How the Dunning-Kruger Effect is destroying your marketing strategy

Trophy - pixtawan
Photo Credit: pixtawan freeditigalphotos.net

Part of being a full time freelance writer is looking for new clients. I have some room in my “garage” right now and I was checking out some job postings for companies that are looking for part time writers. They all basically looked alike – as writing job posts are wont to do – but then one jumped out at me. I have been at this for a while, but I admit I have never seen this in a job post.

After their lengthy description of the position, writer requirements, and other specifics of the job, there was a three sentence paragraph that gave me a good chuckle. It started with the typical “send your resume and cover letter to blah, blah, blah,” but it was the last sentence that was classic. It read, “Because of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, it is important to provide concrete examples illustrating why you are the ideal candidate.”

Now, you may not be familiar with the Dunning-Kruger Effect by name, but if you have spent any time around humans you have very likely seen it in action. The short definition is the malady of the inflated ego, but I like a little more detail.

Basically, it is a term used to describe the phenomenon of how ignorance or incompetence evokes more confidence than knowledge or competence. There are actual studies that have been done on this showing that the people who are the most incompetent are the very ones who are the most convinced of their competence.

It is the epitome of ignorance is bliss.

To illustrate the Dunning-Kruger Effect let’s look at this scenario. You ask two people to answer a series of 10 math problems and one person gets 3 correct while the other gets 9 correct, the person who got 3 right will tend to think of terms of “I got 3 right.” The person who got 9 correct, though, will typically think in terms of “I missed one.” The psychology behind this is that the most competent people are usually the ones to underestimate or downplay their competence the most while the incompetent folks are convinced that they are the most competent people in the room. They are essentially incapable of recognizing their own incompetence.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect in action:

  • Incompetent people do not recognize that they lack skills
  • Incompetent people do not recognize that someone else possesses genuine skill
  • Incompetent people do not recognize how far their inadequacy extends
  • Incompetent people do not recognize and acknowledge that they lack skill, after they experience training for that specific skill

You’ve had the boss who thought he or she could do it all? Often that compulsion stems from this.

You can’t do it all; no one can.

A Pacific News article, We are all Confident Idiots, explains the Dunning-Kruger Effect quite well. Plus it’s an enjoyable read. I highly suggest it if you want to know more. Another excellent piece is Unskilled and Unaware. It is the original paper written by Dunning and Kruger.

My focus here is not to provide information on this condition, or whatever it is; my focus here is to tell you how it is wrecking your marketing strategy.

All too often business owners will decide to forego hiring an expert, believing that they can do the marketing themselves. They google a few websites and think, “How hard can it be?”

Well, if you don’t know what you are doing it can be hard, very hard – and very bad. This is especially true if you are pouring money into advertising, yet you have minimal or no experience in advertising. Sure, some people are naturals, but those guys are few and far between. The rest of us have to study and work hard to get the knowledge, experience and skills that make us good marketers.

Marketing is a science and an art. There are intricacies that only experience can teach you. It seems like every day there is yet another new Google algorithm or social media platform, or SEO technique. You have to stay on top of it all in order to effectively compete. And if you are busy handling all of your business affairs, how can you devote the time and energy to your company’s marketing strategy as well? When do you sleep?

Marketing is not simple and it certainly isn’t easy. It takes time to learn, to get a feel for it. Call it intuition if you want, but it is learned through working in the industry and working for multiple clients across multiple industries. It is not an easy job and 9 out of 10 small businesses are cheating themselves out of higher conversions, increased traffic, and improved customer loyalty because they overestimate their own ability to market their company instead of delegating the task to a professional.

However, if you still aren’t convinced, let’s look at why you would do better to hire someone to do your marketing.

It will free up more of your time so you can do what you do best – grow your business. Marketing any company takes time and focus. If you are trying to do it all yourself, it is a much more cost effective and efficient move to hire someone to do your marketing.

