Bullying in Teams

How to Survive It and Thrive

A compassionate guide packed with practical wisdom for people who are being targeted in their own team, and for people who recognise a team member is being bullied.

 

Bullying in teams can be highly toxic. Those targeted by the bully often experience considerable distress, a dramatic loss of self-esteem and tumbling self-confidence. Feelings of isolation or abandonment are common as trusted team colleagues turn a blind eye to the bullying. Previously effective working relationships deteriorate, the quality of work done by the team reduces, and the power dynamics in the team shift as established working alliances alter.

This compassionate guide is packed with practical wisdom. It is for people being targeted in their own team, and for people who recognise a team member is being bullied. The book includes real-life examples and proven strategies through which to tackle team bullying safely and effectively. Whether the bully is your team manager, a peer or a more junior colleague, this book will provide you with tactics, insight and empathy through which to survive the bullying and thrive in the team. It includes input on how to:

  • Protect yourself from the sometimes devastating impact of team bullying.
  • Develop the skills and resilience you need to confront bullying behaviour in your team straightforwardly and effectively.
  • Retain your personal power in the moment of an attack if you are attacked in a team meeting.
  • Recognise ways in which team dynamics and allegiances alter because of bullying behaviour.
  • Navigate the complex shifts in power dynamics which occur in a team when one colleague bullies another.
  • Respond effectively to a range of team bullying tactics including whispering campaigns, outright untruths and unjust accusations of under-performance.
  • Learn how to speak up for a colleague who is being bullied in front of the team.
  • Take steps to prevent yourself from becoming a passive enabler of team bullying.
  • Ensure that your fear of being targeted doesn’t result in you actively colluding with the bully against another member of the team.
  • Regain your self-esteem and self-confidence after team bullying.

 

Praise for the Book

“Aryanne Oade knows pretty much all there is to know about … the bullies of this world.”

Joy Orpen Sunday Independent (Ireland)

 

“This book blows the lid off team bullying. Whether you’ve been the target of bullying, or a witness to it, this compassionate and insightful book reveals the tactics employed by team bullies and how to regain your emotional compass. It’s a uniquely valuable tool for organisations and individuals alike and I wish I’d read it years ago. ”

Danai Pampiglione HR Director

 

“This is a powerful and insightful examination of the toxic impact of team bullying. Using real life examples, Aryanne Oade confronts the dynamics of power used by the bully and the impact on the wellbeing of the target and the team more broadly. The book is full of practical tools, techniques and tactics to help the reader understand how to change the power dynamics at the moment of attack. The positive message to take away is that resilience, and the use of effective self-protective and self-preserving behaviours, are learned skills, and that it is possible both to withstand the bullying and regain self-confidence and self-belief during or after a campaign. ”

Professor Norma Martin Clement Pro-Dean, Faculty of Education Social Sciences and Law, University of Leeds

 

“Culture by definition is the behaviours that are accepted in an organisation.  As a leader, you want everyone in your organisation to feel secure and to work with colleagues with whom they are aligned, so that they give their very best to help your organisation succeed.  Bullying in a team has a dramatic impact on the performance of that team and the business as a whole. Team bullying can take many different forms making it difficult to deal with. Aryanne’s excellent book provides practical examples and ways to tackle team bullying which will help any organisation achieve the culture that they seek to achieve.”

Paul Dickson Chief Executive, Armstrong Watson LLP

 

“Inclusive leadership is the key to feeling comfortable in a team, and to bringing the best of ourselves to work each day.  Bullying in a team undermines this in a traumatic and diminishing way.  This book sets out practical scenarios that describe a range of team bullying situations that sadly occur every day, but is also full of remedies that can address and eradicate such behaviours.  It is a great addition to a manager’s toolkit for enhanced performance, and for people at all levels of organizational life who need to combat team bullying.”

Gillian Harford Head of HR Strategy and Planning, AIB

 

“As an experienced OD professional and coach who works in complex organisations, I welcome this book. I frequently encounter issues which relate to team bullying that have gone unresolved for years. Aryanne’s book defines, diagnoses and offers practical strategies to address team bullying. The greatest benefit of the book is that it ‘outs’ the team bully and the significant detrimental impact their behaviour has inside and outside a team. Aryanne writes in a clear, no nonsense way for team members and managers alike. The book has genuine face validity, and I personally recommend it to all managers so they can health check their teams for symptoms of ‘team bullying’. ”

Sue Holden NHS Improvement Director

 

“This highly accessible book is a powerful resource for those who have experienced bullying at work. They will find Aryanne Oade’s analysis of how bullies operate in a team context enlightening, and feel supported by realising that their own, often highly traumatic experience, is far from unique. The book starts with a step-by-step description of how a true bully sets about enhancing their own power by attacking and undermining a team member, whether subordinate or peer. Multiple examples and case-studies illustrate this process and underline the impact on both those targeted individually and the team as a whole.
Particularly helpful are the practical techniques for resisting bullying that are outlined in the second half of the book. Oade argues that targets can draw on their personal power to protect themselves, signalling clearly that they are not easy prey. She believes that targets, though inevitably shocked and upset, have greater control in the situation than they realise, and provides strategies for successfully resisting or derailing a bullying dynamic – even when the bully is their team manager or boss.
This book makes a valuable contribution to the literature on bullying by highlighting the role of those team members who witness or know about the bullying of one of their number. They may choose to collude with the bully, ignore the bullying behaviour, offer private support to their colleague, or stand up and actively support them. Their choices impact significantly on whether or not the bully will succeed in controlling and disempowering both individual and team. This book is highly recommended for those who have suffered from team bullying, those who seek to help them recover, and those leaders and managers whose role should include recognising and preventing this incredibly destructive aspect of organisational life. ”

Dr Catherine Sandler Managing Director, Sandler Consulting

 

“Aryanne’s book on team bullying focuses on a subject that is often ignored in the workplace.  Whilst there are many books on individual bullying, Aryanne’s is the first to deal exclusively with team bullying. She starts by setting out how an optimal team operates before discussing in detail how to challenge bullying behaviour in a team environment. Without such effective intervention, the target’s wellbeing suffers, team performance reduces and team anxiety increases. Aryanne gives clear examples throughout and allows for plenty of space within the book for personal reflection. The book guides the reader through many possible team bullying scenarios. It delivers effective strategies to help those targeted in a bully’s campaign, and those in the team who witness a campaign but do not possess the tools to confront the bullying effectively. This book provides leaders of businesses with the skills they need to recognise when team bullying is occurring in their own businesses, and to take effective action using the remedies Aryanne provides.”

David Kitson Partner, Wilkins Kennedy LLP

 

“Following her incisive critique of one-on-one bullying in the workplace, Aryanne Oade turns her attention to the psychological, social, and structural dynamics of team bullying.  Her careful, compassionate, and uncompromising analysis of team bullying clearly and comprehensively exposes the conditions that enable team bullying in any work environment.  By unpacking detailed scenarios and offering moments for reflection in each chapter, Oade equips employers and employees, administrators and staff, team leaders and contributors across a range of professional organisations with key tools.  The book highlights the role of personal thresholds and team dynamics in fostering individual and group resilience. It describes effective ways of amassing resistance against toxic patterns, and taking collective responsibility for a healthy and sustainable workplace ecology.”

Dr Cissie Fu Dean, Faculty of Culture + Community, Emily Carr University of Art + Design