When we think of bullying, one is automatically drawn to memories of the playground bully or perhaps sometimes, think about how one may have treated Fred at school (and with hindsight as an adulthood, one may sadly realise that they were the bully…). Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t just stop on the playground, it’s something which is frequently experienced in the workplace.
We all know that sadly, most bullies bully because of their own insecurities, jealousy, things they’ve witnessed, learned behaviours or sometimes, because they don’t understand that how they are behaving is in fact bullying. However, whatever the reason, it doesn’t stop this behaviour having a significant and detrimental impact on the receiver.
As colleagues and employers, we have a responsibility and duty of care to create environments safe from bullying. Whilst it is certainly uncomfortable to confront a bully (however old we are!), as managers it is something which we must not shy away from. We also need to acknowledge that whilst you may not consider certain behaviour as bullying, if it were to be directed at you, everyone has a different tolerance and it’s relevant to ‘how it makes the individual feel’. Ultimately, it’s unwanted and uninvited behaviour which affects them personally. We also need to remember that bullying doesn’t just stop at face to face verbal or physical, it also extends to cyber-bullying (and no this isn’t just happening amongst teenagers).
Things to look out for and think about in the workplace:
- If you are being bullied, you think someone is being bullied or simply treated unkindly, then escalate it to a suitable manager.
- Review the bullying and harassment policy, to direct you on what to do next.
- Remember that lots of little acts of unkindness, teasing, leaving someone out can in itself amount to bullying behaviour.
- Monitor what’s said on Whatsapp, Facebook groups, emails – don’t accept anything that could make someone feel not ok!
- Bullying is not OK, there should be a zero tolerance on bullying in the workplace and appropriate disciplinary or grievance procedures should be followed to deal with it.
- What do you do when you receive a report of bullying or harassment in your business?
- What’s your culture? When was the last time you sat down and trained staff on bullying and harassment in the workplace?
Ultimately, be kind to each other, it’s quite simple.
If you have any issues of bullying in your business, you require assistance with procedures or simply want to investigate a concerning culture of bullying in your workplace then please feel free to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Gemma Murphy