You don’t want to get wrapped up in the details – but you still need the details. Even most marketing companies don’t do their own promotional writing, they hire writers to do it. Even they, the marketing experts, recognize where their strengths, and weaknesses, lie and they know that it will be done faster and better when the right person is doing the right job. Everyone is in his or her own lane, attending to the relevant details in that lane – and everything gets done.

Your marketing schedule will not be interrupted. If you have absolutely nothing else to do it is probably pretty easy to keep your marketing on schedule, but you are running a business. If you are trying to do it all, something is going to suffer and it will probably be your marketing.

Someone on the outside can give you a perspective that is fresh and objective. When you are writing your own stuff and marketing your own company it is easy to get wrapped up in the emotional attachments, If your own needs, agendas, motivations. An outsider is more apt to think like your customer, your target and create material that speaks to them.

If you are a marketing pro and you think I am out of my mind crazy (and maybe dealing with a little Dunning-Kruger Effect myself) well, go ahead and do your own marketing. Who knows, you might be an absolute genius at it. More power to you!

But if you are sitting there, staring at your screen, mouth agape, thinking “Wow. She’s talking about ME!” Well, acknowledging the problem is the first step in solving it.

The bottom line here is, the Dunning-Kruger Effect could very well be wrecking your marketing strategy – and your business. Take a long, hard look at your business, your marketing, and ask yourself this one, simple question: “Is this working?”

The Squirrel, the Cat, and the Large White Man (The Dangers of Distracted Marketing)

Squirrel-wm

The other day my husband walked into the house with a look on his face that I can only describe as stricken.

I sat up straight, suddenly on alert. My husband isn’t one to be visibly upset very often – not unless it is really bad.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, mentally going through the things that could be going wrong: elderly parents, kids, our business, our home.

“I got a squirrel killed.” He replied, clearly upset over this, um, tragedy.

I was completely thrown off by his answer. “You what?”

“I got a squirrel killed.” He watched me, watching him as I waited for further explanation – and understanding of how this was such a traumatic event. Even he, as a pest control professional and business owner, had referred to them on more than one occasion as tree rats.

He continued. “I distracted it and a cat came out of nowhere, pounced on it, and dragged it off into the bushes.” Ah.

He didn’t appreciate my (admittedly) flippant remark that went something like, “That’s just how the food chain works. Life is a part of death.” He was still upset. So I asked him how in the world he thought he distracted a squirrel so thoroughly that it would let down its guard long enough for a predator to pounce. I’ll spare you the mental picture, but it involved a large, white man throwing his hands up in the air, waving them, and yelling, “Hey squirrel!”

Yeah, I don’t ask anymore. My husband is a wonderful, brilliant, compassionate man with the most amazing sense of humor I have even encountered. His quirkiness matches my quirkiness and it is one of the main things that made me fall in love with him in the first place.

He had been outside cleaning the grill; I’m not sure how he went from that to squirrel killer – or accomplice.

And that is how we wound up on the squirrel mafia’s hit list.

It did get me thinking though. How many times have we started a marketing strategy or embarked on a business building project only to get distracted by things? Distracted marketing can be death to a business.

Sure, there is no large, white man standing in your front yard, waving his arms shouting “Hey squirrel,” but there are other things that can draw our focus. Business issues as well as personal issues can cause us to take our eyes off the goal – and off of the predators (also known as competitors) that are lurking, lying in wait, ready to pounce when you get distracted.

We tell our kids to keep their mind on their studies. The media is always warning us of the dangers of distracted driving. Experts scare us to death with horror stories about distracted parenting.

What about distracted marketing? You don’t hear so much about keeping your marketing focus sharp. It is important though. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to competitor attacks. You can’t afford to stop assessing your surroundings in order to give your attention to a large white man waving his arms and calling to you, lest the cat slip from its hiding place and destroy you.

So how can you keep your focus in this increasingly distracting world?

Set Goals

Yeah, everyone says set goals – and it’s really good advice. Set marketing goals, not just for what you will do at each stage of your marketing campaign, but what you expect to accomplish. Sure, this is Marketing 101, but sometimes it is necessary to return to the basics.

