Her reaction was guilt, concern and furrowed brow disappointment in herself. She forwarded me an email sent to her by a “respected” and much older industry colleague from another firm.
As I’ve taught her to when she wasn’t 100% sure on something, my junior staff member had drafted a response, but wanted to run it past me first.
As I read her responding email and then scrolled down to read the email that had prompted it my blood boiled in my veins.
Scrapping her response I lit up the keyboard with my own to the bully, which said – in fairly plain terms – back down, stop bullying my staff member and do what was asked of you because it was perfectly reasonable.
I haven’t had a lot to do with bullies in my life – I’m lucky for that and, in this case, the bullying wasn’t directed at me, but at a young staff member in a (sadly successful) attempt to make her feel bad, small and less than for a perfectly reasonable and professional request that she had made on behalf of a customer.
The bullying was uncalled for, it was unnecessary and I’m dumfounded as to why someone like this person would feel the need to do it to someone 20+ years their junior.
What I’m also sad for – and I have to take the blame for this, is that I haven’t embodied my staff member with enough faith in herself yet to recognise this as bullying and to have come to me straight away rather than feeling bad. That’s a work in progress for me.
From broke at 19 to retired at 27, Kirsty Dunphey is an entrepreneur, mother and author, and lives by the motto Memento Vivere (remember to live).