Bullying In The Workplace, Part II

 

In the previous post, I told you about some workplace behaviors that could be considered bullying. Now, I will give you some warning signs to look out for in yourself and other people. More than anything else, take notice if one of these things happens on a regular basis and/or is unusual for the person.
  • You're constantly feeling 'on edge', like you're waiting for something bad to happen
  • You can't seem to 'leave work at work'; you talk about it to the point that your friends and family tell you to shut up about it
  • On the opposite end, you don't tell anyone at all because you're afraid you'll appear 'weak'
  • Your blood pressure rises to the point that your doctor prescribes you medicine and/or tells you to get a different job
  • You feel depressed or panicked any time you think of work. I've been here.
  • You are mentally exhausted when the day is over to a point that you no longer want to participate in your normal activities. Been here too.
  • You begin to think you brought it on or that you really are incompetent/annoying/etc
Exhibiting these signs doesn't necessarily mean the person is being bullied, but it's worth looking into.

The reasons people bully and how they pick their victims are the same in the office as they were on the playground.
  • They're envious of you for some reason
  • They want a target and you just 'happen' to be there
  • They're afraid that your superior performance will make them look bad in comparison
  • You refuse to go along with something illegal or that you feel is wrong
  • On the tip above, you're just not part of the 'clique' and/or turned somebody down for a date/sex
  • You have superior skills/work ethic/integrity/etc
  • You get praise and attention from the 'higher-ups', similar to the 'teacher's pet'
  • You're a 'whistle-blower'
  • There's some sort of vulnerability-perfectionism, a sense of reasonableness, naivet√©, an inability to say 'no' or stick up for yourself, being too concerned about what other people think of you, etc-they feel they can exploit.
Bullies bank of the idea of victims and spectators being afraid to do anything about it. That, and not knowing what to do. You might feel powerless to stop it, but that isn't necessarily true. Care should be taken so as not to make the situation worse, but there are some things you can do.
  • Check your company's policies and procedures to see if there is an 'official' conflict-resolution track in place.
  • Confront the person in a calm, professional manner. Who knows, maybe their behavior is due to a false perception you can clear up.
  • Keep detailed records-dates, times, what happened, who was there, etc-of each occurrence. This provides leverage.
  • If there's a 'higher-up' or mentor you trust, seek their advice. However, don't name names; approach them in a 'hypothetical' or 'what did you do' manner.
  • Make it a point to demonstrate how good of an employee you are. That way, bullies won't get by with spreading rumors.
  • Form relationships with other co-workers. Don't get them involved or 'recruit' them to your side, but having friends can help you feel less isolated.
Growing up, we are taught that life isn't fair; you're going to be around people whose behaviors and mannerisms get on your nerves. However, there's a difference between someone who plays their music too loud and someone who bad-mouths you to the boss. Anyone who does the latter is a bully, plain and simple. That label might seem silly, but sometimes we just have to call a spade a spade.

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