Remember when you were in school and you kept hearing about the fear of bullies and how bullying was bad for the school environment? Well, bullying is not a new concept, rather it is something that has been going on for a very long time. Bullying happens when you plan to harm or hurt the other person, either verbally or physically. Earlier we thought that bullying was just a part of school time and now, it is over. Unfortunately, that is not true! A lot of people are a victim of workplace bullying too. Workplace bullying refers to targetting people at work to offend and humiliate them, mentally, emotionally, or physically. There are so many ways in which people handle workplace bullies. The thing is that unfortunately, the face of the bully and the feeling after being bullied are always on the victim’s mind, even when they are not working or are not at the workplace. So, the ones who really want to fight workplace bullying try to draw some inspiration from the external world to deal with what is going on in the workplace. For example, even when they are outside of the office, having fun, say for example playing poker, they will realize that just like the game, they have to face challenges with a strong face and attitude. Games are a great way to help learn some useful life lessons. This is just one of many uniques ways in which people overcome workplace bullying and come out of it stronger.
Before digging into ways in which we can fight workplace bullying, let us first understand how to identify the signs of being bullied. Because before detecting the signs, you can never be able to act on them. Extending the example from above – suppose the victim is outside his workplace, playing poker, he or she will know that before playing, they must learn all the rules. That is one of the best poker tips ever. Similarly, if they apply their outside learnings to deal with bullying at the workplace, they will know that before fighting this devil, they must know how to detect when, where, and by whom it is happening. Now poker is just one very specific example but the truth is that victims can learn this first step or have this realization through anyone or anything around the world… they just need the right eye for it. Thankfully, there are so many ways to track and identify a bully. Here are some of those ways –
- You are dealing with a bully if you keep hearing nasty and abusive words from them for yourself or someone else at work. Bullying does not mean just being physical. It also means verbally offending someone to the extent that hurts their dignity and self-confidence.
- If you see a group of people ganging up and unnecessarily humiliating you, that is again a clear sign of bullying.
- If your seniors are indulging in giving you some very harsh criticism which is not really just for the work you did, you might want to evaluate the situation further.
- Even micromanagement has the tendency to turn into bullying sometimes when managers act like they have full control over their subordinates’ lives and they do not stop interfering with it.
- When your co-worker is cracking a demeaning joke around you and even after repeatedly telling him or her how you feel about the joke, he or she is not stopping and is still making you feel uncomfortable, it is no less than being bullied by him or her.
- When someone is purposefully giving you incorrect information about a project or any work policy with the objective to offend you, that is also a clear sign of workplace bullying.
Now that we know that the above points are some typical signs of workplace bullying, we must also know how to act on it. Let us discuss.
- As discussed above, we must always be aware and vigilant about our surroundings so we are able to gain life lessons from them. So, even when we are outside, we do not sit disheartened and hopeless, rather we keep seeking positive solutions in our favor. It is about learning directly from life and life experiences!
- Organizations should generally create an atmosphere where people feel safe and comfortable in sharing whatever they are feeling. For example, they should conduct multiple employee engagement activities so employees can get to know each other better. One of the best ways is to organize games that they can play among themselves. There are many platforms on which people can play poker with friends or co-workers or they can even indulge in some other games as well to build a rapport.
- If the bullying persists, you must not hold yourself from informing the HR department or the concerned authority. It is really important to raise your voice so the culprit knows that bullying is not something that people will take easily or lightly.
- You must know how to take a stand for yourself. If you think something is not right, you yourself should be assertive enough to express your concerns. If the HR department fails to address your concerns, make sure to raise your voice elsewhere, maybe to your own manager or someone who is at an upper management level of your organization. In extreme cases, you can even consider talking to a lawyer about it.
- Do not forget to seek social support from your co-workers. Share your feelings and experiences with them so they can also share their suggestions. Moreover, this way, they will also be extra careful and chances are that it won’t happen to them.
Workplace bullying is a serious concern that is visible even when people are working from home. Organizations should make stricter laws against it and should also conduct activities that create a warmer work environment. For example, in working from home conditions, they can even encourage employees to have informal meetings with each other time-to-time, play free online poker or some other games with each other, etc. Workplace bullying should not be taken lightly, no matter what.