When targets are off doing their job, aggressors are manipulating and building false relationships with those in power and other potential aggressors. This becomes extremely problematic for a target who later tries to report that persistent workplace aggression is happening.
The aggressor has already laid the foundation of lies and untruths about the target because the aggressor positions themselves to be eyes and ears of the office. They are the ones telling the boss what is going on. Some of which is likely to be true, but also are embellishing and in some cases making up stories about the target. Therefore, the system is already skewed in the favor of the aggressor and away from the target. This is partially the reason why targets are not believed. Aggressors become trusted members for the supervisors, whereas targets are not.
Being a target of workplace aggression is an extremely emotional and upsetting. As a result, targets are regularly put into positions where they are on the defensive. They are always being attacked and as such, repeatedly respond in seemingly confrontational ways.
I know for myself, I fell into this trap on several occasions and because of this, I was not believed. I allowed my reactions and emotions to control my behavior. For example, I repeatedly felt the need to show how the workplace was unfair and regularly pointed this out in emails and meetings. In an effort to identify the workplace aggression, I actually made it worse for myself. People viewed me as whiny, insecure, and certainly not a reliable source of information that was believable.
Targets needs become hyper vigilante with their emotions and reactions in an attempt to protect themselves from persistent workplace aggression. Targets should try not to defend their actions or behaviors. Targets should also remember that opting not to respond or responding later are acceptable choices. Persistent workplace aggressors are highly skilled are pushing the buttons of a target so that the target responds poorly. Targets need to develop the skills to preserve their work environment and to adequately combat the workplace aggressor.
For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-309-2360