I was never bullied at school. Perhaps I was just lucky, or perhaps the wide range of things to ridicule (my NHS specs, my utter lack of sporting ability, my adoration of Donny Osmond) just blew their little bully minds and they moved on to easier targets. I was bullied once in the workplace – but as I was freelance, I was able to vote with my feet and choose not to work with him again. I gave him plenty of metaphorical two-fingered salutes (and one real one, years later, when I spotted him and hid behind a delivery van); he’s lucky it all happened before I became really self-confident, as nowadays he might get a finger in the eye.
Bullying is on my mind because the other day I was talking to an MLRO [Money Laundering Reporting Officer – some of my newest readers are not in the regulated sector, so I should explain] and she asked what she should do about clients who are bullies. “They bully my fellow directors,” she explained, “Demanding that certain transactions go ahead before we’ve done our proper due diligence, and then the other directors bully me because they’re scared of losing the client.” Yikes – what a nasty situation. And so of course we need to ask: what would Donny do? Being a man of great integrity and tough moral fibre, he would do what needs to be done: tell someone in authority.
For the MLRO, this would probably not be the first step; that would be to explain to her directors why she cannot accede to their demands, and how doing unchecked business is a reputational and regulatory risk that cannot be taken. But if they still refuse to allow her to do her job, then she will have to report to her regulator that she is being obstructed in the performance of her role as laid down in legislation. She might also want to poke someone in the eye with her finger. Just saying.