Bullying has gone from schools to cyberspace and now making an appearance in the workplace. You would think that adults would be mature enough to act like professional individuals but apparently it happens in smaller as well as the larger corporations. Now, I am not saying at times, things come out of our mouths that we really wish we could reel back in. That is just being human. This bullying falls under so many categories it is truly staggering the way co-workers try to deliberately wound a human being physically, but most importantly the mental anguish they go through is excruciating. This kind of workplace violence or psychological violence can isolate an employee to the point of anxiety at the thought of taking that step inside their own place of work. The workplace is a location they should feel safe. Instead, they fear it.
To define bullying in the workplace, it is usually seen as an act or verbal comments as well as negative physical contact. This behavior is usually repeated or there is a pattern that can be picked up on that can either be obvious or subtle. It is intended to offend, intimidate, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people. Another description could be noted as the assertion of power through aggression. I think these people get a kick out of hurting others and are possibly unhappy themselves. To me, it is pointless to behave in this manner due to the fact that getting along with others is a good way to be more productive and also efficient when trying to achieve a goal at work.
Some examples may include:
• Spreading malicious rumors, gossip, or innuendo that is not true
• Excluding or isolating someone socially
• Intimidating a person
• Undermining or deliberately impeding a person’s work
• Physically abusing or threatening abuse
• Removing areas of responsibilities without cause
• Constantly changing work guidelines
• Establishing impossible deadlines that will set up the individual to fail
• Withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information
• Making jokes that are ‘obviously offensive’ by spoken word or e-mail
• Intruding on a person’s privacy by pestering, spying or stalking
• Assigning unreasonable duties or workload which are unfavorable to one person (in a way that creates unnecessary pressure)
• Under work – creating a feeling of uselessness
• Yelling or using profanity
• Criticizing a person persistently or constantly
• Belittling a person’s opinions
• Unwarranted (or undeserved) punishment
• Blocking applications for training, leave or promotion
• Tampering with a person’s personal belongings or work equipment.
Many studies have acknowledged that there is a “fine line” between bullying and strong management. Constructive criticism or objective comments are not considered bullying as these are to assist the employee with their completing their work efficiently.
Psychological effects bullying has on an individual may include:
• Feelings of frustration and/or helplessness
• Increased sense of vulnerability
• Loss of confidence
• Physical symptoms such as:
o Inability to sleep
o Loss of appetite
• Psychosomatic symptoms such as:
o Stomach pains
• Panic or anxiety, especially about going to work
• Family tension and stress
• Inability to concentrate
• Low morale and productivity
The effects of bullying in the workplace may include:
• Increased absenteeism
• Increased turnover
• Increased stress
• Increased costs for employee assistance programs (EAPs), recruitment, etc.
• Increased risk for accidents / incidents
• Decreased productivity and motivation
• Decreased morale
• Reduced corporate image and customer confidence
• Poorer customer service
Bullying affects the entire workplaces as a whole. This makes for an unhealthy environment with any of the above effects.
Things the employer can do are write up policies on consequences of various types of bullying. This is good management commitment. Having these things in writing may sway others from participating in these behaviors.
In conclusion, managers and supervisors are responsible morally for making sure that bullying does not happen in their place of work and it is also good business sense. Most employees will not “rat out” their tormentors. They will absorb it in order to stay out of the spotlight or just hoping it will go away. Can you imagine trying to accomplish your best work under these circumstances? I couldn’t. There should be a zero tolerance for such behaviors and management should make certain that this is known to all employees. So before you go thinking that bullying is just something that happens among the most popular girl in high school versus the not so popular, think again. It is probably right in your own work area.
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I thought I was going crazy but now understand what was happening… Will be reading it a few times more yet… I would recomend the book for sure. Thanking you so much for the book! Its given me strength again. - Geoff