Put it in Writing

Put everything in writing, your strategy, your goals, your benchmarks, everything. When you have ideas or make observations, write them down. Keep it all in a file and actually use the information. Find a way to organize your notes so you can access them easily. While some of your observations or comments may not work on this campaign, they may make all the difference for the next one.

Create a Schedule

Create alerts on your phone, Google calendar, all of your time management tools. Small business owners tend to wear a lot of hats and when they get caught up with wearing one attention demanding hat the others can suffer. Marketing is often relegated to the end of the line, an afterthought, but it should be a priority. If you don’t market you won’t have any customers to serve so carve out some time each day to work on it whether it’s your content management, social media scheduling, or updating your website. Set an alarm and just do it.

Put on Blinders

There is a difference between being vigilant and being distractible – and you need to find it. This is the beauty of carving out specific time to devote to marketing your company. For that time, those two or three hours – or whatever – you don’t have to pay attention to anything else. Unless there is a true emergency, anything can wait for a couple of hours. Put on those blinders and keep your focus on your marketing.

Do it Every Day

Back to Marketing 101, but you need to hear this. Too many small business owners painstakingly create their marketing strategies and set them in motion only to pull an ostrich mama move and abandon them. Your marketing campaign needs your hands on it every single day. Yes, every day you need to do something related to marketing your business. Work on your blog, update your website (the majority of business owners do not update their websites nearly as often as they should), or engage your customers on your social media channels, but always, always monitor and measure to see how your efforts are working.

Don’t fall victim to distracted marketing; it is something that is completely avoidable. You took the time to plan your business, put that plan into action, and make it work, do the same with your marketing. And keep your focus.

Have you ever fallen victim to distracted marketing? What strategies do you have in place to prevent it from happening?

Workplace Abuse Checklist

ABSTRACT:

Emotional abuse, whether at home or at work can be tricky to identify. Typically, the victims of abuse are made to feel that their feelings of being abused are unfounded. This checklist will help identify instances of abuse.

abusive man

Psychological violence, mobbing, harassment and other forms of workplace abuse have remained out of the lime light for a variety of reasons. Since it is not usually driven by the known forms of harassment: sex, race, disability, etc., most people have a difficult time wrapping their minds around the concept. However, this form of abuse is very real and very damaging. Think about it. You spend a good deal of your time at work. To put it into perspective, a week consists of 168 hours, so if you are working 40 hours a week and are enduring any of these forms of workplace abuse, then almost a quarter of your life each week is spent in an abusive environment. That is not healthy.

While we pay close attention to domestic violence, little heed is given to abuse in the workplace. This blind eye has allowed it to flourish and grow into a serious problem that is crippling our workforce. As with any abuser, their intent is to beat down their victim, gain control and destroy their self esteem. Many victims of abuse, in the workplace or otherwise, feel worn down, exhausted, destroyed and hopeless. They feel that they have no recourse, are not able to defend themselves and have not choice but to continue in the dysfunctional, destructive relationship with their abuser. Few feel capable of defending themselves and fewer still feel that they have the power to initiate legal action. They feel trapped and alone, which is exactly what their abuser wants. It is how he or she maintains power over the victim.

This checklist will help you determine if you are being abused, particularly at work.

Does your employer/co-worker….

____Reprimand you in front of your co-workers?

____ Make fun of or embarrass you in front of your co-workers?

____Belittle or criticize your accomplishments?

____ Try to undermine or halt your pursuit of personal or professional goals?

____ Make you feel powerless or not in control?

____Cause you to feel as if you are unable to make decisions?

____Use threats (implicit or explicit) or intimidation to gain your compliance?

____Tell you that you will not find another job that will put up with you the way they do?

____Get physical with you, rough or not (any unwanted physical contact is harassment)?

____Use physical forms of intimidation such as checking up on you, lurking near your work area, standing very close to you when talking to you or standing over you?

