Bullying is a gradual wearing down process that makes individuals feel small and inadequate
Over a short period, someone being bullied will end up thinking they can never get anything right, that they are hopeless, and this is likely to spill over into their domestic life.
Most of us spend more time at work each week, than at home, therefore being bullied can be a living nightmare for those who experience it, as they must come face to face with their oppressors everyday.
Signs of workplace bullying?
One of the difficulties of workplace bullying, is the signs may be hard to recognize, for it creeps up on you long before you are able to appreciate what it is. A good deal of workplace bullying can be overlooked or excused for a number of legitimate reasons, which are often used to justify bullying behaviors.
Typical signs of bullying include:
- Bad attitude
- Forceful management
- Personality clash
- Poor management style
Bullying can be defined as the use of position or power to force others by fear, persecution or to oppress them by force or threat. It can take on many forms, happen in a variety of situations, and crosses gender, race, age and can involve one or a number of individuals.
Bullies are often insecure people who do not trust others and see them as a threat to their own positions. Their techniques range from aggression such as shouting and cursing and humiliating their targets in front of others, to less obvious actions like ignoring people at work.
Bullying can begin innocently enough, so that the target is at first unsure of the workmate’s intentions
- Public humiliation
- Persistent criticism
- Constantly undervaluing effort
- Personal insults and name calling
- Continuous threats
- Giving out unfair punishment out of the blue
- Increasing responsibility whilst decreasing authority
- Being overruled, ignored or excluded
- Setting individuals up to fail
- Demanding un-contracted tasks to be done
- Setting unrealistic deadlines with an increased workload
- Removing responsibility and imposing menial tasks
- Deliberately sabotaging work performance
- Constantly changing guidelines
- Withholding important work related information
- Your work relationship feels different from any you have previously experienced
- You are being persistently ‘targeted’ and ‘singled out’
- Your work is criticized even though you know that your standards have not slipped
- You start to question whether these mistakes you are supposed to have made, really are your fault
A target is usually selected on the basis that they are either more attractive, successful, popular, and younger
It is a sad fact too, that the targets of office bullies, are often above average performers, efficient and often better at what they do than those who bully them.
How to take action?
Before you decide to take action through official channels, it’s worth considering an informal approach. Bullying at work usually affects several members of staff at any one time.
The more people experience the same type of conduct, the less likely any complaint will be viewed as a personality clash on your part. So, check to see if any of your colleagues are experiencing the same treatment as you.
Other ways to deflect bullies include:
- Standing firm
- Remaining confident
- Remaining calm
- Asserting yourself
- Keeping a detailed record of every verbal or other attack
The need for proof is essential as it will provide sound evidence to confront the bully with at a later stage. If you feel you are being bullied at work you should not suffer in silence but seek immediate advice from your union or personnel/health and safety officers.
Those who are prime targets often feel ashamed to talk about it with colleagues because they feel their professional credibility will be questioned.
Be strong, it is not your fault. Do not become isolated, seek support and remember you also have a position of power because your ability or popularity threatens the bully – that is why you are a target.
Do you have any other tips?
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