Eliminating The VICTIM Mentality | Improving Workplace Culture

If you have read past articles, you may already be familiar with The 2% Factor's stance on "becoming a victim" of workplace bullying or workplace conflict.

If you are not, I will briefly outline this for you.  

In the work environment, understanding the difference between victim and target, and the effects that the "victim mentality" can have is important if managers are to constantly and consistently get the best from their people.

The 2% Factor, as a company and a philosophy holds the idea of "being the victim" in very low regard and something that a positive, high-performing, healthy workplace culture does not need.  

To understand why "victims" have no place in a healthy workplace culture, consider the following differentiation between a "target" and "victim".

To begin with, there is a dramatic difference between being a victim and being a target. 

An employee becomes a target for workplace conflict, employee harassment, or workplace bullying when another person (such as a coworker or manager) decides to engage in an inappropriate behaviour and direct it at that employee.

The employee has not necessarily done anything to warrant such a behaviour being aimed at them and instead is often the unwitting recipient of someone else's negativity. 

One of the beliefs embedded in The 2% Factor's "Mastery" programs is the concept that we need to be in control without being controlling. In other words, we can't control the thoughts or actions of others, only ourself.

This implies that a person has little control over whether they are selected to be the target of a workplace bully or not. 

However, being a target is also short-lived because as soon as a person is targeted, they must select how they will respond. They can either be proactive and take action to halt the unacceptable behaviour or they will adopt the characteristics of a victim.

When a person lacks the tools and skills to effectively deal with the conflict, they may travel down the road to becoming a "victim".  This often means that  they - to a degree - accept their mistreatment as unavoidable or out of their control, and believe they are powerless to prevent the mistreatment from continuing (again, because they don't know how to prevent it...).

The "victim mentality" takes over as the employee's perceptions begin to warp and they see everything as happening to them.  Victims don't see themselves as playing any part in the mistreatment and - perhaps to minimize harm to their ego or self-image - absolve themselves of any responsibility for the situation.  

This is a critical factor because, for a person to play the role of "victim", they must believe they are in no way accountable for what happens to them in their life. They may blame a coworker, blame the government, blame their employer or manager, or even blame whichever religious deity they believe in.  

For a victim, blaming others is essential for maintaining the perspective that what is happening is being inflicted on them by an external force that they are powerless to prevent.  It is for this reason that victims wallow in their misery and often attempt to bring as much attention to their victimization as possible.

Consider the effect of a victim - as described in this article - on the workplace.  When an employee becomes a victim, we see a notable erosion in their overall attitude, a decline in their behaviour towards coworkers and challenging tasks, and a reduction in their demonstrated ability to perform their duties.  

Even the best employee, when they become a victim, makes the progression from confident, assertive, high-performing professional to negative, self-deprecating, depressed victim who wastes critical work time feeling sorry for them self instead of being a productive member of the team.

When a victim's performance at work declines, their victim mentality again swoops in and envelops this performance drop. The employee begins to apply the "victim thinking" towards their work performance causing the employee to again blame other people or other factors for the decline. "I wasn't given proper instructions", "I don't have enough resources", "it isn't may fault, Joe didn't give me the report on time", "I don't have the proper training", and even "it is just because my boss hates me!"  

Rather than accept responsibility or accountability for the drop in performance, they convince themselves they are powerless to prevent the decline because whatever external force is causing it is too powerful for them to fight. 

In time, the victim becomes a centre of negativity in the workplace for their coworkers. Team or departmental morale falls, productivity falls, and employees become less engaged and more eager to leave work as quickly as possible at the end of the day.

How can the perpetuation of this mentality be avoided?

When management allocates time, energy, or money towards improving workplace culture, they must examine what their practice and/or policy is when it comes to effectively dealing with "victims". If the practice is to tell the victim to "toughen up"...they are blaming the victim rather than helping them to transition towards a healthier, more productive mentality.  

Please take careful note...THIS DOES NOT WORK!  

Instead, eliminating the victim mentality can be accomplished easily by taking a systematic approach to providing employees with the human skills and tools that will empower and educate them about what they can do to end their targeting and prevent themselves from becoming victims.  

If you are ready to take steps to guarantee you never feel like a victim, learn more about our Personal Mastery Program. The lessons taught have been helping people to take control back over their life for over 20 years.