Bullying: Does it Happen in Your Work Environment?

workplace_bullying

You remember that bully from school?  You thought to yourself, “When I grow up this won’t happen again!” I’m sorry to let you in on a secret it doesn’t just happen on the playground, it happens at the workplace also.  The workplace bully is described as someone who systematically tries to impair your ability to succeed at work. In fact, they are more prevalent than the playground bully!

According to Wikipedia, the definition of a hostile work environment exists when: An employee experiences workplace harassment and fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere created by the person harassing everyone.

In other words: Someone dreads going to work because they are dealing with a bully in the workplace. For some people it is just too much and they end up doing the unthinkable. Watch this video. It describes what a young executive felt as her co-workers bullied her.

Could this have been prevented? Should her superiors have stepped in? The answers to these questions are yes. So you ask “What can be done?” If you are being bullied, there are several things you can do. Try these steps:

Don’t take it personally Avoid becoming self-critical or becoming isolated. Bullying behavior is about the bully, not the target. There is nothing you could have done to deserve this behavior. Bullying is a symptom of untreated emotional problems projected onto others.

Get help Talk to someone about the bullying, even if it’s a friend, family member or co-worker. Start where it’s easiest to start. You will feel stronger, rather than weaker. Don’t try to stop the bully alone. That is a mistake many individuals make and many organizations make.

3. Find out your organization’s policy about bullying There may be a resource person to whom you can report the bullying, such as in Human Resources or an Employee Assistance Person. The best policies encourage co-workers and managers to work together to halt bullying behavior and to have the bully removed, if necessary. If you are being bullied  Remember most employers have an “open door” policy in place take advantage of it.

Remember you have choices Many excellent employees leave organizations which allow bullies to run rampant. You don’t have to tolerate a hostile work environment. Knowing you have choices and investigating your options (like researching other job options) will give you strength. Remember, bullying is not about you. It’s about the bully and the bully’s personality problems. You don’t have to be stuck. Perhaps a change of departments or supervisors may be a solution, so that you don’t have to leave the organization. But don’t get stuck feeling stuck.

If you find yourself being bullied, please seek assistance. You are too much of a valued member of society to let someone who has issues bring you down to their level. Remember this: asking for help isn’t weakness, it is the prevention of failure. Never, EVER accept abuse as part of your job description.

Bill Clemmer – Design Trainee

Gould Design, Inc.