Bullying can take many forms. It doesn’t just happen at school or in other social situations; it can also happen at work. However, while many people think of bullying as a rather trivial thing, the effects on the victim can be devastating. And while not everyone who mistreats others at work is doing it as an act of bullying, this is a type of behaviour that can often result in the victim being ostracized and even fired.
Bullying is an insidious thing that creeps up on you when you least expect it, so if you recognize any of these warning signs, you need to take steps to put a stop to it before things get out of hand. Read on for more details about how bullying manifests at work and how you can stop it from getting out of control.
Recognize the signs of bullying at work
Bullying usually takes place behind closed doors, with the bully targeting individuals who are less powerful than they are. There is often a pattern of behaviour, such as a manager taking offence at something an employee has said and then taking it out on them in some way.
Because bullies are often looking to humiliate the people they target, they may engage in subtle forms of harassment, such as raising their voices at employees or making sarcastic comments. Bullying can also take the form of sabotage, such as taking employees’ tasks away from them without giving a reason.
Bullying is intentional — and it’s also easy to spot
While most people might assume that bullying is something that just happens, and is a natural expression of frustration, this isn’t the case. If you think someone is bullying you, then you need to make sure you document everything that happens — including instances where you were mistreated but were too afraid to speak up.
This will help you to prove your case if you decide to go to HR. If you see bullying taking place, you need to be firm in your response to it. Don’t try to pretend that you don’t see what’s going on, or that you don’t care — as this will only serve to make you a target for the bully as well.
It’s also possible for employees to be complicit in bullying
While managers and senior members of staff are often the perpetrators of bullying, it’s also possible for the rest of the staff may be complicit in this type of behaviour.
If you see your colleagues joining in with the bullying, either actively or passively, you must speak up. If you don’t, you might find yourself becoming a target, as bullies often like to silence anyone who tries to stand up for the person they are bullying.
When employees feel bullied, they often react by quitting
It’s important to remember that, while bullying can be a very destructive type of behaviour, it isn’t always obvious at first. In fact, it can take time for the effects of bullying to become apparent, meaning that you might not even realize that you have been bullied until it’s too late.
If you feel that someone is bullying you, you need to take immediate action. As we mentioned earlier, you should document any events that have led you to feel this way, but you also need to tell your manager.
Strategies to help stop workplace bullying
Create a culture of inclusion: There are many different types of people in the world, and when you work with a group of individuals, there is a chance that some of these people might rub each other the wrong way. However, creating a culture of inclusion can help employees feel valued and included, thereby helping to avoid bullying.
Hire the right people: While this might sound ridiculous, it’s true. If you are hiring new employees, make sure that you hire the right people — people who share the same values as you and who will fit in with your current team. This will help to put a stop to bullying in your workplace as soon as it starts.
Don’t ignore bullying: If you see that bullying is happening at your workplace, you need to take action. Make sure that employees know that you will not stand for bullying, and that you have a clear disciplinary policy that applies to everyone. This will stop bullying in its tracks.
Have regular one-on-one meetings: During these meetings, make sure to ask your employees how they feel about the work they are doing. If they feel bullied, make sure that you address the issue immediately.
Offer support to employees: Bullying often occurs because an employee feels that they have no other options. Make sure that your employees know that they can turn to you for help.
Bullying can occur in many different ways, and you must know how to recognize it and how to respond to it.
Although bullying can be subtle, it’s important that you don’t ignore it — otherwise, the situation might escalate and become even more destructive.
Make sure that you take action when you see bullying occurring, and be careful to take steps to avoid it happening to you.
With a bit of careful planning, you should be able to stop bullying before it has a chance to get out of control. Now that you know what to look out for and how to put a stop to workplace bullying, you can be sure that you will have a positive work environment. In fact, you might even have a workplace that’s too positive — but that can’t be a bad thing, right?