February 03, 2007

Misery of Dysfunctional Meetings

Are meetings at your company a useless, frustrating waste of time? Do they provide a bully a forum to rant, rave and manipulate? Are reasonable people intimidated into silence? If so, welcome to the living hell of dysfunctional meetings.

The Three Pillars of Dysfunctional Meetings

1. Objectives are meaningless

- Discuss vague platitudes instead of underlying problems
- Ignore causes of low morale and low productivity
- Ignore negative environment created by bully

2. Committees are powerless

- Creates impression that issues are being addressed
- No authority to investigate bully's behavior problems
- No power to take actions to resolve issues

3. Bully is allowed to dominate meetings

- Stifles healthy progress in meetings
- Dominates meetings by aggressive conversational style
- Attacks anyone who threatens his dominance of meetings
- Prevents clear identification of himself as the problem
- Shifts blame for problems he has created
- Provides misleading information
From: http://www.kickbully.com


terratite said...

I came across your site during my research efforts and have emailed you to let you know that I to have a great interest in this area.

I have my own website and have placed my own article on it and thought it would be of interest to you. The article can be found at http://www.psychic-aus.com/harassment.html

I work as a factual investigator conducting inquiries into bully and harassment claims for a variety of insurers, employers and solicitors. Your site is spot on with the comments made and I personally endorse those comments you have made.

I hope my article can be of some assistance to you.

Thankyou for a great site.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said...

Thank you too.

What makes us sad is that we have found a niche with this blog, and we realise that what is happening to us is also happening to many others in academia.

This very sad and tragic reality keeps us going.

Anonymous said...

Tragic reality... black humour....

Dysfunctional meetings....

This is a great site for bullies - gives them lots of tips..... just so they don't run out of ideas...only we have to pretend it is a site for those snivelling victims like me... who take sick leave because they just have to have a moment away from the bullying culture in their university...

...so dysfunctional meetings a great tool.. I have attended quite a few myself.. the best was with the bully, union rep and HR - the bully ended the meeting by accusing me of harassment...

when I emailed HR and the union rep to protest there was a deafening silence....

So yeah bullies - great idea - hugely stressful for the target... in the end a good chance of wearing them down...

and you can have a good laugh about the meeting afterwards....

....particularly if you can reduce the target to tears...

...great sport....

great black humour.... great tragi-comedy....

Anonymous said...

Response to Anonymous (11:56)

These are the moral ruins of academia. Someone said that one finds happiness only when one is surrounded by people with the same values. They laugh because they have the same values.

Having a site like is helping some to overcome the incomprehension that accompanies bullying (as mentioned in the above link). This is a very important step towards communicating one's bad experiences. As long as the victim does not comprehend what is happening to him/her the victim is unable to defend him/herself, by communicating what is happening.

One cries when one continues to expect commonsense and goodness from the others.

I would bypass HR and the AUT, they are rediculous beings.

All the best for you

Anonymous said...

What about bully boxes?

If the select committees can be having such frank conversations about bullying...why can't universities????

House of COMMONS
WEDNEsday 22 NOVEMBER 2006

Q153 Stephen Williams: The Chairman mentioned that this was Anti-Bullying Week and the various groups within that coalition are focusing on bystanders. I suppose that "people who witness bullying" would be a better way to put it. All of us can remember witnessing bullying in school …directly or reporting it to a teacher. How can a school have a policy on what it might expect other children to do when they see bullying, or is it something on which one cannot really have a policy?

Dr Das: I am not sure that we can address the issue of bystanders by policies. I think that it has to be more about promoting a culture where people take responsibility for things that they see.
Q154 Stephen Williams: What mechanisms do you think schools should have in place in order to encourage children to report bullying or to intervene in bullying cases?
Dr Das: Probably the solution is the one raised earlier by Fiona Mactaggart; that is, the promotion and highlighting of the citizenship education ethos.
Ms Gravell: I think there must be very flexible ways for children to do it, so there may be anonymised bully boxes, or perhaps they can talk to other pupils and report it via that route, but it is not just a question of going to a nominated teacher in a well-publicised way so that everybody can see you doing it. If one has a school that is good at involving pupils it may never need to get as far as teachers. It is dreadful but the research of the Children's Commissioner has shown that when reporting bullying and whether or not it is resolved pupils say that teachers are the most ineffective route to pursue, which is rather sad. If one can develop a culture among pupils whereby they help each other it is probably more effective than snitching to an adult.
Ms Day: Peer pressure is a huge factor in these situations. A lot of the young people with whom we have worked have said how difficult it is, either because one ends up siding with the bully because one is pulled into that group or because one is just too scared to do anything about it
Dr Das: Some of the best examples that we have seen of the sustainable targeting of bullying and the elimination or reduction in the number of cases arise where schools have trained pupils in peer mediation. to take responsibility and also have the skills to do that.

Q168 Fiona Mactaggart: Dr Das, I just want to pick up one matter that I thought you referred to earlier - perhaps I misheard you - about people feeling unwilling to report …bullying because they fear consequences for their own careers and so on. Can you tell me what evidence you have on that?

A fascinating conversation…..read more about it on