“Bad relationship at work. Criticising a person persistently”

Criticising a person persistently or constantly may be related to micromanaging which can turn into bullying. It can be caused by many factors which bias a supervisor’s perception, e.g. a personal dislike, a tactic to eliminate unwanted employees, an inappropriate management style, perfectionism, the severe nature of an assessor, increased time or performance pressure, and organisational culture.

“A bad joke. Making obviously offensive jokes.”

Making jokes that are 'obviously offensive' by spoken word or e-mail. Someone acts as if they are innocent jokes, but this is far from a banter. It can be limited only by the offender’s imagination and resources from social media.

“Assigning unreasonable duties or workload.”

Assigning unreasonable duties or workloads, which are unfavourable to one person, in a way that creates unnecessary pressure. The picture shows a manager deploying tasks equally, except for one person who gets an overwhelming amount of work. Reportedly a very widespread issue and one of the biggest nuisances in the workplace.

“A small dispute can cause a big row. Malicious rumours and imputation.”

Spreading malicious rumours, gossip, or innuendo that is not true. The typical story: a group of workers continually talk and spread rumours behind someone’s back, and finally they unanimously accuse the victim. The genesis of bullying is often caused by an escalation of a small disagreement or tiny conflict.

“One of the organisational causes of a failure.”

A classic story about the gossip culture, this time in a customer-service setting. The story is to show the power of malicious gossiping, excuses, and false denunciation in an organisational setting prone to bad communication and bullying.

“Tribal dance and scapegoat.”

The scapegoat mechanism at work. Atavistic and tribal instincts are triggered by some failure of the group which seeks a scapegoat to close the case. A pagan scene in a contemporary setting.

“Belittling a person's opinions.”

Although serious in the real world, it is portrayed with one eye closed. When women are in a role of supervisor or bosses, it also happens that they bully both men and women.

“Constantly changing work guidelines.”

It spoils someone’s whole effort. It stupefies them by often giving contradictory directions. Supervisors do it deliberately to persecute disliked workers, but it can also happen because of the chaotic managing style of a manager or leader.

“Removing responsibilities and tasks without cause.”

Removing areas of responsibility and taking away some tasks without good reason.

One person gets a very little slice of the cake, which can be a more interesting, rewarding or prestigious part of the work. Such underwork creates a feeling of uselessness. This is the opposite situation to being overloaded, but it can also be negative because it hampers the development of a worker’s potential and does not allow them to gain advancement in the future. This picture also shows that when a worker has less work to do, it does not have to mean that they are privileged.


“Blocking application for training.”

Someone applies for training or some school which is good for them and the organisation, but a decision-maker treats it frivolously and contemptuously.

“Blocking application for leave.”

Someone’s plans and dreams can be buried with one malicious decision. This story is not about strategically keeping an important worker at work when they are really needed.

“The tricky game. Impossible deadlines and a workload that sets up someone to fail.”

Establishing impossible deadlines that will set up the individual to fail.

Someone deliberately put too much workload onto a co-worker by assigning more and more tasks to an individual who already has a huge stack of documents in front of him. Time is passing fast, but he accepts it as he is preoccupied and distracted by his work and believes that he will have it done on time. Other workers don’t know about it, and in the end, blame him for not fulfilling his work.

“Setting the bar too high.”

Setting unreachable standards and unobtainable goals for a team causes unnecessary pressure and creates conflicts. It forms a generally stressful workplace in which employees would not want to engage and participate in the long run.

“Lynch at work.”

It is a mere metaphor, but the contemporary system of values can breed really nasty and aggressive behaviour. One may think that achieving business goals is of the utmost importance, and only one way to survive in a competitive world. For others, it is just hard work or sometimes utter hell. But let’s not elaborate on business and socio-cultural reality. The problem occurs when you cross the border and commit bullying because someone does not conform perfectly to these rules and must be blamed. Since instances of real lynchings and similar mob violence can be found in every society why could it not happen in the office?

“The dream of a supervisor. Ambition, fear and a bad attitude to workers.”

