|How to overcome workplace bullying
(NAPSI)—We’ve all heard about the increase in bullying among children, but workplace bullying among adults is also a growing problem. According to recent reports, 35 to 50 percent of U.S. employees say they were bullied in the course of their career. At companies across America, employers and workers are discovering a problem that’s bad for morale, bad for their own health and happiness, and bad for the bottom line: workplace bullying.
What can you do if you’re bullied at work? Dr. Colleen Logan, Walden University’s program director for the M.S. in Career Counseling program, and an expert in bullying issues, offers some advice:
• Know the signs. Workplace bullying can include verbal abuse, threats, gossip, the silent treatment, offensive conduct, humiliation, intimidation, and work interference or sabotage.
• Be honest with yourself. It’s easy to discount or ignore bullying, thinking you might be reading the situation wrongly, but if you think you’re being bullied, you likely are.
• Set boundaries. Tell yourself you do not have to stand for this behavior and will not be victimized. Remain in charge of your values, decisions, behavior and conduct.
• Get ready to confront the bully. Mentally prepare to send a clear and consistent message that the bullying needs to stop.
• Make a formal complaint. Talk to your boss. Provide specific details about the bullying and how it affects you and your work. If your boss is the bully, talk to a human resources representative.
• Seek alternative employment. If your workplace doesn’t change, take steps to find a nonhostile work environment where colleagues listen to one another’s viewpoint with respect, agree to disagree and move forward.
In schoolyard bullying, the bullies are children, whose behaviour is controlled by the leaders, i.e. the school administration. In workplace bullying, however, the bullies are often the leaders themselves, i.e., the managers and supervisors. Therefore, reporting a bully to the HR dept, for example, may expose the target/victim to the risk of even more bullying, slower career advancement, or even termination, on the grounds of being a ?troublemaker!?.
Workplace bullying has severe consequences, including reduced effectiveness and high employee turnover. An employee who suffers any physical or psychiatric injury as a result of workplace bullying can confront the bully, report the bully to the HR department or to the trade union, if any, or bring a claim of negligence and/or a personal injury claim against both the employer and the abusive employee as joint respondents in the claim. If the law does not persuade employers to deal with workplace bullying, the economic reality will persuade them. Training sessions can help when combined with a conﬁdential reporting structure, but it is difficult to alter the basic nature of some individuals, who may need counselling.
Maxwell Pinto, Business Author