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Organizational power is usually driven by factors, such as someone’s:
* Position – role within an organization;
* Status/Reputation – perceived value or capability;
* Knowledge – expertise about a certain subject, including an organization’s products, services, processes, etc.;
* Tenure – cumulative time associated with an organization, which can provide a status based on commitment;
* Relationships – association with anyone who has any power, social standing, or other influence.
In reference to workplace bullies, there are various tools used to attempt to control others for someone’s personal benefit.
For example, bullies often use any of the following:
* (H)arassment – words, actions, or behaviors used to negatively impact someone emotionally or physically;
* (I)ntimidation – words, actions, or behaviors that make someone perceive that an adverse response is imminent if a certain action and/or behavior doesn’t happen;
* (T)hreats - words, actions, or behaviors used to make someone fearful.
Moreover, workplace bullies also use their:
* (P)ower – legitimate authority someone has over another to control their actions and/or behaviors;
* (I)nfluence – an ability to convince someone to act and/or behave a certain way;
* (C)ontrol – any leverage someone has over another (e.g., position, status, relationships, etc.).
Workplace bullies might not have actual power in an organization; nevertheless, bullies will attempt to leverage any (P)ower, (I)nfluence, and (C)ontrol to get their way, along with the use of (H)arassment, (I)ntimidation, and (T)hreats to achieve their objectives.
Notwithstanding this leverage, it’s important to understand that nobody has more power over someone than an individual allows. Furthermore, individuals should remember that workplace bullies will often HIT and PIC, as long as their targets don’t protect themselves or their rights.
Therefore, everyone should stand-up for themselves and others because the next bullying target could be you.
Additional information on workplace bullying can be obtained in Mr. Young's solution-oriented books "Bullies… They’re In Your Office, Too: Could you be one?" or his mini-book “Management Spotlight: Workplace Bullying”.