Bad attitudes towards workers and distorted perceptions about them, fuelled by personal gain and compliance, lead to overloading subordinates which, in turn, creates pressure and conflicts. There may also be a management system involved in it that attracts or pushes people into such behaviour.


“Surprise in the cupboard .”

It is a well-known reminder of what might happen when you neglect something important. It works very well in a bullying context.

“Strange coincidence.”

Undermining or deliberately impeding a person's work is like putting skids under somebody's feet. Sudden and unexpected obstacles and traps, like blocking resources, and the passivity and helplessness of co-workers, are typical of bullying and can destroy someone’s work.

“Outsider. Ostracism and social isolation.”

There are many single incidents that may create when they happen together, a history of pushing someone out the team and excluding someone socially. Such a situation can slowly, step by step, lead to a worker’s isolation, and then either he or she gives notice or is kept down.

“Has an employee got a choice? Has an employer got a choice?”

Work is already a very impersonal place, and on top of that, there is bullying! All this makes a worker feel like they are in an “invisible” cage in a prison, let alone on a treadmill. Having gained awareness of it, the only one thought is to escape! Polls show that this is a very frequent thought. But does he really have to quit the job?

This story also suggests that the hero can enliven his life on his own and can be seen in two distinctive ways. On the one hand, it is a support for people being in the trap of negative thinking about their hopelessness of their future. On the other hand, it is a reminder about what just might be happening in your workplace and the possible consequences of it.

“An intrusive colleague. Pestering, spying or stalking.”

Intruding on a person's privacy by pestering, spying or stalking. When someone is meddlesome and obsessed with finding something on a colleague and to prove they are at fault, then it creates a situation that can be disturbing and harmful, like any other form of oppression.


“Tampering with a person's personal belongings or work equipment.”

It shows a lack of respect for someone’s privacy and intellectual property, but often its main goal is to find something on the victim to harm their reputation.

“A man lost in the office. Withholding or giving the wrong information.”

Withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information.

Not having clear information and directions is like going through a crazy maze in which signposts only mislead and stupefy, so you err to the dead end. It covers general disinformation, deliberate understatements, and hiding vital hints and misguiding.

“Blocking application for promotion.”

This is a more serious story with bad consequences. A worker has worked hard, has some accomplishments and deserves a promotion. The team agrees on that, but the prospect of his promotion is spoilt by his enemy in power who blocks it and does so only because he harbours some resentment.

“Don't be like him!”

Yelling, using profanity and threatening a worker by mere epithets, intimidating a person, threats of demotion and dismissal. It also shows how it creates difficult and awkward situations for other workers who do know how to find themselves in it and suffer from it too. Many poll respondents acknowledge this widespread (and growing problem) problem.

“Positive mindset and persistence.”

A positive story about bouncing back after a failure at work. The failure fuels unpleasant memories and sad feelings, but thanks to wise imagination and practical skills this state of mind can be overcome.

“You have no right to act like that.”

A communication such as: "You have no right to act like that" is an example of an assertive response to some bad behaviours and such pictures can be used at interactive workshops. They can act to help make feelings stronger when someone wishes to talk to about their thoughts and feelings to others.

“Bad apples at work. The satirical view of three common types of problematic workers.”

The Jerk, the Slacker, the Depressive. It is said that these three types of workers can undermine the workplace. It is depicted in a humorous manner, but in reality, it can be truly destructive. It can spoil relationships among people, disrupt the fulfillment of duties, and organisationally and financially undermine a company. On the other hand, some situations already depicted by the little stories about work can prompt depressive reactions and mood, and in turn, create a vicious circle.

“The Parable of the Blind after P. Bruegel the Elder.”

It is based on a very old painting, but seemingly it still has relevance. Following blindly a leader and getting on the bandwagon do not always pay off.

 Do you fancy seeing more clips?

Please, back this project and let us continue this challenging task. These seemingly simple stories are in themselves truly time and money consuming. We would like to illustrate as many tricky situations as possible and enrich the artwork.

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