Bullying doesn’t only take place at schools and colleges. Even people at the working place are prone to be bullied. Bullying is an illegal act and shall be raised voice against. People who bully must be strictly punished for causing mental and physical harassment.
From someone setting you up to fail by not giving you proper resources to someone spreading gossip or rumors to damage your reputation – you might come across workplace bullying in many forms. Either way, someone is getting hurt. But, you are not alone. We are here to help. This article will help you understand the signs that you’re being bullied at work and how to tackle the situation.
Who are typical workplace bullies?
According to research and survey, it was found out that the majority of workplace bullies are men i.e., 70%, 61% are bosses and 33% are peers with the same rank as their targets, and the rest 6% being subordinate employees.
Also, often it can be seen that many target same-sex bullying, out of jealousy or other personal issues. Neither are women generous. Many women also practice such gross behaviors at the workplace, out of jealousy or drag down other women.
Types of workplace bullies
- Mean prankster: As the class clown in high school, this person plays jokes on co-workers. Sure, some office witticisms are perfectly innocent, but there’s a line between playing a harmless prank and intentionally humiliating someone which needs to be well understood by everyone.
- Jerk-abuser: People like the jerk, are simply the meanest ones by nature. This person brings a toxic attitude to the office environment by delivering angry or abusive remarks on their colleagues.
- The Critic: This person is someone with power at the workplace, like your reporting manager and he/she talks down to direct reports and criticizes their work constantly.
- Gossiping lad: Every office has one gossiper, who can become a form of bullying if the culprit is out to stain your reputation. He keeps on passing on the information irrespective of wrong or right, in the whole office.
10 Signs You’re Being Bullied At Work
- They Ignore You: Reason can be aplenty – personal jealousy or feeling intimidated by you or not wanting you to gain success at work – one of the tactics that bullies undertake is that they ignore you. They won’t include you in an important email, they will ignore you in meetings, they will not take your suggestions, and would be overall un-collaborative and unsupportive. They might think that they are not actively doing anything to hurt you but their behavior is enough to put a negative effect on your work and efficiency.
- They Behave In A Condescending Way with You: Ladies, mansplaining is very real and very much present in every sphere of our lives, especially at the workplace. If someone is being condescending towards you or they are talking down to you, yes, you are being bullied.
- They Take Your Credit: If someone is constantly raising their reputation at work by taking credit for the work you have done, while you stay in a corner, that is a sign of bullying. Whether that person is a colleague in power or your peer, make sure you don’t give away credit for your hard work. Sometimes, you might want to give them the benefit of doubt. But if this is constantly happening, that is a red flag.
- They Cut You Off: Alright, I agree that sometimes someone might get excited about an idea and might cut you off while you were speaking. But if there’s someone at your workplace who constantly talks over you and doesn’t let you finish your ideas and sentences, well, you are being bullied, my friend.
- They Gossip About You: Well, office gossip is a part of the repertoire of working with colleagues. There are times when people would be gossiping about you and I am sure you must have gossiped about someone else. But if they are lying and spreading rumors about you damaging your reputation, it’s time to take an action. Gossiping, till a time, it’s not hurting the work environment or your self-esteem can be tolerated. But if it starts affecting you mentally and how people behave with you, you should gear up to handle the situation.
- They Give You Destructive Criticism: Sharing constructive criticism to improve a person and a project can be welcomed. But if that your boss or your peers are constantly criticizing your work even though you are efficient and goal-oriented, you are being bullied.
- They Keep a Count of Your Mistakes: If your boss keeps a track of your mistakes and he/she doesn’t hesitate at pointing them out to you for no practical reason or just to make fun of you, you are being bullied.
- They Disrespect Your time: It is said that you shouldn’t be living to work but working to live. If your boss/peers keep changing the schedule or create one that they know you won’t be able to follow, they are bullying you. They might keep a meeting or a conference call on days when they are already aware that you wouldn’t be available, or calling and asking you to work beyond certain hours falls under signs of bullying.
- They Call You Names: Our friends and family might have some loving pet names for us which we love. But a bully will give you a pet name to shame you and point out your mistakes. If your boss or a peer has started calling you by names that are offensive and make you uncomfortable, they are bullying you.
- Work Has Become A Suffering For You: Okay, one of the ultimate signs that you’re being bullied at work is that going to work becomes suffering for you. If you detest the starting of every workweek or you have started taking many personal days off work, then you can definitely consider the possibility of being bullied at work.
How can you take Charge of these Bullies?
One must not just sit and think of quitting, instead get up and take charge of those who demolish your reputation and harass you physically and mentally, in the following ways:
- Write about the bullying in your office magazine as well as a pen it down on your social media handles: Keep track of all bullying actions in writing by noting the dates, the time, where the bullying took place and other people who were in the room and didn’t help out. Make sure you publish it on social media accounts as well.
- Preserve the physical pieces of evidence as well: Any kind of threatening notes, comments, or emails you receive, even if they’re unsigned, just keep them saved. Also, if some various files and documents can help prove to bully, such as denied requests, overly harsh commentary on assigned work, and so on, keep these all locked in a safe place. They will act as evidence against the bully.
- Try confronting the bully: When you are well aware and can identify who’s bullying you, bring along a trusted witness, such as a co-worker or supervisor, and ask them to stop then and there. Do it only if you feel comfortable doing so. Control your anger, talk politely and softly. Make him/her aware of the problems you are facing because of them.
- Review the work policies: Your employee almanac may outline steps of action or policies against bullying. As nowadays every company has made stricter rules and policies to curb bullying and create a friendly atmosphere in the office.
- Reach out for legal guidance: Reach out and talk to a lawyer, depending on the circumstances of the bullying. Taking legal action may not always be possible but a lawyer can offer specific advice to take action against bullying.