____Use their position of authority as an excuse for saying hurtful things or for abusing you?

____Use physical forms of intimidation when meeting with you or reprimanding you (standing in the doorway, making threatening gestures, raising their voice, standing over you, etc)?

____Blame you for their actions towards you?

____Use verbal bullying as a way of manipulating you (interrupting, yelling, not listening, changing the topic, twisting your words)?

____Blame you for things that you did not do and for which they have no proof?

____Fabricate things that you have done wrong, then reprimand you for them?

____Mocks you, ridicules you, puts you down, calls you names, trivializes your words or accuses you of lying (implicitly or explicitly)?

____Make demands or give directives that are contradictory?

____Intimidates you by using angry expressions or gestures and/or by raising their voice?

____Harass you about things you have done in the past, issues that have been resolved, etc.?

____Use economic coercion as a way of manipulating you or intimidating you to “play the game” (threatening your job – implicitly or explicitly)?

____Sabotage your efforts at work (make up things about you, psychologically batter you so that your production suffers)?

____Uses pressure tactics such as guilt, accusations, threats or the “silent treatment” to manipulate you?

____Call you out for every little thing that they can, fabricating malicious intent on your part where there was none?

____Lie to you, withhold information from you, leave you off of important work related correspondence or leave you out of company communication?

____Refuse to listen to your side of the story when you are reprimanded, but instead berate you and accuse you of things that are not true?

____Make you feel like there “is no way out” and that you have no recourse?

____Isolate you from your co-workers either by forbidding contact or by abusing them when you associate with them (make them victims of abuse because of their association to you)?

____Threatens you verbally or nonverbally in either a direct or indirect manner?

____Try to control your relationships and activities that exist outside of work, such as socializing with co-workers, attending company events, etc.?

____Denies or minimizes being abusive?

Do You…

____Feel scared of how your supervisor or co-worker will act?

____Feel fearful of losing your job despite your good performance on the job?

____Feel isolated from your co-workers or work team?

____Feel guilty because your association with a co-worker will result in their being abused?

____Believe that you can turn things around and make your employer stop abusing you if only you changed something about yourself (be even more productive, be quieter or “invisible,” etc.)?

____Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your employer angry (walk on egg shells)?

____Feel that your employer disrespects you?

____Feel that no matter what you do, you will never do anything right in your employer’s eyes?

____Feel like you are beaten down, broken or depressed because of how your employer is treating you?

____Feel that you do not deserve better treatment or are not worth being treated with respect?

____Feel like no matter what you do, your employer is never happy with you?

____Feel uneasy about talking to your co-workers about anything, even work related topics?

____Feel nervous or afraid of what your employer will do if you call in sick at work, arrive a few minutes late one day, have a problem with your work tools (computer, software) or have to leave for an emergency?

____Feel that you can not trust your co-workers because it has been implied or told to you by your employer that they will tell on you?

____Feel that you have no one to go to for help because any attempts to seek support or help from upper management will be undermined or intercepted by your abuser?

____Worry that your production is compromised because of frequent “meetings” or “counseling” by your supervisor?

____Feel exhausted and stressed out because of the way that your supervisor or co-workers treat you?

____Feel that you are held to rigid and impossible timelines, structures in workflow and deadlines?

____Experience feelings of dread when thinking about your job or when you are at work?

____Feel that you are being set you up for failure?

____Distrust your feelings and perceptions about yourself, your co-workers or your employer?

____Feel inadequate when doing work that you once felt confident in doing?

____Experience minor or major illnesses frequently?

____Feel that you are always being watched for any slip or infraction?

____Worry that you have done something wrong on your job although you can think of nothing?

____Dread going into work where once you looked forward to it?

____Feel that you are being set up to be fired, disciplined or demoted?

____Feel that the stresses you experience at work are affecting your home life?

____Experience frequent headaches, gastrointestinal upset, increase or decrease in appetite or insomnia?

____Always do what your employer wants you to do even if it goes against what you believe in or you feel that it crosses ethical lines?

