A toolkit for managers wanting to create inclusive cultures by addressing toxic behaviors that stagnate innovation, fracture work communities, and drive out top employees and as a lifeline for employees suffering through workplace abuse.
Workplace Bullying: Finding Your Way to Big Tent Belonging is a lifeline for people who have been targets of workplace abuse and are desperately trying to make sense of the trauma. It is a resource for partners trying to help their loved ones heal. And, it is a toolkit for managers and industry leaders inspiring to create inclusive cultures by proactively addressing toxic behaviors that stagnate innovation, fracture work communities, and drive out top employees. To simplify a complex topic and make the book readable and engaging for a wide audience, the author uses the elements of story to tell the tale of workplace bullying, zooming in on the characters, settings, and plotlines of cultures that allow and/or encourage workplace abuse.
Dorothy Suskind is an Assistant Professor in the Education and Counseling Department at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. In her current role, she supervises pre-service teachers in the field and teaches classes in early literacy, disciplinary literacy, behavior management, secondary education, and a capstone course focusing on women as disruptive change agents in their community. Currently, Dorothy serves on the Research Team and Executive Board of the National Workplace Bullying Coalition and is the Vice President of the Virginia College Literacy Educators.
Dorothy Suskind’s work in this area is truly groundbreaking and may indeed be transformative. Her in-depth, and expansive study of targets of workplace bullying, may be the most extensive study into this form of workplace abuse. Here research findings and her description and explanation of these findings will help to propel the work in this field forward to assist targets, and to prevent, detect, remedy, and eliminate workplace bullying. Dorothy shares her deep understanding of the phenomena of workplace bullying with the reader in a way that makes this complex problem easy to understand. She identifies the systemic flaws in organizations, and especially in the practice of HR. Her analysis of these flaws provide us all with a path to change this broken system to prevent the devastation that workplace bullying wreaks on workers, their families, their communities, and their organizations. Workplace Bullying: Finding Your Way to Big Ten Belonging is a must read for any serious researcher or practitioner in the field. This should also be mandatory reading for every organizational leader who has the power to address bullying in their places of work. I also would highly recommend that anyone who has suffered from workplace bullying read this work as soon as possible. For anyone who says, I wish someone had told me, the way that Dorothy herself states, this book is your chance to be told and to be helped. Kudos to Dorothy.
Dorothy Suskind's thoughtful text offers a compelling theory about workplace bullying and belonging. Gently guiding readers toward understanding, Dorothy encourages those beset by bullies' toxic affronts to resist the expectations imposed by bullies' unwritten rules, and instead, to find the inner compass that directs them personally forward.
Everyone who has a job, had a job, or wants a job should read this book! In it, you will see yourself, find yourself, and wonder about your present, past, and future. This book is written as a warning and a celebration! Overall, each of us must decide if our purpose is to color inside the lines, scribble across someone else’s drawing, or use the crayons to create.
For the first time in my professional legal career, I have read a book that has given me "crystal clear" clarity about the kind of working professional I have grown to be, after struggling for many years, not having an explanation or a definition to explain the reasons I have found myself working in bullying environments over and over and over and over again. Although I consult with targets who are being bullied in the workplace and help them navigate through their experience successfully, I continue to accept new client cases every day. I have successfully navigated myself through my own bullying experiences and yet, I seem to always find the bullying attorney in every legal office I accept employment in.
Close friends and family members have asked me, "Why you? Why do you keep ending up working in these legal offices and keep getting bullied?" I have been told, "there is something about you that is attracting this behavior in the workplace." Since 2014, I have racked my brain trying to find my own answers and explanations. I have spent years addressing my triggers and trauma from my childhood and believe that I have the power to manifest the fabulous life I am so deserving of living, but I have never been able to find any peace of mind as to "why" until NOW!!!
Dorothy has done the research and provided the answers to the questions I have been asked and has FINALLY given me a "Creative" label and definition about the "why" in her book Workplace Bullying: Finding Your Way to Big Tent Belonging. Dorothy details the Creative's mindset and description being "different in how they think, look, speak, process and engage" and how a person of that nature "enrages a Dragon" which gave me instant peace and understanding and the ability to answer that "why" question!!!
This book provided a new kind of support to me on my journey of "flipping the script and reclaiming my narrative" and addressing my post-traumatic growth after trauma. This book has helped me "see" my awesomeness and also understand the social hierarchy of "Big Tent Belonging" and what happens when people (Creatives) look at and experience situations uniquely seeing things from all perspectives, noticing problems, offering solutions and practicing empathy who get bullied for it. I felt like I was reading about ME in this book as I flipped the pages! I have been trying to make sense of why I have been bullied in the workplace for several years and this book helped me understand why gossip, sabotage, gaslighting and exclusion pushed me out of jobs I loved and excelled at. If you have found yourself or someone you love suffering from workplace bullying please gift them a copy of this book and bless them with the understanding of who they were created to be in this world. This book will help any target move forward away from working environments that abuse them and help them find their professional path to their own greatness!
Dorothy Suskind has courageously walked alongside hundreds of targets of abuse, identifying the common features of their workplace bullying torture chambers. The map she synthesizes is uncanny in its accuracy. Her sage advice grounded in research illuminates hidden exits toward healing.
Suskind wields the power of naming and of narrative inquiry with the dexterity of a formidable warrior and in so doing, defangs the beast of workplace bullying, who she calls the dragon; and at the same time she affirms the experiences and stories of the creatives, the targets of the dragon. Though the dragon has many tools of cruelty, chief among them the poison of exclusion, Suskind’s theory of tent belonging is an apt antidote that renders the dragon less effective. In this book, Suskind names the themes, the plot and the characters of the insidious play of workplace psychological terror, amplifies the voices of the protagonist, as well as shames and leaves the antagonists no place to hide.
In the Prelude of Workplace Bulling: Finding Your Way to Big Tent Belonging, Dorothy Suskind admits, “I didn’t want to write this book.” It had to be written. As an educator who ticks all the boxes with which she identifies “Creatives,” the bullied and the ostracized in the workplace, I found it emotionally challenging to read. And I couldn’t put it down.
Through stories from over 200 Creatives who were driven to quit and/or suffered PTSD and physical illnesses because of the abuse they experienced at work, Suskind took me on a retrospective journey through my own career. In describing the Creative (the characters are inspired by Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces) and how Dragons and Shapeshifters work to keep the innovators small, she opens a window to the self for so many who have been bullied in the workplace. What I experienced in the year before I finally and reluctantly left my job of 37 years: the lies, the meetings called for the purpose of splitting my team, the micromanaging, the disregard for my growing international influence… is all in this courageous, eloquent book.
Read it if, as a Leader, you are responsible for the culture of a workplace. Read it if you know you are complicit because you went along with ostracizing a colleague who, as far as you know, was doing a great job. Read it to heal if you are a Creative. Then, with new insight, shed the doubt and shame with which the bullies try to diminish you. And check in on your colleagues; they may be caught in the Dragon’s sights.