Hello, Ed Holpfer with another post aimed at shedding some light on the different types of bullies that people encounter.
When most people hear the term “bully” the image of one child picking on another at school is what comes to mind. And nearly all anti-bully training and awareness campaigns are focused on childhood bullies. But there is a whole other category that gets very little time in the spotlight: workplace bullying.
Many times, the victims of workplace bullies are young employees just entering the workforce, or older employees who are nearing or have returned from retirement.
What it is
Much like youth bullying, workplace bullying is defined as the repeated targeting of one or more people to gain control over or cause physical or mental duress. What makes this form of bullying so difficult to manage is partly because it takes place in the work environment where careers could be on the line.
Workplace bullying can take many forms and includes some stereotypical traits as well as some unique qualities to the workplace such as:
- joking at others’ expense
- purposely excluding someone or ignoring their contributions
- continually being criticized
- being put down in front of others
- verbal assaults
What can be done
Here too there are some convergent properties. Just like we teach children, projecting confidence can go a long way to showing others you aren’t an easy target. You also need to vocalize and address your bully. Let him or her know that what they are doing is unacceptable.
Now what happens if the workplace bully is your superior? Confronting your boss about inappropriate behavior is certainly a stressful proposition, but ultimately is something that does need to happen. If you worry that coming to your boss and telling them that they need to stop their bullying will make things worse or push them to fire you, get your human resources department involved.
Workplace bullying is counter-productive and unacceptable no matter the authority that the bully holds within the company. Telling other co-workers or better yet, your HR department will ensure that people are aware of the problem and may level disciplinary action against the bully while protecting your workplace rights.
Remember that no job is worth enduring emotional or physical hardships from workplace bullying.