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The insight that bullying doesn’t “just happen” but is planned (tailored to the victim, perhaps?) is significant.

Minding the Workplace

Over the years I’ve heard and read more stories than I’d like about severe workplace bullying and related behaviors. It’s not pretty stuff. But after a while, patterns emerge, included those associated with perpetrators of the mistreatment.

One of my central observations is that many of the “best” workplace abusers — the ones who get their prey and continually evade being held responsible — are calculating, committed, and smart planners. With task-oriented surgical precision and detachment, they plot and scheme. Like the serial killer who manages to escape capture, they’re usually a step or three ahead of everyone else.

Some enable themselves by occupying positions where they can devote “quality time” to planning. While others do real work or otherwise conduct their lives, the expert bullies use chunks of time to assess and strategize, often obsessively so. They also find ways to access, control, and manipulate information and resources to…

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