____Feel that you are walking on egg shells at work?

____Remain with your employer because you feel that you have no recourse?

One instance can qualify as “abusive,” but it does not necessarily fall into the category of mobbing or bullying. These terms are used to describe a pattern of behavior that includes some or all of the characteristics listed here. The problem with this type of abuse, as with other forms of psychological abuse, is that it often can not be verified. This exacerbates the effects of the abusive cycle because the victim often can not get validation for the abuse. Abusive behaviors are usually done subversively, behind closed doors, implicitly and the abuser may even accuse the victim of causing the abuse or of fabricating it.

This is why documentation is so vital in these situations. When many small, seemingly insignificant things are documented, they can create a much more telling, bigger picture.

If any of these are happening in your workplace, get help. It is important to take care of yourself even if you are in a position where action can not be taken legally. Talk to someone. Talk to a counselor, your doctor, a friend, an attorney. Without some help, the abuse will continue. Abusive personalities prey on who they perceive to be weak. They tear down the self esteem of their victims and make them feel as if they have no options, no where else to go. Establish a strong support system for yourself. Without some support, you will continue to take the abuse and believe that you have no recourse. You can be free from abuse in the workplace.

Keyword Research

It starts with a search box.

A few words are typed in and a whole world is opened up. Those few words, keywords, can take you wherever you want to go online, help you find whatever you want, and bring you to the source of any information you desire.

Ah, the keyword. Such power.

And that, kids, is why keyword research is so important. If you’re not doing it for your website you are missing out on traffic and sales. It is worth it?

Mobbing and Workplace Abuse: Are You a Victim?

ABSTRACT:

Most attention has been directed to spousal abuse, but workplace abuse is rising in prevalence. As incidences of workplace abuse increase, it is important to learn to recognize the signs. Education is the first step to getting free.

iosphere - businessman stomped by boss

As the nation’s economy continues to decline, more people are losing their jobs and jobs are becoming more and more scarce. Some organizations are capitalizing on the situation by lowering their standards for the treatment of their employees. After all, they are the “only game in town” and it isn’t as if you can just walk out of one job and into another right now. These opportunists are leaving in their wake employees who are overworked, stressed out, psychologically battered and bullied on a regular basis.

The Workplace Abuse Trap

The tragedy of the situation is that these employees basically have to grin and bear it or find themselves in the unemployment line. To struggling families, single parents and other individuals who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths, it is a matter of choosing the lesser of the evils: suck it up and remain in the abusive situation, or lose their job, go deeper into debt, be unable to feed their families, lose their homes, the list goes on and on. Most choose to remain in the abusive situations for many of the same reasons that so many women choose to remain in abusive relationships:

1. They feel that they are not worth more or do not deserve more

2. They feel that they have no choice

3. They feel that the abuse is somehow their fault

4. They feel a certain sense of security with the job (a workplace form of Stockholm Syndrome)

5. They feel that they do not have the energy, the drive, the strength to get out of the abusive situation

Mobbing

Mobbing is a term that has been coined to describe emotional abuse in the workplace. Also known as psychological terror, bullying, hostile work environment, workplace trauma, incivility, psychological aggression and emotional violence, mobbing can wreak havoc on a person’s productivity at work as well as their personal psychological state. Over time, an employee who has been the victim of mobbing can develop post traumatic stress disorder. In the short term, mobbing can cause employees to seek therapy, anti depression medication and other treatments.

The psychological pressure that comes from this type of abuse can lead to other health issues such as a compromised immune system (more incidences of colds, flu, etc.), migraines, high blood pressure and in extreme cases, even heart attack and stroke. Unfortunately, mobbing creates a destructive circle that will ultimately lead to the employee either taking leave, filing a worker’s compensation claim, quitting or getting fired.

