Have you ever been bullied at work? There’s a good chance that you have as it’s an all too common occurrence.
At HRM, we decided to explore the concept of bullying by taking a road trip to the location of bullying ground zero – a nearby playground. While there, we encountered the bullying situation shown in the photo above.
When I was growing up, I was the youngest and smallest of six kids. As the runt of the litter, there were certainly times when bullying occurred. In general, my parents kept a pretty close lid on things and I learned that if I truly felt threatened, all I had to be was LOUD and someone would intervene to resolve the issue.
How does that translate to the workplace? Significantly as a matter of fact. There’s no question that bullying takes place at work, on the playground, in families, or wherever people are together. What’s new is that organizations that are focused on their cultures are beginning to implement the same types of anti-bullying policies that schools started implementing years ago.
If you are serious about limiting bullying in your organization, here are the two best deterrents that we have found:
1. Employee awareness and empowerment – if employees are aware that bullying is not acceptable and that there are processes in place to address it, it will be less likely to occur.
2. Active management – one of the largest causes of bullying is discontent with the real, or perceived, performance of another employee. Engaged, effective leadership will address those issues before they reach the boiling point.
Ideally, people will behave in a positive manner and if/when a conflict does occur, that they could manage to correct it on their own. The reality is that sometimes things get out of control, so having some controls – and an effective policy that defines what behaviors are unacceptable – is a great place to start.