Saturday, July 22, 2017

‘From Bully to Bull’s Eye’ by Andrew Faas

Book cover, 'From Bully to Bull's Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire' by Andrew Faas. Image depicts a seated man, his head pressed between his knees and his hands grasping the top of his head, with concentric-circle bull's-eye outlines superimposed on top of him
Many people, according to Andrew Faas, relate the word “bullying” to what happens in schools; they don’t associate workplace behaviors with bullying until, Faas says, he describes the dynamics of bullying with words like “abuse,” “coercion,” “exploitation,” “extortion,” “harassment,” and “threats.”

In From Bully to Bull’s Eye (RCJ Press, 2016), Faas argues that workplace bullying extends beyond an incident or conflict between a bully and target at work. According to Faas, “entire workplace cultures in many organizations are built on foundational principles that guarantee a toxic environment for all, not just a few select victims of particularly vitriolic harassment.”

Under such conditions, the CEO is also the Chief Bullying Officer — presiding over a culture in which bullies are considered heroes whose methods are condoned and accepted. (Faas notes that 70 percent of bullying is by a supervisor to employee, and he identifies U.S. President Donald Trump as the embodiment of a “CBO.”)

Faas highlights the devastating costs that can result from a culture that fosters bullying: careers, families, and organizations ruined; with targets suffering from physical health problems or post-traumatic stress — at times even driven to attempt or commit suicide or retaliate through workplace violence.

Faas offers tools for learning to recognize workplace bullying early-on, before the target can be drawn into the bully’s trap and have his or her work discredited, job-performance suffer, or appear as though the target is the “villain” instead of the victim of bullying. In some situations, the bully is so successful that the target — even after he or she leaves the company — cannot find another job; the bullying follows the target.

Faas also offers suggestions for transforming the work environment at all levels, among all stakeholders in a company. Faas emphasizes that successful transformation must be driven and led by people at “the very top.”

This book should be read at all levels of any company that’s concerned about healthy work environment — and, ideally, that would be every company. As a survivor of bullying, I applaud Faas’ insights — including his candidly sharing the moment in his own career when a mentor’s wise assessment enabled Faas to recognize the bullying in his own behavior. Faas also brings the perspectives of “bystander, witness, defender, resister, activist and target” to the subject of workplace bullying.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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