Socializing at the workplace can be a very complicated task as you have to be friendly and approachable, at the same time maintaining professionalism. And thus in the complication, the individuals who are being vigorously bullied by a colleague may find it hard to recognize that it is happening just because they fear to not accept that they are being bullied, they suffer it in silence.
According to a recent study, most of the people are not aware that bullying may occur in the workplace and thus when it happens they do not know what should be done about it.
To understand the signs you’re being bullied at work, below are some good explanation that can help.
Workplace Bullying vs Harassment
What is Bullying?
It is a type of aggression wherein there is an imbalance in power. The person who is bullying holds the power over the individual who is victimized. The types of bullying can be physical, verbal, social wherein one tries to eliminating them from team or isolating or dispersing rumors about them or cyberbullying in which a person uses electronic media to either threaten, embarrass, damage the reputation of other.
Difference between Bullying and Harassment:
Both bullying and harassment may seem similar to an extent yet they differ. Harassment seems parallel to bullying as someone harms other people with offensive, cruel or abusive behavior. However, it is dissimilar as it is a form of discrimination.
It is when someone treats another in a different way or poorly characterized by specific features or diversities. Bullying becomes harassment when the behavior concentrates on treating people inadequately due to their age, race, religion, gender, family or marital status or physical or mental disability.
2. Differences in law and approach:
Bullying is an issue of health and safety and a workplace may be prosecuted for violation of health and safety legislation if bullying is entertained at the workplace. Harassment can be associated with the prohibition of discrimination laws against sex-based discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace. It differs from health and safety laws wherein a victim of harassment can place a complaint to an external agency.
How to know if you are being bullied at work:
1. Is work a suffering for you?:
If you always feel physically ill or are acutely apprehensive before the start of your workweek, there are possible chances that you are being bullied at your workplace.
2. Relentless criticism:
If you are facing relentless and regular criticism from either your boss or a coworker, despite your brilliance and goal oriented competence, perhaps it is that you are being bullied. The workplace bullies contain a distinct standard of bullying keeping their targets in mind.
3. Loads of yelling:
Blatant bullies at the workplace will constantly yell to make their opinions known. If you are consistently being yelled at, humiliated or offended in presence of the others at your workplace, it is an evident sign that you are being bullied.
4. Keeps an account of your mistakes:
If your boss keeps an account of your errors and keeps mentioning it to you for no practical reason, then you are surely being bullied. Another tactic that can be used is false accusation of a mistake.
5. You are isolated:
You are being bullied if you are frequently being isolated by your colleagues or the boss, either physically or socially. It can be in ways of moving your desk or not inviting you to lunch or meetings.
6. Regular Mental health breaks:
Perhaps you are using up your paid leaves for mental health days to escape from your sufferings in the workplace as you are being bullied. Other indicators could be your constant obsession over work or spending your time offs feeling all lifeless.
7. You become prey of a sabotage:
Workplace bully may try to look for ways to make sure you fail at your tasks. It could be by altering rules in a haste that relates to your work or not attending to your work such as taking a call or signing off on some documents.
8. Impractical schedule:
A bully would change your schedule essentially often to cause more trouble for you. In case your boss always arranges up last minute meetings on the days when he knows you will not be available due to certain personal reasons that you mentioned to him in advance, you are being bullied.
9. Stealing credits:
You have worked on a project for days and nights and for weeks and have achieved success as well as it has created a lot of buzz at your workplace. If you time and again find your boss or a coworker steal the credit of the work that you have been doing with all your might and have been achieving great success in, then you are certainly facing bullying.
10. Constant undervaluing of your efforts:
Again, if you have given your 100% to a project and used up all your capabilities to achieve significant outcomes and in the end, you receive the success you yearned for. But your boss still searches for minor errors or accuses you of not carrying out the tasks systematically, so then you are being bullied.
11. Calling names:
If your boss or coworkers are keen on personally insulting you or keeping offensive names and also encourage others to call you by that name, then understand that it is an act of bullying.
12. Unfair punishments:
Even for minor mistakes if your boss dispenses unfair punishments then you are being obviously bullied. A bully may even punish you out of the blue, without any practical reason.
13. Increases responsibilities:
A bully may even hand you impossible amounts of responsibilities with the intention that you fail in handling them all at once and eventually fail in completing your work.
14. Not contracted or menial tasks:
A bully may give you tasks that hold less power but are menial with the intention of decreasing your capability for a promotion or growth. A bully may even assign you tasks that are tedious in a physical manner.
How to Stop Being Bullied at Work:
1. Never get emotional:
It pleasures a bully to emotionally manipulate a person. It is thus highly recommended to not get emotional and encourage their behavior. Just stay calm and sensible so that you can dissolve the issue.
2. Maintain an account of the problem:
Many people overlook the vital step of documenting their bullying experiences at the workplace. It is necessary for the bullied employees to document the experience immediately in order to not forget any information. The documentation of key information will help the victims to recover their control over the situation.
3. Seek for external support:
You can seek support from your family, friends, or professionals like a counselor, or doctor. It is important for you to seek support as soon as possible as the bullying may turn you anxious, helpless and depressed. It is important to know that there are others who are willing to be at your side for help whenever needed.
4. Never be an easy target:
You will yourself encourage the behavior of a bully towards you by shrinking away from them when bullied. People would treat you the way you let them treat you, thus it is important that you instruct people what conduct is accepted by you and what is not.
5. Stand up for yourself:
The trick to stand up against bully is to stay calm and polite. You need to set your limits while still being professional. Practice how you would respond the next time your bully does something to you so that you respond in a swift manner without getting emotional.
Be simple and straightforward; do not get into verbal retaliation, instead look them in the eyes and remain strong.
6. Make a bottom-line case:
Most of the managers are generally hesitant and unwilling to intervene in a situation of bullying among coworkers. However, to address the issue it is essential to persuade them. You do not have to give details about the psychological harm because it makes you seem vulnerable.
7. Present your case in financial terms:
Describe the manager or an HR how the bullying affects work and hinders it from getting done or damages the quality of work. Explain this is the reason you ask for an intervention so that the bullying stops to not just help you but for the employer’s sake too.
8. Prop yourself for retaliation:
A bully would find his or her way to retaliate even in subtle ways, thus making it difficult for anyone to identify the tactics of the bully and impossible for human resource manager to take action. Keep addressing the issue in related meetings and ask for the company’s policies to guard you against retaliation. In case the bullying continues and intensifies, the bullied employee can take legal actions.
The above information must have definitely helped you to understand the signs of being bullied at work and how you can stop it. It is important to educate yourself thoroughly regarding bullying to deal with it appropriately when it occurs. You need to set strong and evident limits so that your bully cannot break into the boundary you have set for them and they will eventually stop.