Bullying within the workplace environment comes in many form and these can be both direct and indirect. Bullying can come from colleagues and supervisors when you least expect it. While bullying can take on many forms, everyone has the right to work in a secure, happy environment. It’s true, work can be a pain at times, but employees should never have to worry about feeling threatened or humiliated while performing their job duties.
What is workplace bullying?
Well, workplace bullying is when an employee is constantly being targeted by colleagues around them. Although employees can be targeted for a number of reasons, some of the most common forms of bullying usually stem from the following: job title, salary, and discrimination – that includes gender bias, racism, and direct discrimination. The point is, if someone else’s actions involuntarily threaten an employee’s productivity level, then it’s considered bullying. This is something that happens frequently, according to Forbes, who reported that 75 percent of workers are affected by bullying within the work environment.
With all that being said, if think you’re being bullied, there are three things you can do to stop the problem right in its tracks.
Consider Making a Written Complaint
If you are the target of a bully, the first thing you should do is notify HR or file a written complaint. This might include reaching out to a supervisor or getting in contact with human resources. How this is handled varies depending on the job and the work culture.
If you’re a nurse, for instance, who works in the healthcare industry, then you know how important it is to help patients. What if you’re being harassed by someone who works with you in this field? If that’s the case, then you may want to consider contacting the board of your hospital. While the board is responsible for overseeing a number of things, workplace bullying is something they won’t stand for, especially when patient lives are at stake.
That being said, bullying is a serious matter and should be treated as such. An employee who works in the healthcare industry — or any other industry for that matter — should know their human resource and board representatives. Although the process might be stressful and complicated at times, an employee must consider whether or not they’re protecting their work environment and the greater good of those around them. You should note whether the person bullying you pulls the same behavior with your co-workers.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
When hiring managers and supervisors interview new employees, there is only so much a resume and interview can tell them about the candidate’s behaviors. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to unwanted and misleading hires. Though it might be easy and tempting to blame your co-workers for the bully’s behavior, the reality is, it’s no ones but the bully’s fault. The most important thing to do in this case is to remain calm. Why? Well, because when emotions are running high, the mind goes into overdrive as it tries to make rational explanations.
As a result, this can cause some employees to point the finger at management and blame others for a particular co-worker’s abusive ways — which can also lead to more bullying if left unchecked. For employees, it’s really important for them not to fall victim to this game and to find ways to preserve their self-image.
One of the best ways to do so is by surrounding yourself with empowering people. In other words, find people who can understand your situation and provide you with the support needed to address it. When it comes to getting things off your chest, it helps to talk about your experiences — so don’t keep it to yourself.
Workplace bullying is a widespread issue, but you don’t have to let it define you as a person. Instead, find a support group that can help you find logical ways to address these problems. Bullying can have serious consequences on your health. It can affect your productivity, self-esteem, and even your physical health. So, be sure to find outside help if you start to feel depressed.
Make Yourself the Number One Priority
Simply put, you should learn how to recognize bullying when you see it. That’s because when you recognize what bullying looks like, you’re less likely to blame yourself for the outcome of the situation. Remember, bullying is never the victim’s fault. Instead, it’s a choice that the bully made to behave this way. Once you have that knowledge at hand, you can then begin the process to move forward and address the issues.
This can only be done by making sure you’re taking care of yourself. Although you may not be able to change your colleague’s abusive ways, you can, however, change the way you respond to them. So, before getting into a heated argument with your co-worker about being a bully, take some time to think about how you can handle the situation. Would it be better for you to find a new job? Do you think you should report the incident to someone? Or do you want to transfer to get away from the toxic environment? In the end, only you can decide how you want to handle the situation.
Another way to handle workplace bullying is by setting boundaries. This will help you be direct and upfront with the bully when it comes to addressing their behavior. Employees can also practice being firm, confident in their voice, and assertive when needed. For example, you can tell your bully if they continue to bother you, that you will report them to human resources. This will let them know that you’re not afraid to stand up for yourself and take action.
In the long run, the best way to fight back against workplace bullying is by being the best version of yourself. Unhappy bullies do not enjoy seeing those around them happy. So be sure to never stop smiling and always keep your head up.