While bullying is something that is more obvious in school, it seems to be something you cannot truly be rid of that easily as it is prevalent in the workplace as well and it can be just as harmful. There is not just one type of bullying that takes place, but it can appear in many forms and cause an endless amount of anxiety and stress.
Common Types of Bullying At Workplace
Bullying at office becomes visible as people resort to different techniques of bullying. They are as follows:
These types of bullies often have a friendly demeanour and seem like people you can trust. Soon they resort to tactics like forgetting important details and not telling you about important meetings. They may be little things, but they often aim for things that will affect your career.
There are some who do not directly do anything to hurt or damage your career, but they often take on an attitude where it feels like you have offended them somehow. They judge your every move and like to make it seem like you are simply not good enough.
Obnoxious and loud, these people like to be heard. They like to make others feel bad by making comments or acting dismissively towards the ideas put forth by others as though it is not worth much.
4. Puppet Master
When you work under someone, it is natural to show them a certain amount of respect and doing a few petty jobs here and there just to be nice is not a bad thing. But if you feel like your manager or boss is taking advantage of you or puts you in situations to subtly humiliate you, you are having a problem.
A more recognisable form of bullying is when pranks get too mean. Joking around with each other at work now and then is fine because a team that gets along well tends to work well together on projects. However, if the teasing and joking around becomes centred on one person and turns mean, pranking has crossed the line.
Some people like to bully others by constantly making them aim too high so that they are constantly falling short. They are quick to let you and everyone else know all about the flaws in your work, and it seems that there is no pleasing them.
There are times when there are a few people who form a clique that could be based on different criteria. Some may only work with others of their level and treat everyone else like dirt, and others may simply be members of the same team who find they are the most popular and get along well. As stated earlier, getting along with one another is fine, but if you treat anyone outside your circle like dirt or start bullying as a team, it becomes unacceptable.
8. Freeze Out
This is quite similar to a clique, but it can happen a lot during the social aspect of work. Their main aim is to make the victim feel like they do not fit in at all.
Everyone is familiar with this type of bullying, which is not a direct form at all. They like to talk and have the tendency to spread rumours and lies to take out their victims. Sometimes the things that they say can be very damaging to the victim.
10. Always Right
This type of ‘do it my way’ and ‘I’m always right’ attitude can become quite bothersome when at work. It tends to make the other person feel undervalued and feel like their work or ideas are not worth anything.
What are the After-effects of Bullying at the Workplace?
The victims of bullies often suffer from anxiety and stress at the thought of going to work. Many other problems can take place as a result of bullying.
1. Health Risks
Victims of bullying suffer from health risks due to the bullying that they have to endure every day. Among the psychological and physical bullying that a person goes through include panic attacks, stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, ulcers and trouble sleeping. Those who are victims of bullying are more prone to be on medications such as sleeping pills, antidepressants, and tranquilisers.
2. Performance Risks
Victims of bullying will suffer from a decline in their performance as they will begin to have trouble when it comes to decision making, in concentration, productivity and self-esteem. They may even waste a lot of precious work time defending themselves against bullies or avoiding them.
3. Risks to Employers
When bullying takes place, it isn’t just the victim and other employees that get affected. The employer is also affected because the work environment becomes more hostile. The employees are not able to focus on their tasks well enough due to the bullying that is going on. It also makes employees more prone to being absent and can sometimes result in expensive legal problems for the company.
How to Handle Workplace Bullying?
Here are some guidelines on how to stop bullying in the workplace:
1. Tell the Bully to Stop
Doing it is much more difficult than just saying it, but it is something that needs to be done. Say it calmly, but firmly so that the bully will know that you do not approve of this type of behaviour. It could be that the person just does not know he or she is taking it too far and this can be the warning needed for them to back off. Avoid a shouting match with the bully, but always speak firmly. If the behaviour continues, you know that you will need to take further action.
2. Record Events of Bullying
You have made it clear that you do not want the bullying to continue. However, if the bullying continues, keep a record of the events of bullying. Make a note of the day and time that the bullying happened and what transpired. Note down who were present in case you need a witness and where it happened. You will need as much information as you can get to make your case and put a stop to the bullying.
3. Find a Witness
When reporting bullying at workplace, you will need someone to stand with you and say that they have actually seen the bullying take place, so make sure that find someone who can do that. Ask them to make a note of it for the future and verify that they are willing to back you up when the time comes. If you get bullied during a meeting with the superior, make sure to take your witness along next time so that he or she can see what is happening. If things start to go downhill, you will have a backup with you. It could also be that others are being bullied in the same way you are, so if you find out it is happening, you can all try and deal with the problem together.
4. Keep Calm and Be Patient
When all your evidence is ready, remember to stay composed. It is best to do something about the situation in a self-controlled and professional way. If you are being harassed daily, it may be difficult to remain calm when talking to your boss. If for any reason you need to wait to speak to a superior for help, make sure you avoid the bully in the meantime. The best approach is to speak to your boss first thing in the morning and not when you are in the middle of assignments. This way you can avoid any misunderstandings that may occur when people are stressed.
5. Meet With the Person Who Can Help
There is always someone to report to enforce the bullying at the workplace laws. If you are going to approach your boss about the situation, patiently state your case and present your evidence. If you need to fill out some forms, calmly do it. If your boss is the person bullying you, reach out to HR or the person your boss reports to.
Bullying is not an acceptable thing to happen as you spend many hours a day at your workplace. You need to have a calm and focused mind when you work, so if you feel you need to do something about bullying, you should. It may take some time for anything to get done, so continue to state your case until something is done about it.