Most people think that once you are in the business that your chances of being bullied are next to none about office bullying does happen.
However, adult bullying does happen and can be as devastating to adults as it is for children.
Knowing when you are being bullied is the first step in solving the problem. Only then can you begin to solve the problem effectively and professionally.
Identifying types of bullying:
There are four basic types of bullying that can be seen both in the child and the adult worlds.
Bullying is about exerting control over another person by causing harm to them is some way.
Bullying is about power.
Physical bullying is causing physical harm to another person in order to exert a level of control over them.
Cyberbullying is causing harm to another person via electronic means such as social networking sites, email, or mobiles.
Social/relational bullying is using social means to harm another person such as gossiping, intentional exclusion, or damaging their social reputation.
Handling a bullying situation in the office:
Confront the bully – Either alone or with a colleague, let the bully know in no uncertain terms that their behaviour is unacceptable and that you will no longer tolerate it. Be certain your interaction is professional and to the point.
Document, document, document – Keep a detailed record of any interactions or situations that could be construed as bullying before involving management or human resources. Keep copies of emails, memos, or anything written with your documentation. While there is no set time for this step, do not wait too long hoping the bullying will stop or having “enough” good evidence. Keep your documentation in a safe place, with you when you are at work and at home when you are not.
Contact human resources or management – Management has a legal obligation to address office bullying in order to provide a safe working environment for all employees. Remain professional when presenting your documentation, but express your feelings and your desire for the bullying to stop. If management or human resources are part of the problem, you may have to go to the next level in your corporate hierarchy in order to have the problem solved.
Create a support network – It is very possibly that you will find yourself alone, as colleagues pull back to avoid getting too involved. If you have a support network at work, it will help you immensely; however, if you do not, keep your social network close and aware of what is happening at work.
Contact an attorney or board of labour relations – If you have tried every other channel available to you, you may want to consider contacting an attorney or state board of labour relations. It is at this point, however, that you may want to consider if staying at your job is worth the time and effort of fighting the bullying in court.
In some cases, it is better to just find another job or another position. However, before leaving, state you would like an exit interview with your boss and your boss’s boss so you can plead your case in the open without any interference or opportunities for miscommunication.
Adults bully and are bullied every day in the workplace.
While it can be embarrassing to admit you are being bullied, you have the right to work in a safe, supportive environment.
Remember, being bullied is not your fault, you don’t deserve it and it won’t just go away.
By maintaining professional behaviour and attitude, you can overcome office bullying and be able to work in an environment that allows you to do your best work.