Feature: Workplace bullying happens in schools too
Bullying can happen at home, in school and at work. When bullying happens at home, parents play the role of judge, enforcer and counselor all at once. When bullying happens in schools, you have the school management and parents working hand-in-hand. But what happens when bullying takes place at work, in school?
Bullying at the workplace can take on many different forms, and it can happen in many different ways even when you least expect it. It can be very difficult to identify, highlight and resolve as workplace bullying is almost always psychological and repeated over periods of time. Here are some signs of bullying – note that bullying behaviour is a pattern over extended periods of time:
Strong management vs Bully
There is a difference between being a strong management and bullying.
A strong management comes across as firm, making sure you know what you’re asked to do and put in place systems and structures to help you do it. Bullying will include offensive behaviour that is humiliating and disrespectful. Of course, different workplaces have varying tolerance for shouting for example, and the managers or co-workers are could also be under stress. However, you have absolutely full rights to voice out your concerns if you feel bullied at work.
Bullies can be your superiors, your co-workers or even your subordinates. How can you tell if you’re a target?
This is very subjective, but the basic signs below should serve as a guide:
- The bullying behaviour has been going on constantly for weeks or months
- Your life outside work has been negatively impacted
- You feel humiliated because you had to face personal attacks at work
- At work, you are picked on repeatedly by the same person/group
- You feel isolated and excluded at your workplace
Actions to take
You have confirmed objectively and almost beyond doubt that you have been bullied.
Here are steps to take:
- Tell the bully of the specific offending action he has committed and how you feel about it. Tell him to stop.
- If he doesn’t stop, tell your manager. If your manager is the bully, tell your HR manager.
- Document the bully’s actions so you can account for your statement.
Remember, your health and well-being is more important than anything else. Evaluate your alternatives look out for positive changes in your work environment. If nothing changes, be prepared to leave a toxic environment for a psychologically healthier, conflict-free workplace.