Project Bullies: Are You a Victim?

PMI Canadian West Coast Chapter

Bullying can be as harmful to projects as it is in schools and other areas of society, causing well-understood health impacts for the victims, plus a long list of challenges for project managers and the organizations where it is taking place. Sadly, the rates of workplace bullying are increasing dramatically.

To complicate matters, workplace bullies are often hard to identify clearly. Bullying is a tactic used by the perpetrator to get ahead in the workplace. The bullies are often highly skilled workers who are socially manipulative, targeting those who threaten their career path while adroitly charming those who serve it well. Thus, a senior manager or their supervisor may say, “that person seems great to me” or “she always gets results.” Remember, while good employers purge bullies, most promote them.

The good news is that there is a trend toward changes that may eventually bring about much better anti-bullying policies, strategies, and increased public awareness. Further, expanding illegalization of workplace bullying is helping open doors for efforts to prevent it. Employers are becoming more acutely aware of the human, legal, ethical, and financial costs associated with workplace bullying.

In order to directly and proactively address this issue, project managers and their organizations need to take action. Fortunately, there are many …

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"If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time--a tremendous whack."

- Winston Churchill

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