Bullying is a new trending term that has been brought up in many school meetings and parent conversations.
However, this behaviour is not something that is constricted to children, and happens among individuals among all ages, and in all environments.
There are many cases of bullying happening in the workplace, not just between superiors and their direct reports, but also among the employees, themselves.
Bully Online reports on findings by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, TUC, UMIST, Staffordshire University Business School etc. that bullying “is happening to between 3 and 14 million employees in the UK.”
Bullying should never be tolerated wherever it may be happening, and the manager is typically the one person who should call out the behaviour and put an end to it.
Stop bullying in these three steps:
Be Cognisant – In all situations, bullying is most evident when one looks for it. This behaviour involves a dominant party intimidating a weaker party into doing what she wants. This can take the form of a colleague threatening another colleague to get her to do her work, or an individual simply making another to feel inferior by hurtful comments. It is imperative for managers to be aware of how their team members treat one another, and look for possible signs of any employee trying to control another. It may not be entirely obvious, but with enough attention paid, signs of it always become noticeable eventually.
Stop It – Some supervisors believe that their staff members are better left to sort out their issues by themselves. However, this is an entirely wrong attitude when it comes to bullying. This is different than a commonplace work spat, as bullying always involves one person exerting power over another one. Without the help of a third party, the bullying often intensifies, and doesn’t improve. Therefore, it is very important for the manager to stop this behaviour in its tracks whenever he witnesses it. Otherwise, persistent bullying may not only lead to increased inefficiency and less productivity on the part of the person being bullied, but can get so bad that the person can choose to quit, altogether.
Educate About Bullying – While noticing and stopping bullying is important, it is even better to prevent it from occurring in the first place by educating your employees about this practice. Defining bullying and explaining signs of this behaviour during new employee training can help your team members understand that this will not be tolerated at the workplace. Also, it can help those than may be bullied define what is happening, and give them a voice.
Bullying in the workplace is a fairly common occurrence. Don’t let this behaviour affect your office staff by educating them, and noticing and stopping bullying in its tracks.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 13 August, 2015