Workplace bullying is prevalent all across the globe, and it can be damaging to the target and the organization. If you’re unfortunate enough to be a target of daily abuse, you must consider what options you can take at your workplace to fix this universal issue. Here are 6 ways on how to deal with workplace bullying.
Document Your Bully’s Behavior
You need to collect evidence of the bullying that you face at work. Without evidence, you won’t be able to prove anything to HR if you report it. Document every little detail of your experiences being bullied in a notebook along with the dates and the office space in which it happened.
You should note down the name of the bully(s) and also what exactly they say or do that makes you uncomfortable. Some bullies only attack people when there aren’t any witnesses. However, if you have others around when you’re bullied, don’t let them do nothing about it.
Manfred Kets de Vries, a clinical professor and author, recommends telling silent bystanders that their apathy is a part of the bullying. Doing this can convince them to help you with your case. When you report your case to HR, use your witnesses to emphasize how the bully’s behavior is harming the workplace environment.
Document the Effects of Bullying on Your Performance
The effects of bullying and harassment come down to how you feel during and after it. Therefore, it is important to make a note of the effect the bullying has on you. Make a note of how it affects your interaction with others in the office and your performance. Document how bullying affects your performance on given days and in general.
The HR’s job is to look out for what’s best for the company. Thus, it is important to frame your complaint in a way that focuses on your ability to work at the organization. Discuss the damaging effects it has on your productivity and your ability to give your best to the company.
Research shows that workplace bullying affects the target’s emotional intelligence – which is responsible for “organizational effectiveness, commitment, morale, and health.” Keep that in mind when you try and figure out how bullying is affecting your performance.
Thorough accounts of the events will help in making your case seem more truthful. This, in turn, can lead to a more favorable outcome for you.
Take Good Care of Yourself Outside of Work
Work takes up a large part of your days each week. Therefore, if you’re a target of constant bullying at the workplace, you are forced to deal with the effects of that for a large part of your days. This also has the potential to slip-into your life outside of work.
Bullying can adversely affect your mental health. If you’re dealing with a bully at work on daily basis, you have to make the time you spend out of work positive. When you’re not at work, focus on doing good things for yourself.
If you’re dealing with a group of bullies at work, which tends to isolate you from social interactions, don’t spend most of your time alone after your work hours. Eve Seguin discusses that a group of bullies can eventually make people at work question their target’s credibility and value to the company. This can leave the target ostracized with few options to come out on top of the issue.
Therefore, you must counteract that outside of work. Form a closely-knit group of friends who aren’t colleagues. Spend time with them and share your experience. Sometimes, we need others to point out some problems that we’re unable to recognize.
Confront Your Critical Bully
If your bully is a constant critic who seems to find faults in all of your work, you must confront them about it. Ask them about their ideas and what they would do differently in your stead. The chances of them providing a better explanation or an idea on the spot are not high. If they respond with a vague answer or simply claim to have done it better, ask them for details. Take this opportunity to grill them in front of others by sticking solely to work-related material.
If they’re blank, this will make their criticism seem weak, and it will help others recognize your work for what it is. Your bully will also reconsider challenging your ideas harshly the next time, in an attempt to prevent their own embarrassment.
Research What Actions Your Organization Takes Against Bullies
Go over the policy handbook that was given to you when you joined, and read what your company’s policies are on workplace harassment. Understand the language that is used to describe the policy so that you can figure out how you can fit your case within that policy.
Try and ask your colleagues if a situation similar to yours has happened before, and what action was taken to resolve it. If you learn that your organization takes workplace bullying or harassment lightly, it’s in your best interest to build a stronger case. Bring in strong evidence and discuss how your situation goes against the policies the organization has. Don’t leave room for them to bring loopholes; your case will be dismissed as a result.
Find a Job Elsewhere
Leaving your workplace should only be considered if you can’t find any other way to reduce the bullying you deal with at work. This may be necessary if your bully is your boss, manager, or someone else in power. It will be difficult to report them for their behavior, and even if you do, significant action may not be taken. Therefore, if you feel like there is no way out, you should consider applying for a new job. Dealing with a bully can be damaging for your mental health, and it is important that you put that on top priority.
Behavioral scientist and author, Dr. Pragya Agarwal, says that the first step of overcoming the effects of bullying at the workplace is acknowledging that you’re not at fault. Workplace bullying shouldn’t be a part of any office culture regardless of what the situation is. You have every right to be treated with respect at your workplace, and acknowledging that this is a legitimate problem will help you decide how to deal with it.