work place."
Alex Farivar, Product Manager @ Google
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Shankar Desai