Sadly, bullying is such a massive part of so many modern workplaces that we cannot afford to ignore it. Keep reading on as we discuss this issue at length and look at what you can do about it. Remember, there are always options and no one needs to be a victim.
What Exactly Constitutes Workplace Bullying?
Bullying in the workplace is officially defined as ‘repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety’. This encompasses physical, mental and emotional health and safety.
Some examples of workplace bullying include:
- aggressive or intimidating conduct
- belittling or humiliating comments
- spreading malicious rumours
- excessive practical jokes and teasing
- initiation ceremonies ( i.e. encouraged to take off clothes)
- exclusion from work-related events
- unreasonable work expectations (i.e. too much or too little work)
- displaying offensive material
- pressure to behave in an inappropriate manner
- physical violence
Who are the Perpetrators of Workplace Bullying?
Anyone in a workplace can be a perpetrator of bullying. Often, more than one person is involved and bullying can be directed at a single worker or a group of workers. Managers, supervisors, clients, students, customers, individuals and groups can all partake in conduct that constitutes bullying.
Impact of Workplace Bullying
Workplace bullying can harm those who experience it and those who witness it. Its impact will vary depending on the individual situation, but some of the reported impacts include:
- distress, depression, anxiety, panic attacks or sleep disturbance
- physical illness like muscular tension, headaches and fatigue
- loss of self-esteem and self-confidence
- feelings of isolation
- deteriorating relationships with colleagues, family and friends
- poor work performance and concentration
- high staff turnover and associated recruitment and training costs
- costly worker’s compensation claims or legal damage
- damage to workplace reputation
What Can I do about Workplace Bullying?
Whether you are experiencing bullying directly or are a witness to it, you can stand up and do something about it. It’s a sign of emotional intelligence and you will be helping to break the cycle.
Good measures to take could be:
- trying to resolve the issue one-on-one with the perpetrator (only if it’s safe to do so)
- implementing strategies set out in workplace bullying policy/procedure
- if your workplace doesn’t have the above, suggest it to management
- reporting the issue directly to your manager or supervisor
- discussing it with your loved ones and family for support
- speaking to a member of the human resources department
- contacting your state, federal or territory work health and safety body
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Just like with other aspects of our lives, prevention is always better than cure. So with bullying, by adopting the following workplace strategies you are on the way to reducing it and ultimately eliminating it.
- Help to set standards of appropriate workplace behaviour early
- Make sure your workplace has a bullying policy
- Develop productive and respectful workplace relationships
- Check in regularly with your colleagues to see how they are
- Practice being polite and sincere to your colleagues every day
- Resolve misunderstandings quickly before they get out of hand
- Have good conflict resolution and management skills
- Mentor and support new workers and managers
- Foster teamwork and co-operation
- Encourage diversity and tolerance
Remember, you can always stand up to bullying and not only will your workplace benefit but your career will benefit, too.
If your organisation wants to discuss a solution to enhance team performance and promote positive workplace culture, the team at NotedCareers can help you get on track. Contact us online or by calling 1800 326 422 today.