The key to being successful at interviews is a high degree of self confidence which…
Bullying in the workplace is a complex but common issue. Bullying behaviour can sometimes be hard to define and many people put off dealing with it because they feel they might be exaggerating or misjudging the situation. The truth of the matter is that if you feel like you are being bullied you probably are – trust your own judgement.
Any repeated behaviours that degrade, humiliate, embarrass or undermine you can be considered bullying, and when this happens in the workplace there are a whole host of extra issues that can complicate things. Essentially though, despite a person’s roles, power or title at work, bullying is unacceptable and recognising and addressing this behaviour as early as possible will result in a healthier and more productive you.
Recognise bullying behaviours
All of the below can be considered bullying behaviour in the workplace. This list is not extensive so remember to concentrate on how someone’s behaviour makes you feel.
- Disrespectful comments
- Excessive monitoring, interference or criticism
- Name calling
- Deliberately harming or overloading someone
- Speaking negatively about someone behind their back
- Undermining someone or setting them up to fail
- Actively excluding someone
- Purposefully withholding useful information
People who are victims of bullying may suffer with stress, anxiety or depression and will often fear or avoid work. They may have trouble sleeping or feel run down. They may also withdraw from their own friends and family and become distant. Occasionally, they may even feel guilty and believe that they are to blame.
Tell them to stop – admittedly said than done, but a small statement can often go a long way. Acknowledging that you are aware of their behaviour and feel that it is unacceptable can often trigger the bully to retreat. Remain calm and say something like “Please stop and let me get on with my work”, “I don’t think it’s acceptable for you to talk about me that way”. If it’s too hard to say in person you could consider an email but choose your words carefully.
Keep a record – if things do escalate you’ll want to be able to recall specific dates, time locations and actions so start to keep a record of everything.
Rally colleagues – if you have friends or co-workers that you trust you might want to ask them to stay around to bear witness to bullying behaviours and give a statement at a later date if you need it.
Keep calm – as frustrating as this kind of victimisation can feel try to remain calm and collect your evidence. An overly emotional response may just undermine your cause. It’s likely that other people may have made similar complaints or noticed this behaviour too but you won’t know until you say something.
Meet with HR or your supervisor – when you feel the time is appropriate and that you can’t continue anymore take your evidence to your HR representative or supervisor and explain calmly and clearly what you have experienced.
The actions explained above are hard for some people and may depend on your specific workplace and its culture. Whilst you are collecting evidence you will still need to deal with this behaviour on a day to day basis and some people prefer to deal with the problems themselves rather than get superiors involved.
Sometimes changing our own behaviour can be an effective way of dealing with bullying. I have helped many clients using hypnotherapy to be more assertive in the face of a bully and learn to communicate firmly to express their concerns.
Other clients prefer to use life coaching to develop a practical plan of action and alternative behaviours to deal with bullying behaviour.
If you’re struggling with bullying at work why not get in touch for a free consultation and we’ll discuss how we can work together to change the situation.