While companies that employ this practice attempt to justify it by saying they are “tightening the reins” or “cracking the whip” to increase productivity or “straighten out” employee behavior, they are ultimately undermining their own efforts. As employees are battered more and more psychologically, their production suffers. This may not be immediately apparent, but over time there will be a decrease in production whether in quantity or quality.

Mobbing is a real problem in the workplace because many employees will try to “buddy up” to their supervisors or those they view as superior in rank in an effort to try to deflect some of the psychological blows and reduce the abuse and trauma. They will tell those in authority whatever they think they want to hear out of fear of losing their jobs, getting demoted or sustaining further, more vicious abuse.

The abusers thrive on this fear and use it to “divide and conquer” workplace teams. In an effort to separate the stronger, more confident employees (the ones who could potentially “cause problems” because they will not roll over and accept the abuse) from the fearful employees who are afraid of losing their jobs supervisors will try a variety of tactics to infuse the entire team with mistrust and suspicion. Imagine what would happen if the stronger employees were not separated from the employees who cow tow to the supervisors? The fearful employees would find support and become empowered!

This is one of the first things that an abuser does to his or her victim. They strive to separate the victim from their support system. They cause rifts in relationships, relocate them (in the workplace that would mean moving them to another location, firing outspoken employees, etc) or forbid them to communicate. Abusive spouses do it to their victims every day. By separating the victim from their support system, the victim is forced to rely solely on the abuser.

Mobbing is also used to describe a situation where co-workers, subordinates or superiors “gang up” on someone in an effort to force them to quit, to force them out of the workplace. This is done through behaviors that can be very blatant or quite subtle. They may do this through rumor, intimidation, humiliation, innuendo, isolation or discrediting. In short, they simply harass the person until they finally quit.

However, at the heart of it all, mobbing is malicious, general harassment that is neither racial nor sexual. It slips under the legal radar and walks some fuzzy ethical lines because it does not fall under the neat label that the law provides for workplace harassment. It is sneaky and underhanded and its perpetrators are cruel, narcissistic control freaks who thrive on their perceived feeling of power. They revel in the spoils that come from the abuse they inflict. As they see their victims cower and become more and more beaten down, they feel more and more powerful and in control.

Mobbing is a serious workplace health and safety issue that should be addressed. It is just coming onto the radar and support organizations are springing up in response. The adverse effects of mobbing and other workplace trauma impact the employee on a personal level. Their physical wellness, emotional wellness, health and safety are all affected as a result. When a person is distracted by the trauma that they are experiencing on a daily basis, they can not pay full attention to the tasks require it. This impacts the organization, but unfortunately, the narcissistic employer can not see that they are the cause of the problem so they simply release the employee and find another victim to terrorize.

Corporate Aggression

A relative to mobbing, corporate aggression is on a larger scale, but just as detrimental. Taken from the website www.worktrauma.org, it is described in this manner:

Corporate Aggression refers to all situations where the majority of employees or any minority group feel subjected to unilateral conscious, calculated or planned negative actions, attitudes, rules and/or policies imposed by the employer to serve the employer’s interests, in a situation where these employees feel that they are collectively unable to defend themselves and/or approach and/or reason with the source of aggression and/or effect any changes. (Steinman, 2002)

When employees are made to feel humiliated, disrespected, undermined through malicious, cruel, vindictive means, they are not in a healthy work environment. What’s more, they will usually feel that due to psychological pressure, intimidation, harassment, threats, manipulation, extortion, coercion, hostile behavior and conspiracies, that they have not recourse and must “play the game.” They may even feel that they have no where to turn so they never voice their discontent or unhappiness. Often, they do just the opposite by telling their employer and supervisor that they are happy and have no problems. This is the intimidation and psychological pressure doing its magic. The employees are so intimidated that they feel they have no voice so they just tell their employer what they want to hear in hopes that the abuse will lessen.

Characteristics of Workplace Trauma

Some characteristics of workplace trauma include (definitions taken from Work Trauma Foundation www.worktrauma.org.):

Abuse
Behavior that humiliates, degrades or otherwise indicates a lack of respect for the dignity and worth of an individual.

