Bullies. They went from stealing your lunch in high school to stealing your promotion in the public service. So, is it true? Do nice guys really finish last?
Up until now, the answer would have been “no.” At least, that’s what nice guys told themselves. Conventional knowledge told us that bullies came from troubled homes, lacked confidence, and were abused or harassed themselves. Unfortunately, new research coming out of Simon Fraser University says the opposite.
According to Jennifer Wong, the criminology professor responsible for the study, bullying is an effective tool competitive people use to climb the social ladder and establish their rank.
While that may not be surprising, this finding certainly is. Wong and her research team have concluded that bullies come by their behaviour honestly – through their genes. Being a jerk is biologically hard-wired into bullies, not a learned behaviour.
It gets worse. The “troubled” bully you felt compelled to feel sorry for on some level actually has a higher rate of self-esteem and lower rates of depression than the recipients of their torment. Ugh.
What does this tell you about the long journey to the corner office? When psychologist Tony Volk of Brock University implemented an anti-bullying pilot project at an Arizona school by placing bullies in “high-status jobs,” bullying fell dramatically.
The average bully isn’t particularly sadistic or deeply argumentative,” Volk says. “What they really are is people driven for status.”
So when will that bully at work ever stop harassing you? When they become your boss, apparently.
With files from the National Post.