Corporate Fight Club
There are plenty of articles about bullying, nowadays, and they don’t always focus on the victim. For example, an article on Digital Journal covered the story of a bully in the US whose teachers made him stand in front of his entire class and then instructed his classmates to take turns slapping him. This was the form of punishment that the teachers felt fitted the crime. One of the teachers was consequently fired.
When it comes to bullying children, there are instances when you can almost, to some degree, justify the behaviour. This is because there are usually underlying reasons that cause the bullying behaviour. It’s then possible to address the problems and the behaviour so that the child can understand why bullying is unacceptable.
Adults bullying adults is something else, however, because adults ought to know better. Unfortunately, it’s commonplace, especially in the workplace.
Bullying in the workplace often involves tactics of psychological warfare and covert mind games which are unlike physical forms of bullying. The behaviour is generally allowed to continue and fester due to a combination of factors. For example, the bully could be very good at their job, they are probably very clever when it comes to disguising their behaviour, victims could already doubt their ability to succeed, and employers could be plain ignorant and not spot the problem. As a result, the victim is usually too scared to report the bully and often feels that there is no choice but to resign.
There are many ways to spot workplace bullying, including high staff turnover, excessive absenteeism due to ‘ill health’, and a demoralised and unmotivated workforce, all of which affect productivity and performance.
Are you being bullied?
There are many ways in which a bully targets victims within an office environment. The trick is being able to distinguish bullying from normal workplace behaviour.
If you are constantly being shouted at or spoken to in a less than desirable manner in front of other colleagues, you are being bullied. This type of behaviour is unacceptable from anyone and should not be condoned in any way.
If you are purposely provided with incorrect information that does not allow you to perform your job properly, and that doesn’t allow you to complete tasks accurately and on time, making you look incompetent, you are being bullied.
Having lies or untruths spread about you, and being harassed or criticised in a manner designed to demoralise you means that you are being bullied.
All of these behaviours are destructive. They have the ability to destroy a person not only professionally but also psychologically, which is why management needs to be made aware of the issue and address it properly.
Dealing with bullying
There are many ways to deal with a bully and one of the most effective is to use your voice. Speak up. Confront the bully and state your grievance, because silence will only allow the harassment to continue.
If you can’t do it on your own, consult the relevant department at your workplace in order to assist you. Not having the confidence to deal with a bully on your own is not a sign of weakness; fear has the ability to paralyse us all. It is therefore imperative to get help.
Above all, if you are not the victim, help someone who is. Not everyone has the ability to make their voice heard, so assist them by using your voice to bring an end to the intimidation.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-za/images/results.aspx?qu=sad+man&ex=1#ai:MP900289918|
Eleni Hoplaros is a freelance writer, so she doesn’t have to deal with workplace bullying, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t aware of the severity of the problem, and importance of taking steps to address it.
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