Bullying or Mobbing
Repeated and overtime offensive behavior through vindictive, cruel or malicious attempts to humiliate, disrespect or undermine an individual or groups of employees and includes, but is not limited to psychological pressure, harassment, intimidation, threats, conspiracies, manipulation, extortion, coercion and hostile behavior which could impact on the worth, dignity and well-being of the individual or groups.

Harassment
Any conduct based on age, disability, HIV status, domestic circumstances, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, race, color, language, religion, political, trade union or other opinion or belief, national or social origin, association with a minority, property, birth or other status that is unreciprocated or unwanted and which affects the dignity of men and women at work.

Sexual Harassment
Any unwanted, unreciprocated and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is offensive to the person involved, and causes that person to be threatened, humiliated, degraded or embarrassed.

Racial Harassment
Any implicit or explicit threatening conduct that is based on race, colour, language, national origin, religion, association with a minority, birth or other status that is unreciprocated or unwanted and which affects the dignity of women and men at work.

Threat
Any implicit or explicit promised use of physical force or power (i.e. psychological force, blackmail or stalking), resulting in fear of physical, sexual, psychological harm or other negative consequences to the targeted individuals or groups.

Structural Violence
The intentional use of power and/or organisational systems and structures or laws against an individual or entity (employer, management, shareholders, employee, group of employees, client, government, unions) to carry out a covert or unethical agenda, enforce change or indulge in unfair practices to the disadvantage of the affected individual or entity.

Includes but not limited to the disrespectful handling of changes in the organization, unrealistic redistribution of workload, intimidation, policies, procedures, regulations, manipulation, coercion to act in a certain way and so on, exercised by an individual or entity.

Psychological Violence
Intentional use of power, including threat of physical force, against another person or group, that can result in harm to family life, livelihood, physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. Includes verbal abuse, bullying/mobbing, harassment, intimidation and threats.

Assault/Attack
Intentional behaviour that harms another person or group physically, including sexual assault (i.e. rape).

Physical Violence
The use of physical force against another person or group that results in physical, sexual or psychological harm.

Includes beating, kicking, slapping, stabbing, shooting, pushing, biting, pinching, strangling, among others.

For clarification purposes, definitions were included that extend beyond those that describe mobbing and workplace trauma. However, all forms of workplace abuse, whether clearly defined by law or simply unethical and waking shady legal lines, are still abuse and still leave destruction and chaos in their wake.

Torture, the Core of Mobbing

Interestingly, Amnesty International has listed several criteria that are inherent of the word torture. It is strongly recommended that these criteria be incorporated in any definition that comprehensively describes torture. The process of torture ensures the torturer that their victim will have limited or no choices and will remain trapped in a certain situation that causes stress which is manipulated to induce thwarted attempts by the victim to sustain consistent, learned personal behaviour patterns by which their own self image is valued. In short, their self worth, self identity and valuation as a person are all withheld and destroyed. The criteria defining torture include:

1. At least two people are involved

2. There is acute pain and suffering inflicted

3. It breaks the victim’s will or is an attempt to break the victim’s will

4. It follows a process that is systematic

5. To the torturer, its purpose is rational and reasonable

Mobbing, psychological violence and other types of abuse and harassment in the workplace are, unfortunately, a reality. What’s more, the incidence of this type of abuse is growing. While there are virtually no laws designed to handle this type of debilitating workplace abuse, there are organizations that are cropping up and are attempting to address the problem. If you feel that you are a victim of workplace abuse or mobbing, visit the links listed here. These sites have great information and a wealth of resources. Educating yourself, learning to identify abuse, and building your support system are the first steps to getting free from abuse.

Marketing Quote of the Day

“Transforming a brand into a socially responsible leader doesn’t happen overnight by simply writing new marketing and advertising strategies. It takes effort to identify a vision that your customers will find credible and aligned with their values.” – Simon Mainwaring