“Compassion does not mean to be solicitous to someone who appears to be stray, imperfect, or needy. It means to see that person as we see ourselves, as unique human beings with wants, hopes, needs, dreams, and desires.” - Gail Pursell Elliott
Have You Ever Heard of Mobbing?
©2000 Gail Pursell Elliott
The topic of workplace bullies has become more of an issue over the past several years. Workplace violence, people going 'postal', etc., has become more prevalent. When one or more people create a group to engage in bullying behavior towards another person, the term used is 'mobbing'.
Mobbing is a 'ganging up' on someone to force the person out through the use of rumor, innuendo, discrediting, humiliation, isolation, and intimidation. It is a group bullying process that occurs repeatedly over a period of weeks, months, or even years. The mobber(s) portray the victim as the person at fault. This is one of the nastier forms of emotional abuse and the impact on the individual can be devastating. As a result of the experience, many victims of mobbing suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, disabling physical illnesses, mental and emotional problems, experience the dissolution of their closest personal relationships, and some even have committed suicide. In fact, the Swedish research revealed that about 15% of all suicides in that country were a direct result of mobbing in the workplace.
Mobbing has been researched in Scandinavian countries and in Europe since the early 1980's. Books have been written on the subject. Legislation and occupational safety statutes have been passed in Sweden and are proposed in other countries. Mobbing is a household word in German speaking countries. A major movement against mobbing behavior began in the United Kingdom in 1994.
This term may be new to you, but the behavior is one that you will recognize quickly. It is possible that this has happened to you, to someone you care about, or within your own company. It's a recurring theme in literature.
Risk Management Issue
Mobbing is a serious behavioral risk management issue for organizations. It results in high turnover, low morale, increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, loss of key individuals. It undermines teamwork, trust, and a sense of shared vision.
In 1994, an article in the EAP's national publication talked about corporate behavioral risk management as a growing concern. The author described an incident in which the CEO of an east coast company asked for an internal behavioral risk management assessment. The company was experiencing low morale, high turnover, and there had been two suicides on the Vice Presidency level.
Scott H. Peters, Esq. of The Peters Law Firm. P.C., Iowa, has described mobbing as a "widespread, vicious, workplace tort." Mr. Peters also recommends that "plaintiff counsel should familiarize themselves with this issue as clients will surely become aware of their rights as the decade progresses. Corporate and defense counsel will need to be prepared to advise management and HR leadership as they seek to incorporate mobbing policies into corporate documents."
Once mobbing begins in an organization, it can occur repeatedly and can spring up in more than one area. It's tough to stop unless it's recognized and intercepted in the early stages. The fact that mobbing may be instigated from higher management levels, thus ignored or even condoned, is another crucial issue. Some human resources people have been 'ordered' or directed to support a mobbing process when the mobber is on a higher level of the organization.
Many ethical human resources professionals don't become aware of a mobbing situation until it is well underway. It can be both frustrating and confusing. Most have seen this happen at least once in their careers but never had a name to put to it, nor did they see that it was a syndrome with a specific pattern. When these are presented, most have said that the 'players' in the roles become obvious.
Book Reviews - "School Mobbing and Emotional Abuse addresses a national need faced by every child in school. It is very possible that a teacher who utilizes this material may save a child from both physical as well as psychological abuse and may ultimately save a child's life. This material is that powerful and that important..""-Peter D. Blauvelt, President and CEO, National Alliance for Safe Schools
"Were you ever bullied, ganged up on, or picked on as a kid back in school? Sure, we all were. But today such attacks are taken a bit more seriously -- and rightly so, for they can easily turn deadly. As Gail states, 'Mobbing is terrorism.' The book deals with the issue from the perspective of all parties concerned -- the victim, the parents, the school staff, and even the perpetrator -- and it explains what each must do to resolve the situation. Part 1 of the book defines mobbing and its psychology, discusses school policies and how they can be improved, how people can help the victim, teaching dignity and respect to students, and the process of healing after a mobbing. Part 2 is a series of essays that can be used in the classroom to promote dignity, respect, insight, and awareness.."-Mensa Bulletin
Mobbing and Bullying in Schools
See It - Stop It - Prevent It with Dignity and Respect
"This problem must be addressed with more than bullying prevention or character education programs.We must change our existing culture from one of quiet desperation to one of dignity and respect." - Gail Pursell Elliott
Phone Consultation Available - Hourly rates
Mobbing consultation - for individuals targeted by workplace mobbing
Innovations is "On-Call" - Consulting for organizations.
This book is for every school, counselor, teacher, parent. It has been included in K. Oakland's Human Relations in Education class at the University of Northern Iowa. Ger this book and share it with your school, student teachers, teachers, and community.
" I learned many new ways to have respect for myself, my students, and my classroom. Remembering to separate the individual from their behavior is a great way to give students a fresh start and treat all students equally."
"I learned so much about feelings, attitudes, and victims when it comes to abuse. I plan to re-read your book throughout my teaching career to help me set an example to my students on how to act."
“Situations come to pass, they never come to stay. And when we allow them to pass and disappear into the past like shadows, our vibrant spiritual selves remain, powerful in the present moment. That is the constant, the unchanging, in an ever changing world.” - Gail Pursell Elliott
Please contact me for more information on this important topic, to schedule training, consulting, or a program. Share this information with your local radio, television, or newspaper.
Bullying - Rage - Toxic Work Environment - Loose Cannon – Going Postal
Being subjected to Mobbing does not excuse someone of reprehensible conduct. It can, however, explain some of the dynamics that can lead up to acts of workplace violence. Some common characteristics of the perpetrators of mass killings are isolation, paranoia, feelings of persecution, preoccupation with survival. People who are being mobbed are often isolated first by others and then engage in self-isolation due to fear and uncertainty. They can develop feelings of paranoia and not know who can be trusted. Personality changes may occur. They often suffer from acute anxiety and/or post traumatic stress disorder just as those who have witnessed disasters, have been mugged, raped, or gone through war may experience. Knowledge of the Mobbing process, its impact on the individual and consequences to others help with prevention.
Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace is now available as an E-Book. Download your copy today!