Scottish Jobs couldn't be easier to find....

How to Handle Bullying in the Workplace

When considering bullying, many of us limit is to the acts of children in school playgrounds however bullying in the workplace amongst adults is more common of a problem than many of us realise. If left undealt with, it can have a number of negative consequences for the victims and affect both their professional and personal lives.

This includes the bully and the victim themselves which means that many cases are misunderstood and subsequently go unreported.

Identifying whether or not the situation is bullying would be the first step in handling such a situation. Bullying can be carried out in numerous different ways. Some examples include insults, rudeness or intentional embarrassment, making staff members perform demeaning, degrading or pointless tasks, threatening behaviour and unwanted sexual advances and harassment.

However, whilst these may be somewhat clear bullying scenarios, bullying isn’t always through may not necessarily be limited to face-to-face communications and could be via e-mail, telephone, text message or any other type of written or verbal communication. It is important to remember that although it is not face-to-face, it is not any less serious.

Aside from the obvious loss of motivation at work, it can also lead to anxiousness, sleeplessness, loss of self-confidence and other self-esteem issues. Victims of regular bullying often find it difficult to maintain concentration, making it hard for them to cope with daily tasks and continue working effectively.

It can be tempting to come up with excuses along the lines of "Everyone gets treated this way," or "I deserve it" but nobody deserves to feel this way. Don't ignore the feeling that you're being bullied. If you feel as though you are being treated unfairly then take action.

Additionally a bully’s actions can sometimes be ignored because of their position within the business. If someone is seen as indispensable to an organisation, they may be allowed to act in any way they choose, with other members of staff fearful of repercussions if they speak up.

Sometimes their superiors, other members of staff and co-workers may also try and explain their actions. Common excuses include:

  • They’re ‘just not that sort of person’
  • They’re firm, but fair
  • They’re under a lot of pressure to get results
  • They’re ‘just passionate’

Bullying can sometimes be unconscious. The bully may be unaware of their actions or the full effects of their behaviour. On the other hand, a bully that is your superior in the workplace may be aware of causing you offence, but they may see it as strong management or supervision.

Although bullies often behave this way to hide their own insecurities. The case could be that the bully sees you as more successful, capable, popular or attractive than they are.

Once you’ve identified that you are certainly being bullied, it’s time to sort it out. However before seeking formal help, first of all try to work it out with the bully themselves. It’s highly likely that the perpetrator isn’t aware of their behaviours’ impact on you and simply explaining the situation should be enough to stop future complaints against the same person in most cases. If you don’t feel entirely comfortable facing them alone then perhaps take a close colleague with you who is already aware of the situation who can also act as a mediator.

Though if talking to the bully isn’t an option then find the right people to talk to. Perhaps your line manager if you’re generally on good terms with them but it may be an idea to get in touch with your Human Resources department as soon as possible as they will be able to deal with your situation in an organised and effective manner.

Though if talking to the bully isn’t an option then find the right people to talk to. Perhaps your line manager if you’re generally on good terms with them but it may be an idea to get in touch with your Human Resources department as soon as possible as they will be able to deal with your situation in an organised and effective manner.

Legal action should be the last straw though for when things have gotten too out of hand for most cases but if the case is sexual harassment with your employer as the perpetrator, then that is blatantly illegal and should be dealt with at the highest possible level to ensure that others don’t get away with such behaviour in the future.

Whilst the bullying is being resolved, try your best to stay calm since panicking will only aggravate things further and take care of yourself by going about your daily routine as usual and ensuring to get enough exercise, fresh air, healthy meals and sleep.

By Naina Bhardwaj

Latest Job Listings