You’d think that workplaces, being staffed exclusively by adults, would be bully-free zones. But a 2014 survey commissioned by CareerBuilder and conducted by Harris Poll found otherwise, showing that as much as 28 percent — or 1 in every 4 people — were victims of workplace bullying. As much as 19 percent of workers left their jobs because of bullying and abuse.
And the survey found that practically anyone can be a bully in the office — your boss, a co-worker, and sometimes, the company’s top executives. Given the seriousness of this issue, how should you respond if you’re being bullied?
Evaluate the Bullying Incident
If you think you’re being bullied at work, ask yourself first if it was an isolated case or part of a recurring series of bullying incidents, perhaps involving other people in the office.
High-stress situations can bring out the worst in people, so step back and assess the situation: was it a one-time incident, or do you notice a pattern of being targeted by a bully?
Be Upfront with the Bully
In some cases, bullies don’t know their actions are causing you distress. Try to sit down and have an honest conversation with that person, telling him how you feel. If the bully is defensive or retaliates, you might have no choice but to raise the issue with management or a neutral party.
Record Instances of Bullying
Having proof of bullying makes your case stronger when it’s time to report to the higher-ups. Do you have any videos showing abuse, a paper trail of threats (especially on social media), or witnesses and victims willing to vouch for what happened? Be sure you have these things ready before making an official report.
Understand Your Company’s Polices for Bullying
Although bullying is technically not illegal, many companies in the IT industry have specific zero-tolerance against any form of abuse — whether it’s bullying or sexual harassment. If this is the case, it should be easy to raise the issue with management.
When reporting an incident (or incidents) of bullying, present your case in an objective manner, stick to the facts, and avoid letting your emotions take over. Present your proof and bring in any witnesses to substantiate your claims.
Prepare for the Worst Outcome
If your bully is a manager, or worse, one of the company’s most senior people, your organization may be deferential in handling the case, offering you soothing words and promising the incident will never happen again. If the bullying continues and no real action is taken, it may be time to consider requesting a transfer to another department where you’re outside the bully’s range. When push comes to shove, you can start looking for a new job as early as possible.
For more pointers and insights on how to deal with these kinds of situations in the office, be sure to follow this blog. For assistance on finding jobs in Wichita, KS, or dealing with common workplace issues, talk to the workforce management experts of Top Notch Personnel. Contact us today to learn more about how our aircraft, manufacturing, and construction staffing services can help you.