Let’s Make The Workplace A Safe Zone!
The verb “bully” is defined in a dictionary as: “to seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable)”.
Workplace Bullying is more common than you may think
A recent survey conducted by The University of Manchester on bullying at work showed the following:
- 1 in 10 workers had been bullied in the last 6 months
- 1 in 4 workers had been bullied in the last 5 years
- 47% of workers had witnessed bullying at work
– “workplace bullying is alive and kicking!”
How do you decide whether you are being bullied?
It is really important that you do not mix up constructive criticism with bullying and you must be careful not to distort things out of proportion. If your role expects high standards, then it is really important to be able “to take” well-meaning feedback. You should understand that although it is difficult for most of us to be asked to make changes to our work it is good for personal growth to accept that we can learn and grow in our role from constructive criticism.
A bully rarely has anything constructive to say. If the bullying incident feels like a personal attack on you personally, then it is good to ask yourself whether what you are experiencing is reasonable. Unfortunately, bullies come in many guises and the way they work varies too. If you believe that you are “under fire” it really is important to take action before the bullying has a chance to eat at you and make you doubt yourself. The good thing is that employing some established tactics can help to stop the bullying as soon as you see it happening.
How to deal with bullying
Most companies have a formal process for dealing with allegations of bullying, check your company policies and do not hesitate to follow the guidelines. If your organisation does not have such a document, below are some useful practical tips to assist you:
It is really important not to give the bully what they are looking for i.e. a reaction. It will be difficult but do everything you can not to react. If you show an emotional reaction then the bully is likely to repeat their behaviour.
Try to remain positive. It is important that you recognise your own strengths and think about them. By doing this, it will help you to remain grounded when dealing with a bully.
Try to understand the other person’s perspective and tackle it informally
If you feel able, speak to the bully informally. Ask can you take five minutes to have a coffee together and explain how much the person’s behaviour is affecting you. It is important to avoid personal criticism of the other person, just try to deal with their unacceptable behaviour and how it is affecting you. Remember to treat the person with respect.
Keep a diary
As soon as any perceived bullying starts to happen, it is really important to keep a diary. Write down detailed notes of when it happened, where it happened, exactly what was said together with details of anyone who heard or saw the incident. It is essential to do this and it will be a massive help if you believe a formal approach needs to be taken.
Take care of yourself
It is really important that you do not allow the bully to succeed and affect your wellbeing. Make sure that you eat well and get enough sleep. Exercise really helps in stressful situations too. Try to go for a walk or undergo some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.
Speak to management
Speak to your line manager (or a manager of equal standing) and ask for some time to go over what you have experienced. Your manager should then be able to guide you as to how best to proceed.
The important thing is to take action.
Bullying! Together we can “kick it out!”