Workplace bullying and what to do about it?

Posted by Andrew on August 15, 2019

Generally, the workplace is where you spend 5 days of the week and 40 hours of your time. The workplace is where you have agreed to work among others in a safe and friendly environment. But in some cases, there are issues of bullying in the workplace. This can create a serious impact on the employee themselves and/or others. For some employees the consequences of workplace bullying can impact on their work and their ability to concentrate. It can cause job dissatisfaction and among other things, stress and/or depression.

I’m hoping this blog will help you to identify what may look like workplace bullying, to differentiate between difficult people and bullies, how to resolve the issue and most importantly to support those who may be in this situation or know of anyone else who is.

Bullying can come in different forms, but it is generally identified as deliberate, disrespectful, repeated behaviour toward another for one’s gratification.

Workplace bullying is deliberate, not accidental. Difficult people may or may not be deliberate; they may be unaware. A bully is absolutely aware of what they are doing. Here’s a good question: Has this person been able to treat others with respect and kindness but has not treated you in the same respectful way? There can also be situations where others may spread false innuendos about you, and in turn make you feel isolated. New employees could start talking about you to others based on what they’ve heard and think to be true.

If you approached this person in a respectful and non-defensive way, letting them know how they’ve made you feel and their response shows no interest or regard for your circumstances, then there is a good chance they are more concerned about themselves.

Bullies are out for power at the expense of another. Difficult people are not necessarily out to harm another; they are just out to protect their own needs. They are not usually “out-to-get-you”, so the intent and motivation is different. Experiencing these disrespectful behaviours can still be frustrating and hurtful.

 The first step to overcoming and resolving workplace bullying

Try approaching the person, talk to them about how they’ve acted towards you and let them know how they’ve made you feel. Their response will depend on the outcome. You never know, they may have been completely unaware. But most importantly, keep good communication with your employer. As an employer they will check up on you and your progress, and if any issues may have arisen. He/she are always there to assure that you are in a safe and happy environment. They are there to listen and support you with whatever situation you may face in the workplace.

Remember, there are a billion other people out there that could be in the situation you are in now or someone that you know of. Don’t be afraid to speak up and have the issue resolved. Here’s to a happy and healthy workplace environment. 

Thanks to Kya from our Waikato Branch for this really enlightening piece on Workplace Bullying.