We often cross paths with many people at work. We may have differences of opinion with some of them but there can be times when the behaviour of others has a big impact on us. A bully can deeply affect our self-belief.
What is bullying?
Workplace bullying is ongoing unreasonable behaviour that is directed towards an individual or group of workers. This repeated behaviour is regarded as a psychological hazard which can affect the health and safety of those being bullied.
Examples of bullying
Abusive or insulting language or other comments.
Physical assault or the threat of potential violence.
Aggression and intimidation.
Victimising a co-worker.
Unwarranted criticism or unjustified complaints about the person.
Spreading rumours about a co-worker’s ability by social media, texting or email.
Recognizing a bully
It can be difficult to recognize a bully at first.
They can initially come across as friendly and appear very helpful but ultimately will do whatever will benefit them.
Many people do not want to rock the boat so they will comply with the bully until it becomes almost unbearable.
This is how a bully will run a workplace because others are fearful of retaliation.
The bully will often also make remarks about certain people, blame others for his mistakes and take credit for something he or she did not do.
They may also encourage others to participate by asking them to exclude certain workers from activities or meetings.
What can you do?
Often people will blame themselves for the bullying and maybe feel that they deserve this.
Assess the situation and trust your instincts, if you feel you are being bullied then you are probably right. Do not ignore bullying. It probably will not stop without intervention.
It is not your fault when you are bullied, try and talk with the person, have another person around as a mediator.
Prepare what you will say to the person bullying you and don’t lose your temper or retaliate.
Ideally your human resources department should be able to help you.
If you do not have a human resources manager, talk with a manager or supervisor about it.
Document any incidents of bullying and keep records of all these communications including emails.
There may be other people willing to support your case against the bully.
In a few cases there may be no changes even if you report it. This can happen if the perpetrator is a manager or high up in the company.
So what are your options then? You can either leave your job or take legal action against the person and the company.
The second option can be very time-consuming and exhausting but sometimes the mention of legal action will prompt a company to take action.
Many companies around the world have programs in place to prevent workplace bullying, due to a rise of incidents being reported and costs associated with ignoring these situations.
Lastly there is also the option of outside help, from a neutral person or company to help you through the process.
Do not feel that you are alone as about six to seven percent of people have been bullied at work.
Talk to someone today if you think you or someone else is being bullied.