When many people hear about bullying, they immediately think of a tween or teen harassing one of their peers. While this type of bullying might originally start in a place in which they both must attend, such as school, in many cases, it also trickles out of that environment and follows the person being bullied to their home. This makes their safe haven no longer safe nor much of a haven.Learn more on Bullying in the Workplace!
However, there is another type of bullying that is growing in nature. It is just as harrowing and devastating to its victims as the more traditional type of bullying but it has some crucial differences as well. Bullying in the workplace UK is a growing problem that affects all types of people, regardless of the industry in which they work.
This type of behaviour is especially devastating to young people who are just entering the workforce. Due to their lack of experience, it can be difficult for them to correctly identify bullying in the workplace in UK. In fact, they might hear a variety of excuses from the person who is delivering the bullying behaviour. These could include that they are passionate about their job, firm yet fair when doling out criticism or under a great deal of pressure to get the right type of results.
One issue that bullying in the workplace often has in common with bullying on the playground is the difficulty of determining if such behaviour is taking place. This is particularly true if this is occurring between a person who has superiority over another. Though it can be difficult to tell the difference between a valid job related duty and bullying behaviour, there are some signs to watch out for.
- behaviour that is threatening
- spreading rumours or stories about an individual
- rudeness, insults and behaviour that is insulting
- ignoring people or excluding them
- denying professional development or promotion
- forcing people to perform tasks that are pointless, demeaning or degrading
- personal or professional criticism that is unwarranted
- sexual harassment or advances that are undesired
As you can see from the above list, there is often a fine line between those behaviours that are considered to be normal, and even necessary, between a manager and those people that are being managed, and those that are not acceptable. For example, in many cases, there will be some type of criticism in the workplace. After all, it is only through this type of learning that a worker learns what is expected of them.
However, the key is often the frequency of the behaviour. If there is only occasional criticism, for example, and it is not an ongoing issue, it is likely not bullying. However, criticism that is constant or that escalates could very easily be considered bullying.
Another similarity that bullying in the workplace UK has with the traditional type of bullying you might find on the playground or at school is the mode of delivery. Bullying behaviour does not always need to be delivered face to face. In fact, it is common for such patterns to escalate from being delivered face to face to other types of communications. Emails, texts messages, telephone messages, social media posts and other written and verbal messages can be just as devastating as those delivered to your face.
The effects of bullying in the workplace are many. You might start feeling anxious, having insomnia, being unable to concentrate and suffer a reduction in self confidence and self esteem. There are ways to address this troubling behaviour, though. One of the first steps you can do is talk to someone you trust to get their opinion of the situation. This can be a friend, parent or other trusted person who loves you and cares about you but who can also look at the situation from an objective viewpoint.
Once you have determined that there is a bullying problem, you should try to talk to the person who is bullying you. You needn’t do this alone if you are not comfortable. Taking a colleague or other support person can help make this conversation less stressful.
If you do not feel like you can approach this person, or if speaking with them did not fix the problem, you can speak to your manager or the supervisor who manages you both. Another option is to talk to the human resources department. If you feel that your complaints are going unheard, though, you can enlist the help of outside agencies, such as the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
It is important to remain as calm, rational and professional as possible when talking about these bullying occurrences. Bring with you any written communications that demonstrate the behaviour In addition, you can ask witnesses to speak up, too.