Put a stop to Workplace Bullying
Sadly, bullying in the workplace is on the increase, and without doubt, bullying whether as the victim or those who witness the bullying are clearly affected.
Health, self-esteem and morale are equally affected. Let us not hide from the reality here, bullying whether in school or at work can have disastrous consequences. Occasionally, the bullying can be so bad that people who are bullied may eventually commit suicide.
Workplace Bullying: A Costly Business Secret
It is very clear that bullying should not be tolerated, without exception. If you are the victim of a bully or indeed if you witness bullying in action, it is imperative that you raise the issue immediately with your line manager, or if it is your line manager who is responsible for the bullying, then you must go to the next level of management.
Bullying is a sure fire way of affecting your work life balance, we go to work for many reasons, none of those reason give the bully a right or justification for carrying out bullying.
A zero tolerance to bullying should be in place in each and every workplace, this can of course be difficult, but you should not let this become unchallenged, a policy is a must have and not simply a nice to have.
Although no legal definition of bully exists, the Chartered Management Institute defines bullying as: –
“Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, or abuse or misuse of power, which violates the dignity of, or creates a hostile environment which undermines, humiliates, denigrates or injures, the recipient” What constitutes Bullying?
As with the above definition, many interpretations and opinions exist when trying to understand bullying. Some specific behavioural characteristics may cause or contribute to the bullying and they can include any or indeed all of the following.
Aggressive behaviours involving shouting, swearing or abuse.
Lack of interpersonal or communication skills, on either side.
Giving people either too much or too little work.
Threats relating to job security.
Sarcasm and ridicule.
Spreading unfounded, malicious rumours.
Over stringent supervision.
Physically intimidating or harassing behaviour.
It is fair to say that any of the above can be misinterpreted as bullying, and it is not appropriate to classify every person who has any of these behavioural attributes as a bully, the key fact to understand is that of timescale, if the issues above are constant, occur daily and not simply a situation where a colleague has had a bad day, and, for example, behaves sarcastically to you, this on its own does not constitute bullying.
Raise awareness of bullying in the workplace in your team get togethers, if these are not available to you raise them through office or workplace notice boards.
It is advisable to raise awareness of this issue whenever the opportunity arises, increasing the profile of bullying in the workplace as a serious threat to an organisation, and let us not forget that the cost can be immense, in both human and physical terms, if work colleagues are safe in the knowledge that issues will be dealt with in a safe and sympathetic environment then standing up to bullies will become a lot easier.