The ideal workplace should be an environment where every worker and their superiors can help each other and coexist in harmony. The problem is that not every workplace has ideal environments, and there are some bad apples among the good ones. Sometimes some bullying at the workplace will result due to any reason. Here are some solutions to the unfortunately common problem, subtle or not.
Why is There Bullying in Workplace Environments?
There are plenty of reasons why bullies target other workers in the office. It might be for the pettiest reason or something serious. Regardless, bullying is wrong and should be prevented. Knowing the reasons for bullying can help identify the problem and work out a solution.
1) Talent: This might seem strange, but there is an explanation. Some bullies love to target talented and bright colleagues or employees because they are too smart. These bullies might even badger intelligent workers into giving them credit or take their place so that the talented worker will fail. The bully gets all the glory this way.
2) low self-esteem: Not everyone has the confidence to speak up, nor is everyone born assertive. Bullies love targeting people with low self-esteem because they know they won’t be reported. This security gives them the incentive to continue bullying the worker. People with low self-esteem tend to attract bullies because of this.
3) Prejudice: This can come from people of all ages, genders, ethnic groups, and beliefs. Sometimes the bullying is because you have a disease. Disabled people also tend to get the short end of the stick. Whatever the reason might be, bullies can list one or more of these as a reason to harass someone else. It does not even have to make sense to others. There are laws against discrimination.
How to Stop Workplace Bullying
A common small step to stop bullying is to ask the bully to stop. This might work if you are known to have lower self-esteem. Surprising the bully with a moment of assertiveness might be the start. However, this is not a foolproof method. Despite this, you cannot say you did not try. Taking a smaller step at first can help you.
Talking to Human Resources is also a good idea. HR teams can help deescalate situations and help both the bully and the victim. They can talk to the bully respectfully and ask them why they act this way and hurt the victim. HR professionals should also already be on the lookout for toxic behavior to stop harassment from happening in the first place. A meeting with the HR team can determine the reason for the bullying, and then the bully is asked to stop this behavior. Usually, they are given a warning after this.
If there is violence or the bully results in injury, the authorities must be involved. Call the police for assistance. Crime is beyond the scope of HR teams, and the police are trained for violent situations. Calling the police should not be the first course of action unless you know that the activity is illegal. If the workplace does not respond and stop the bullying, you might have to contact the relevant governmental bodies to ask for help. This might result in a lawsuit.
Preventing Bullying for Good
Employers should foster a positive workplace where respect and kindness are the norms. This will help workers learn how to treat each other properly and not resort to bullying and harassment. A positive work environment will decrease any risk of workers getting bullied.
Even when a bully is summoned to a meeting, employers and HR should not berate them. Instead, a gentler approach with civility should be used to understand and empathize with the bully. There might be a situation at home or with a family that is beyond their control. Empathy will also deescalate situations faster, and the effects last longer.
Every case is unique, and there should not be any cookie-cutter solutions applied to them. Take care to understand the nuances of the situation. Only using “standard operating procedure” gives off the effect of being uncaring and insensitive. Talk to all parties so that the solution can be devised.
Have You Ever Been Bullied at Work?
Bullying in workplace environments is not the end of the world, and there are many ways to stop it. Workplaces are legally obliged to address cases, even if there is no federal universal law specifically for bullying. Some states have anti-bullying laws. Regardless, one should be aware that they are protected in the workplace, and your company’s HR teams should be made aware of this.