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Our Latest Article : You Can't Afford To Miss


Tackling The Bully At Work

4 min read
Date :25-Mar-2017
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Shreeradha Mishra



This can cover a wide spectrum of behavior or incidents involving the bully, ranging from very subtle (in which case it may be nothing but your instinct sending you warning signals) to extremely obvious (in which case you may not be the only one noticing the bully at work).



The reasons behind the bullying can vary ? perhaps the bully has their own (not always logical) reasons to dislike you, or it may have to do with their own psychology; identifying exact motivates isn’t easy. But whatever the reason may be, there is no way to justify workplace bullying.


Different forms of bullying could include (but are not limited to):
 

  • Teasing and taunting

  • Passing uncalled-for criticism regarding your work

  • Forcing you to perform pointless or impossible tasks, particularly if it has nothing to do with your job

  • Belittling your work, especially in the presence of others

  • Spreading rumours about you among other employees

  • Excluding you from important meetings or workplace activities involving your job

  • Deliberately holding back vital information from you

  • Humiliating you in front of coworkers or superiors

  • Any form of physical or sexual harassment


 

Often, bullies can be persistent, especially if you appear to be ignoring their attempts to upset you at first. The bully at work could be a superior (a supervisor, manager, or perhaps even top brass) or a co-worker. Sometimes, you may not be the victim of bullying yourself, but if you witness a co-worker, employer, or employee display any of the above behaviour towards someone else, you may want to think about what you can do to put an end to it.



Why Bother?



Aside from the fact that bullying is just plain wrong, workplace bullying constitutes highly unprofessional behavior, and can reflect badly on the workplace as a whole. It can also have an adverse impact on one’s performance at work, as well as one’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

 

What Can Be Done About It?

 

We’ve already established that workplace bullying cannot go ignored. Firstly, make a note of the nature of the bully and his/or her actions, and identify what can be done. Often, workplace politics can make things even more complicated, but there’s always a way to get around it.

 

If you are the one who’s being bullied:

 

  1. You need to speak to the bully and let them know that you are aware of what they’re doing, and that you’re not okay with their behaviour. Be firm, but don’t get emotional; they could use this against you.

     

  2. If approaching them is not an option (or if confronting them does not work), find out about company policies regarding harassment, and approach the relevant authority. Consider lodging a formal complaint.

     

  3. Find a co-worker you can trust and confide in, and get their advice. You may need their back up. Also, remember to keep records of incidents of harassment.

     

  4. If the bullying gets out of hand, make sure you lodge a formal complaint with the highest authority possible. In very serious cases, you can even speak to a lawyer or an external mediating body for advice.



If you witness bullying at the workplace:

 

  • And you happen to be in a position of authority, intervene and let the bully know that such actions will not be tolerated. Assess the situation first, and consider warning them privately.
     

  • Once you are aware that bullying takes place at your organisation, you may also want to send out an email/make an announcement and let people know that bullying violates company codes of conduct.
     

  • Ensure that a system is in place for people to make complaints and have these complaints dealt with.
     

  • If you are not in a position of authority, reach out to the person being bullied and hear them out. Help them document the incidents of bullying, and encourage them to report it.



     

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Shreeradha Mishra

Shreeradha is a passionate child rights professional and a freelance writer. Most of the other times, she is traveling, photographing, baking or eating

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