We all thought bullying ended in high school but, unfortunately, bullies are everywhere and manifest in different ways in the workplace. The definition of workplace bullying refers to ‘situations where an employee repeatedly and over a prolonged period of time is exposed to harassing behavior from one or more colleagues (including subordinates and leaders) and where the targeted person is unable to defend against this systematic mistreatment.’ Have you experienced this to some degree? Let’s examine ways to tackle different situations.
Ongoing harassment and conflict at your place of employment constitutes workplace bullying. Workplace bullies target exposed employees, leaving them feeling hopeless and defenseless. While research has shown that workplace bullying is prevalent among unskilled workers, even managers or supervisors could be subjected to bullying. Nearly 75 percent of employees surveyed stated that they have been affected by workplace bullying, both by their superiors and by other co-workers.
Workplace bullies usually seek power within a company or environment. The employee who is subject to bullying may not realize what’s happening and might be worried that he or she will cause more trouble by talking to a manager or superior about the issue. In addition, if an employee is bullied by a superior, he or she could fear being fired by bringing it up, or simply have no one to talk to. This type of workplace bullying and repression can lead to adverse performance at work, and it can even have a negative impact on the mental health of the employee. Consequently, workplace bullying not only negatively affects the employee, but all the other employees around who witness the bullying. It can lead to a general feeling of helplessness, low morale, and a drop in productivity in the workplace.
If the correct actions are not taken to create a safe work environment, workplace bullying can run rampant. Certain, necessary, proactive steps need to be put in place to ensure that it doesn’t begin in the first place.
As long as these steps are taken, employees will feel safe enough in the workspace to acknowledge and accept what has happened to them and then be able to come forward and report incidents. This creates a productive and safe workspace with happy and healthy employees who are able to give their all at work.