Hands up if you thought bullying was a primary school, playground issue, that would end after high school? All of us, right? Unfortunately, many of us have discovered that this is not the case and workplace bullying is a very real thing. Whether directly or indirectly, we all know a case where someone was bullied at work.
This is a problem that is rarely discussed, despite it being a prevalent issue in many work environments, in various forms, and to various extents. It can be really obvious, so it is clear to all those witnessing, but it can also be very subtle, making you doubt whether it is actually bullying or just mean jokes and criticism.
What is workplace bullying exactly?
Workplace bullying can be defined as a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes either physical or emotional harm. It can include such tactics as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, and physical abuse, as well as humiliation. It creates a feeling of helplessness in the victim. It is a “phenomenon” that poses a risk to the victim’s health and safety, causing them to show mental problems, stress, and suicides throughout the world.
Some examples of workplace bullying are:
- Swearing or cursing at someone
- Ignoring someone or someone’s opinions
- unfair criticism
- Blaming someone without any reason
- Treating someone differently than others
- Isolating/excluding someone socially
- Targeting someone for practical jokes
- Humiliating someone
- Spreading false rumors about someone
- Shouting at someone
- Telling someone that they should quit
- Monitoring someone extremely
- Stealing credit
- Threatening others
Effects on the victim
Going through bullying at work can affect many aspects of a person’s life. It can leave you feeling drained, physically and mentally. Bullying doesn’t only make you feel uncomfortable at work, because of the sense of helplessness and not knowing how to solve the problem. It also has an impact on your job performance and even social and private life.
The effects can vary from anxiety, higher blood pressure, panic attacks, stress, trouble sleeping, and even depression. In some cases, people who experience workplace bullying won’t be able to perform their job properly (6). Showing a decrease in productivity because they are not able to concentrate or focus on their tasks, they lose their confidence in their skills…
Unfortunately, the effects of workplace bullying don’t limit themselves to the experiences at the workplace. Bullying often affects the personal lives of the victims as well. Making a person feel less energized, isolating themself, doubting who they are, health issues limiting their ability to live their daily lives.
How to deal with a bully at work
Standing up to a bully can be hard and overwhelming, especially in a work environment where you feel extra vulnerable because you are dependent on your job, financially. Despite all the doubt and insecurity you may feel, we encourage you to muster up all the courage you have inside of you and speak up!
Speak up, despite the doubt, despite the fear, despite all the voices that tell you not to. Speaking up is the first step towards change. We have found the best moment to speak up and tackle the issue is when the bullying starts. Before things escalate and become more serious. But even if this phase has passed, it is still time to speak up and demand change and accountability for their actions.
While it can take some time to find to courage to speak up, we advise you to document the bullying as much as possible. This can be emails in which the bullying occurs, messages on any platforms you use like Slack, or even messages on your private channels. If there is no physical evidence, then document what happened when and possibly who was there to witness it. This way, in the future, you can give specific examples and moments of when the bullying occurred.
If talking to the bully doesn’t improve the situation, then we think the next step is reporting them to your manager, HR, or a person in a higher position who can make a change. You should consider this person carefully as it is not always convenient due to the relationships there may be between them. If this is not an option for you or if it doesn’t improve anything and things are not changing in the long term, we think you should start looking out for a new job. No job or salary in this world is worth compromising your health and wellbeing over.
The last and really important piece of advice we want to share with you, TAKE CARE OF YOU. Take care of your physical and mental health. Try to separate the bully their actions from how you as a person deserve and should be treated like. Their behavior does not determine your worth. Take the necessary steps to make sure you prioritize your wellbeing. Join a yoga class, do a regular spa day, meet up with your girls or seek professional help if needed. Whatever is that will help you get through this.
for The Narcist