Bullying At Work: Reasons, Effects And Prevention

Workplace bullying includes physical abuse and verbal abuse. It happens in the form of taunts, teasing, gossiping about someone behind their back to harm the reputation intentionally, and so forth. Making jokes about a person’s character, personality, or physical appearance also accounts for bullying and can have severe consequences when reported. 

Why Does Bullying at Work Happen?

Stats reveal that nearly 2 million people face workplace violence every year. 

  • Other Office Workers often Envy Skilled Workers

Workers who get the positive attention of seniors for their intelligence become the target of others who lack superior work skills. Workers get jealous of coworkers who regularly contribute ideas & gain rewards & recognition for their work. 

When one team member struggles at work while the others excel at it, others might suffer from an inferiority complex. The fear of being overshadowed by their colleague’s abilities gives rise to conflicts & mistreatment.

  • Well-liked Employees are Mistreated 

Dutiful workers are most susceptible to workplace conflicts as they threaten others’ popularity at the office. In America, almost 60.4 million workers face harassment. 

  • Introverts and Good Human Beings are Targeted

People who are caring, honest, hard workers, and shy to speak up about others become victims of bullying. Some people take advantage of introverts by intimidating them, knowing they won’t stand up to them.

  • Bullying Due to Prejudice

Targeting and mistreating others due to gender, age, nationality, religion, sexual preference, disability is common.

  • People Target Others Due to Physical Features 

 Appearance is also one reason why people mistreat others at the office. Some workers face hatred because others are jealous of their physical characteristics. Others employees who wear glasses, have an acne problem face unfair discrimination.

How to Identify Bullying at Work?

Don’t know if your in-house employees are mistreating each other or not, read through to identify.

  • Increasing workload or unexpected reduction in the level of responsibility of a good employee.
  • Needless criticism of an employee in front of the whole office.
  • Threatening job security or continued opposition to someone’s promotion.
  • Raising unnecessary issues & formal warnings for fabricated reasons.
  • Intentional exclusion of workers from collaborative office meetings or social gatherings.
  • Employees are spreading negative rumors about others.
  • Imposition of unrealistic deadlines by managers to a particular worker.

How to Tackle Workplace Bullies?

  • Promote Anti-Bullying Management Training

If your workers get negative behavior awareness training, they will know where they are going wrong. It can encourage communication among employees & help them build strong relationships irrespective of any previous bias.

  • Diversity Training to Employees 

The best way to train workers to be aware of their interpersonal impact is by professional training. It teaches workers to build a civilized diverse work environment.

  • Set Rules in the Office

Setting clear rules for positive behavior in the workplace helps to create a healthy work environment. Therefore, make a robust company policy against harassment.

  • Support Unbiased Leaders

The success of a company depends on all its employees. However, if you have good seniors, juniors are bound to follow in their footsteps. So, support one who is just and fair, encourage unbiased leaders.

  • Promoting Healthy Work Culture

Harassment can never thrive in positive work culture. Therefore, replace low job autonomy, high workplace stress, & high workload with reward & appreciation for hard work.

  • Teach Workers Respond and Report Bullying

Most freshers do not know how to react when someone is mean to them at the office. To help them punish a person behaving wrongly, it is vital to teaching them how to recognize and report an office harassment incident.

  • Provide Counseling for Victims of Mistreatment 

Harassment victims can handle the situation better if they get professional counseling. By letting workers share their experiences, others can learn to tackle inappropriate behaviors in the office too.

How Does Mistreating Other Colleagues at the Office Affect the Workplace?

Here are a few ill effects of mistreatment in the office.

  • An increase in the legal costs for investigations of misconduct in the office. 
  • Lead to financial loss.
  • Harassment in the office lessens the productivity and morale of workers.
  • Employee absenteeism doubles if others’ behavior in the office is negative.
  • High turnover rates affect the company as good employees move to offices that support diversity.
  • Poor team collaboration impacts the projects.
  • Trust & loyalty decreases, affecting employees’ productivity.
  • If you do not address poor & biased workplace behavior, it motivates people who mistreat others and harms the company’s reputation.

Examples of Mistreatment Among Office Workers

  • Not sharing relevant information about a person’s employment intentionally.
  • Humiliating others without reason.
  • Tasking an employee with work too much for them to handle or below their level of competency.
  • Denying promotion & taking away responsibility that an employee has earned with hard work.
  • Joking about other employees behind their back and spreading rumors.
  • Making personal insults and criticizing someone without proper reason.
  • Pressuring a person to resign by constantly showing the worker their previous mistakes.
  • Teasing an employee, ignoring their opinion, and imposing unfair deadlines.
  • Denying annual leave or personal leave. 
  • Making verbal or physical threats of violence.

How to React to Workplace Bullying?

If you think no one will believe you and don’t have confidence, you can never act against those who taunt or tease you. Remind yourself that others’ lack of office skills is not your fault. Even if it may seem like you are not fit to do your job, do not let others doubt your abilities. Take action against inappropriate office behavior confidently.

  • Recognizing 

The survey shows 3 in 4 workplace harassment cases are never reported. Ignoring issues like conflicts & teasing at the office does not make it go away. So, employers must accept bad behavior in the office as a problem first to stop it.

  • Reach Out to Other Colleagues Initially

Your colleagues can offer support and help you take action against people who mistreat you. So, open up to your friends and colleagues you trust.

  • Confronting the Bully

Be calm and polite while talking to the person harassing you. Tell them directly how you feel about their behavior and urge them to stop it.

  • Finding the Root Cause

Workers must find the source of the problem & file an official complaint after learning the reason behind bullying. Once they are sure, the next step is to take the issue to the management.

  • Tracking and Recording the Details

When someone at the office constantly harasses you, you must start recording details of those incidents. You must keep track or note down the date and time of the incidents too.

  • Find a Witness to Strengthen your Case.

A bully will deny your accusations. So, you must have a witness to support your side of the story.

  • Save Evidence

If you receive any threatening notes or emails from colleagues, do not delete them. These documents are the proof, so keep them in a safe place.

  • Report the Bullying to Higher Official

Talk to your supervisor or a higher official who is unbiased about the incident. You mustn’t disclose information about the incidents to other office pals to stop gossip around the office.

  • Review Work Policies

Read all about the policies against bullying in your company.

  • Seek Legal Guidance if Your Seniors Ignore the Issue

Talk to a lawyer if you want to take legal action against the bully.

Lastly, if you need further help with curbing misconduct in your office, invest in the best diversity training now. Let your employees learn how to appreciate others and create a diverse work culture with GetImpactly.

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