Is workplace bullying a problem in your organization?
What image comes to mind when you hear the words “workplace bully? ” A spout loony who yells and stomps and is king of the insults? Or is it someone who subtly disregards someone else’s work while smiling in their face?
Turns out, it can be both.
Either way, these are toxic employees who inflict harm on your staff members and your company. Bullying itself is deemed to be workplace violence, due to psychological scars left on its victims. Left unchallenged, bullies may even trigger workplace violence from the person being bullied or escalate their bad behaviour into violence themselves.
Here’s how you are able to spot and stop workplace bullying before you lose valuable team members or productivity suffers.
What workplace bully looks like
A third of employees say they’ve been bullied at work, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Young workers, women and LGBT employees report the highest rates of bullying. Survey responders said these were the most common ways they were bullied 😛 TAGEND
Falsely accused of attaining blunders( 45 percentage) Remark dismissed, dismissed or not acknowledged( 42 percentage) Blames constantly by boss or co-workers( 37 percent) Different standards or policies applied to them( 34 percentage) Gossip about( 36 percent) Belittling remarks made during sessions( 28 percent) Someone didn’t perform certain duties, which negatively impacted their work( 29 percentage) Yelled at by boss in front of co-workers( 26 percentage) Excluded from projects or sessions( 20 percentage)
Bullying can be a legal liability for your business if comments or gossip are about race, gender, age, disability or sex orientation- since this can be considered harassment.
Many nations have enacted workplace anti-bullying legislation, but no federal law immediately addresses this matter. However, the line between bullying and harassment can be murky, so managing bullies is not only important for morale in the workplace- it also helps to ensure no legal lines are crossed.
Kind of workplace bullies
Bullies are among the worst types of toxic employees, due to the damage they inflict through lost productivity, turnover and low morale. Do you distinguish any of these types of behaviours among your faculty?
1. The blatant bully
It may be hard to believe, but the screaming insulter is still alive and well in some workplaces. While the archetypical yeller is a boss who manages by anxiety, the blatant bully can be anyone in the workplace.
You’ll hear these types of bullies stimulate belittling commentaries or talk over person in a meeting. They want their style. They want you to know they’re in control. They want you to know how important the objective is, and it doesn’t matter who they have to step on to get their phase across.
2. The passive-aggressive bully
This person will smile and give an off-handed compliment, such as, ”Wow, you’re on time for once. That’s great! ”
Passive-aggressive bullies leave you wondering if you were just devoted praise or taken down a peg. You might find yourself saying: “Um, thanks, I think.”
Or they may tell you one thing, and tell others something completely different.
Often, they’ll act out in small, subtle styles, such as changing a workflow process or a meeting agenda with little warning, to set someone up for failure.
For example, they may say, “I moved our session up- I hope you can be ready to give your presentation.”
To your employees, this can feel like sabotage. And these bullies know what they’re doing. Problem is, they’re doing it in a subversive way that takes a while to detect.
3. The overly direct bully
These employees aren’t typical bullies, in that they aren’t intentionally trying to cause problems. Some people simply function in a very direct manner. For those familiar with the DISC personality evaluation, the “D” is for “dominance”- people who are results-focused and action-oriented.
These people may be perceived as bullies. But it’s usually not their intention to bulldoze the rest of the group. They may not even know how they come across to others.
Direct people are quick, aggressive and unfiltered, which, over day, can seem like bullying. Sometimes they get away with this behavior because “that’s just how they are.” But they have to be made aware that how they say things can be perceived as harsh and disruptive to team morale.
What the workplace bully gets out of it
Why do workplace bullies do what they do, and what do they get out of it?
There’s no one simple answer. The reasons behind their behavior could run the gamut. It may result from a need to make-up themselves feel good, or because they need to feel in control. Their bully tactics may also stem from a desire to promote their own career.
Weak directors, for example, will sometimes resort to management by anxiety, which can build them bullies. If their style of an attempt to motivate employees includes intimidation or scare tactics, employees may feel picked on.
Sometimes, these people aren’t singling out certain someones; the objective is “equal opportunity offenders” and no one is safe from their denunciations. Other bullies may unconsciously pick on those they perceive to be weak.
Survival tips for dealing with a bully
Dealing with a workplace bully can be a delicate situation. Some employees may take it upon themselves to deal immediately with the wrongdoer, telling them how their terms or actions affect their work.
However, because intimidation may be at the root of the bully, some employees may not feel they can talk directly to the bully, especially if the person outranks them. That’s why it’s so important for every manager to keep an eye out for such behavior- and address it promptly.
Using the same chain of reporting that is used for a harassment issue may be the best course of action, or follow your company’s processes for complaint-resolution, which typically follow the company’s organizational chart and chain of command.
Employees who feel bullied should always 😛 TAGEND
Stay pacify and retain their professionalism. Avoid reciprocating or confronting the bully. Limit how much they interact with the bully. Document the behavior.
Should the bullying escalate or start to impact an employee’s ability to get their work done, they should consult HR or another resource. If your company offer an EAP program, they may also want to refer to it for tips on dealing with difficult employees.
An employee’s documentation of the bully, together with date and period( and any other people who may have witnessed the behaviour) establishes a pattern of behavior and will give credence to their allegations.
Documentation can serve three main purposes 😛 TAGEND
It dedicates HR and management a sense of the frequency and intensity of the bully. It also helps bullied employees reassure themselves that they’re not just being too sensitive or imagining things( in the case of gaslighting ). Finally, it gives your HR team and directors points of discussion with the bully.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to a manager that the bully is stimulating everyone miserable. The director should talk separately with the offender and the main victims to ascertain “what its like” transpired.
If it continues to happen, the bully may need to be elevated to a progressive discipline scheme– a process that includes verbal and written counseling. This scheme can include having the bully attend class or sessions that address specific behaviors.
Workplace bullying has often been described as a silent crisis, which stimulates proactively dealing with this problem especially important. That entails learning to distinguish the signs and empowering your team to do the same. Get more solid advice on how to cultivate an atmosphere of respect that sets everyone up for success by downloading our free e-book: How to develop a top-notch workforce that will accelerate your business.
Read more: insperity.com