Weekly Tools and Tips to Improve Any Relationship

February 27, 2018

Self-Awareness in the Workplace: Bullying

Most of us would be appalled if someone called us a bully and yet often the perception is there. You might not realize how traumatizing your behavior is, not only to the person you have singled out, but to witnesses as well.

Not unlike playgrounds, high school halls, and social media, bullying does exist in the workplace. While the content might be different, the results are the same. Research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair. 1

The company, too, suffers. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute2 one in four employees experience workplace bullying and their engagement and/or employee status affected. Not only that, a new study suggests that co-workers who witness bullying are also traumatized by the bully’s behavior—and are as likely as the targeted person to leave their employment incurring possible costs to the employer in these areas:

  • Turnover
  • Lost Opportunity Cost
  • Absenteeism & Presenteeism
  • Litigation & Settlements
  • Workers Comp & Disability Insurance Claims

A single bully can have a devastating affect on the bottom line. The problem should be taken very seriously.

Who exactly are the bullies?

Many of you are thinking “Reds! They’re the Reds!” And yes, you would be right…at least 25% of the time. The truth is, it could be any of us. If you take in to account your core motive’s natural limitations, throw in the limitations of a secondary color, stir in all the negative filters you’ve adopted throughout life and voilá!—you have the recipe for a bully.


There are those who go through life unable to recognize that they are not the victim, but the bully. They are unhealthy in their motives, adopting and embracing limitations and discarding or ignoring their innate strengths. Following are examples of unhealthy motives and how they might manifest as bullies.

Reds—Because I Said So! We’ll start with the most obvious choice…the Red. Red’s natural limitations can be intimidating. Heck, let’s face it–so are many of their strengths. A sick Red can be aggressive and demanding. They might enjoy the power they have over their target person and humiliate them verbally in front of there coworkers.

Blues—If You’re Unhappy Here… Never underestimate the bullying capabilities of an unhealthy Blue. A sick Blue tends to be overly sensitive, unforgiving and suspicious. Once you have gotten on their bad side, there may be no turning back. A sick Blue’s bullying style will be more psychological, telling themselves and others they are doing it for your own good.

Yellows—This should be fun… Let’s face it. Yellows breath life into the workplace. They are popular and socially influential. An unhealthy Yellow is also self-centered, vain and loves to be the center of attention. Being the controller of the social environment, a sick Yellow’s bullying style will include using his social influence to ostracize (commonly called mobbing) his victim.

Whites—I’ll show him … It’s true that Whites are motivated by peace and that is part of the problem. Whites will do anything to avoid conflict but never underestimate his silent stubbornness. A sick White can be sneaky, sabotaging your success by pretending to comply, but not. Of course, no one will believe it was done on purpose.


There are a great deal of positive strengths in each of the Color Code core motives that once embraced will help you overcome your unhealthy traits, but you must recognize your limitations, take responsibility and do something about them.

Here are some tips:

  1. Examine your motives. Dig deep and be honest. What is causing you to target this particular person?
  2. Take 100 percent responsibility for your actions. Stop blaming the other person for your behavior.
  3. Look at your limitations. Begin working on those limitations outside of your DCM. They are the ones that are the most confusing to others.
  4. Build on your strengths. You will be amazed at how your coworkers respond.

Remember, your softskills are far more important to your life success than your hard skills.

Next month, we’ll explore the importance of Empathy because as Charles M. Glow said, “One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.”


Teresa GlennTeresa Glenn has been working with the Color Code since 2006, where her main focus is product development. She has been in the publishing and product development field for over 20 years. Teresa is a core Red with a strong Yellow secondary.

1. https://www.stopbullying.gov/media/facts/index.html

2. http://business.time.com/2012/07/12/workplace-bullying-the-problem-and-its-costs-are-worse-than-we-thought/