Workplace bullying is an important issue to discuss. Anyone who has ever had a dog as a pet knows how important the initial training aspect is! If you don’t deal with unwanted behaviors from the get go, it will only become a much greater challenge, as time goes by. This is tantamount to how you must respond to and deal with workplace bullying. It’s a given that a bully will not stop his/her behavior if you turn a blind eye and try to tolerate the abuse. By ignoring offensive behaviors, you’re unwittingly signaling to the bully that it’s okay to continue because you’re seen as an easy target.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, more than 60 million working people in the United States are affected by bullying. Since bullying is often verbal or psychological in nature, it’s not always visible to others. It comes in many forms and can be very subtle. Bullying is generally defined as a repeated, unreasonable action directed towards a person or a group of people that can manifest as a risk to one’s health, safety or well-being.
What does workplace bullying look like?
Bullying behavior is caustic. It tends to intimidate, offend or degrade a person or group, either face to face, or by electronic means such emails, blogs and social networking websites. Bullying behavior is repeated over time which tends to set itself apart from harassment, which is often limited to a single instance. Bullying tactics can include, but not be limited to mockery, humiliation, sabotage, exclusion from workplace activities or singling someone out for blame.
It’s crucial that business leaders acknowledge the grim reality that workplace bullying exists and recognize the serious implications these toxic forms of behavior have on their workforces. Organizations must commit to heartfelt assurances that workplaces will be safe, free from bullying practices. Employees have the right to work in an environment where there is no intimidation, a place where they are both valued and treated with respect.
Policies and procedures must be developed and put in place to ensure that employees impacted by bullying have a viable means to have their complaints addressed. Managers and supervisors should be properly trained to deal with workplace bullying. As leaders, they must have the necessary skills and tools to actively intervene to stop any bullying that occurs.
If and when a bullying complaint is lodged, an organization should have a resolution procedure in place to ensure that:
- Bullying complaints are addressed sensitively and promptly.
- All reasonable steps are taken to respect the confidentiality of the people involved in the complaint.
- Fair, impartial steps prevail throughout the resolution process.
- Appropriate records are maintained throughout the resolution process.
- Anyone who lodges a bullying complaint is protected from reprisal.
- The complainant receives updates as well as any consequences ,should the claim be validated.
Why is dealing with bullying in the workplace so important?
Besides being the morally right thing to do, bullying can dramatically hamper workplace productivity. Its toxic energy creates stressful working conditions which consequentially has an impact on employee morale. Targeted individuals experience fear, anxiety, depression, and can also develop a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder—which can lead to psychological harm and physical illness. As a result, there are marked increases in absenteeism levels and employee turnover.
What can you do if you are being bullied?
Check out kickbully.com, a website that discusses the many causes and consequences of bullying and offers helpful suggestions on how you can fight back
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