Workplace bullying is one of the most draining and stressful things that can happen to one, it has the potential to do serious harm to a person’s health, emotional wellbeing and disrupt their life in many ways.
Do not confuse bullying with rivalry, gossiping, office politics or clashing personalities.
A bully (or group of bullies) act purposefully to bring down the person they decided to target, there is a power dynamic so that the victim feels helpless, is blackmailed or held hostage.
And there is a closed system in which they exist so that it is hard or impossible for the victim to escape and avoid this.
If you have ever been bullied or know someone who has, these tips can be very helpful.
For the managers and leaders out there: look out for the signs something isn’t right and use these tips as a guide when helping a staff member who is suffering.
First of all, take care of yourself.
Do what you can to avoid being with bullies alone. Prepare for the encounters with them.
Know your rights and stand your ground as much as you can.
“The risk of workplace bullying can be minimised so far as is reasonably practicable by creating and promoting a positive work environment where everyone is treated fairly and with respect. A combination of control measures aimed at the organisational level and at individual behaviours should be considered.” – Safe Work Australia
This may very well come in handy later and will help others believe you.
Besides, it is a good way to disassociate and switch into observation mode, that way you can concentrate on making things right eventually.
Don’t suffer alone!
Tell your colleagues, tell your boss, go above your boss.
Don’t believe your bullies when they tell you it will only make you look bad.
The farther you go the higher the chance that you will be heard and the situation will be addressed.
If you have a union – talk to them, too.
If there is a process in the company for complaints and grievances – lodge yours, make it official, and it will force something to happen, it will start a conversation.
Stand up for Yourself
Bullies want to see you weak and submissive.
Talk back to them, bring as many colleagues to your side as possible, shield yourself with laws, rules and corporate procedures.
If you are a bystander and see someone else being bullied – speak up.
This is extremely important both for the victim as emotional support and as help in getting the bullying to stop.
Read About the Causes and Patterns of Bullying
This will help you understand what is going on, and you may be better prepared for what is to come.
Find stories similar to yours and see how they are resolved.
Talk to your therapist, close friends and family to try and find more options for how you can react and defend yourself.
These are just 5 tips on how to handle workplace bullying.
As employers, you can use these tips to identify workplace bullying and provide opportunities to change through performance counselling.
When employees build good relationships with one another, this will result in improved employee morale and a positive work environment.