Banish Workplace Bullies
How you can prevent becoming the victim of bullying in the workplace
With the start of Anti-Bullying week Stephanie Hall, Ollie Coach trainee, reflects on her own experiences of bullying throughout her childhood, although from the outside, she probably looked quite popular. Stephanie gives us some great advice on how you can prevent yourself becoming the victim of bullying in the workplace.
Banish the Bullies
As adults, we may think that we’ve left the school bullies behind but have we? However, as many as 1 in 4 people are victims of workplace bullying. When I entered the workplace I thought things would be different but I was disappointed. In some industries workplace bullying is rife, think Devil Wears Prada style. I experienced a variety of incidents of bullying at various companies but I am not alone, and most cases of workplace bullying go unreported. Bullying can leave invisible scars that can last a lifetime without the right support, and strategies to cope.
Some signs that you are being bullied at work:
- Your efforts are consistently undervalued or disregarded
- You are regularly ridiculed or humiliated in front of colleagues, clients, customers or in private
- You are threatened or intimidated
- You have been called names or shouted at
- You feel anxious or nauseous about working with a particular person or group of people at work
- You’ve had responsibilities removed or been given trivial tasks to do
- You’ve been blocked for promotion
- You’re overloaded with work and set impossible deadlines
- You’re ignored or excluded from discussions or activities
- Embarrassing information has been shared about you or malicious rumours spread
The reason most often stated for not reporting bullying in the workplace is fear - fear of making it worse, being made to feel you are over-reacting or appearing overly sensitive, of being seen as weak and incapable or even losing your job. In many cases, the culture of an organisation enables the bullying to take place and is as responsible as an individual victimising someone. But employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees from workplace bullying and there is help available.
So what can you do if you are being bullied at work? And how can you prevent yourself being the victim of bullying in the workplace?
- Acknowledge that you are being bullied. Keep a log of incidents including the date, time, who witnessed it and how you felt as this can be a useful record for you to come to terms with the extent of the situation, highlight the pattern and provide evidence should you require it in the future.
- Speak to someone you trust. By sharing your experience you are no longer dealing with the situation alone, and the sense of shame will start to be broken down, eroding the bullies power over you.
- Be proactive in accessing support. If you can’t speak to your line manager consider talking to HR, a bullying contact officer or external resources such as The National Bullying Helpline or ACAS (The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service). Get advice before taking action such as resigning.
It is worth finding out about the companies policies and procedures around things like workplace bullying when you start a new job. This can help if you need assistance at a later date. How active the organisation is in this regard can also be an indication of their culture and whether the position is a good fit for you. An organisation that is proactive in areas such as bullying, discrimination, inclusivity etc will often be raising awareness, provide education or training and work hard to foster a positive, open and caring environment for their staff.
If you are feeling unable to cope with workplace bullying you can speak to your GP regarding stress and anxiety in the short term. However, seeking coaching to help raise your self-esteem and confidence would empower you to tackle the situation head-on. By regaining control of your emotions you can handle the bullying in a calm and considered way. This could also prevent those people from hurting someone else in the future. No one deserves to be bullied and you can be brave enough to handle it.
Stephanie Hall, Ollie Coach trainee
Stephanie is a trainee Ollie Coach, SEND parent, wife and connector. She is passionate about human connections and supporting people to feel fulfilled, seen and heard. Her insatiable appetite for learning and capacity for empathy has led her to become a coach after a successful and varied career path including working with children, families and adults and running her own companies. Having overcome her own challenges, including a rare chronic illness which left her bedridden for 6 months, she is compelled to help others to take control of their own lives by empowering them to access their inner resources and live the life they deserve.
To get in contact with Stephanie, email firstname.lastname@example.org