Bullying is no laughing matter, no matter what kind of garb it gets dressed up in. Of the plethora of bullying techniques, “I was only joking” must be one of the most popular – it not only delivers the ‘zing’ of the insult, but also the double whammy of “and you’ve got no sense of humour.” Delicious for the bully. Plus, as with all the best bullying techniques, it’s tough to detect.
We don’t get taught how to deal with bullies, and – more to the point – we don’t get taught how to recognise bullying. This means that we can find ourselves being damaged by the bully without fully realising what’s happening. We assume that bullying is easy to spot, not the apparently subtle stuff of words. We pay attention to the kind of “I was only joking” ‘bull’ that the bully hides behind, trying to reason with it. We even make excuses for the bully, justifying their behaviour, and so doing their work for them.
Bullying destroys individuals, corrodes teams, and sucks the life out of organisations.
It costs a fortune.
If you have the slightest intuition that bullying is happening – to yourself or another – then you’re probably right.
Investigate before it’s too late.
And if you’re not being bullied, find out what the signs are so you’ll recognise them. Forewarned is forearmed.
It’s serious. Not joking.
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