Whether as a victim or a bystander, subtle or on your face, verbal or physical : we all face bullies at our workplace. To understand it better, because most of the time we aren’t even aware that we are being bullied at the first place, lets revisit the definition of bullying.
Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. It can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender,sexuality or ability.
The word which stood out for me from this definition is COERCION. Most of the time at a work place there is no obvious verbal threats or physical aggression but yes pressure is very much there. You can point your finger and describe the pressure, and often it is even indescribable. How many times at your workplace you’ve taken another route or changed your lunch table because a particular person/group of people is present there?
It is quite interesting to see how as we grow up it becomes strenuous for us to accept , that even we can be a victim of bullying. I think the thing which makes it is harder for us to believe it is the smoothness of our bullies. Workplace bullies to often operate within the norms and practices of the workplace. They aren’t doing anything out of line but still hurting people. I am sure, half of the time, even the bullies are not aware of their role and same goes for the bystander. This is the biggest challenge in working with this type of bullying because most of the time, there is no defined problem, finding the solution becomes more and more impossible.
Though whenever we talk about workplace bullies the face of a devilish ” BOSS” comes to our mind, but it is not true. Our colleagues, workplace friends or our clients can also very well play the role of the bully with a friendly, smiling face. For bullying, we need to understand there should be a repetition of events or a particular event with dire consequence. A passing workplace stress can’t be counted as bullying.
How tolerant I need to be as far as workplace bullying goes? This totally depends on an individual, what kind of person he or she is. Sometimes a person, to maintain his or her dignity and sanity decide to quit the working environment only and try to seek a new desirable work place but my question is what is the guarantee that the following place is not going to have a bully waiting for his next victim. Are you going to leave working because of a bully?
Then, How am I supposed to deal with this monster and my life, which is becoming worse from bad?
TALK: Seek a person, who can be helpful & trustworthy. It can be a person who had previously dealt with a similar situation and have successfully done so. You can also be very clear about the problem, jot down the points and have an objective interaction in which you can state your problem with a senior/ HR personal.
CONFRONT: If you can, you should confront the bully. It need not be an ugly conversation, never yell or threaten.
NEVER, EVER GOSSIP: Even if you’re sharing it with others, not at any time feel people are going to do something about it. What you’re doing is just getting it off your chest but at the same time giving the people reasons to gossip and make it worse.
KEEP A RECORD OF EVENTS: Maintain a diary with dates and incidents because if it reaches a level of a formal complaint, you need to be prepared.
PLEASE REMEMBER BULLY IS A PART OF YOUR LIFE NOT ” YOUR LIFE.” EVEN IF YOU DECIDE TO CHANGE YOUR WORK, MAKE A POINT & THEN LEAVE!