The topic of bullying has gained national attention over the past year or so as bullying has been to recent teen suicides. But bullying affects more than just teenagers and it can be found all around us – including in our workplaces. According to a recent article in our local newspaper, nearly 35% of employees reported have experienced bullying in the workplace. This led me wonder how “bullying” is defined and, more importantly, what can be done about it.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute :
Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:
- Verbal abuse
- Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
- Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done
An additional aspect to any type of bullying is that it is typically a pattern of behavior and not just a one-time event.
So the big question is: what can or should we do about it? Here a few tips:
- Recognize you’re being bullied and realize you are NOT the problem.
- Recognize that bullying is about control and not about your performance.
- Learn about your company’s policies and procedures regarding bullying and take the appropriate steps (if some are laid out). Contact your Human Resource department.
- Document all instances of bullying – date, time, what happened, who was present, etc.
- Create a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy.
- If bullying is witnessed, address it IMMEDIATELY. Train managers and supervisors to do so as well.
- Encourage open communication with employees, consider an open-door policy among management and/or have a human resource contact.
- Take all reports of bullying seriously.
Think about it.