People often wonder how an adult can allow themselves to be bullied by another person. I can tell you that most don’t willing submit to the bully. In fact, a lot of people that are bullied in the work place would not even call the events bullying, until it far too late.
In the Guide for Preventing Workplace Bullying (GPWB) printed in November 2013, workplace bullying defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates risk to health and safety.
The GPWB also gives various examples of what is considered to be actions undertaken by a bully. Some are overt in their nature such as abusive or offensive language. However, the more subtle nature of workplace bullying is identified as:
|Gossiping is a form of bullying|
- Withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
- Setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines.
- ·Spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
These are just some of the areas which people can be bullied in a subtle manner.
Workplace Bullying Different to Playground Bullying
Work place bullying is different than that you would find in the playground of most school. Children do not try to hide the fact that they bully. They are in your face about it and blunt. Being a bully at that age is almost seen as a sign of strength. However, as these bullies grow older and start to see the trouble that they can get into over their actions, they slow start to be more indirect about what they are doing.
Adults that bully are often quite subtle in their techniques. They don’t throw punches or try to intimidate by standing over the top of you with a group. Well, not always. They know that their actions will undoubtedly cause problems for themselves so they tone down what they are doing, but they don’t stop.
The subtle bullying found in the work place comes in many different ways. It can be through a look at the right time in a meeting, letting you know that the person is actually talking about you, even if the message may seem to be generic. This action is a particular common manoeuvre as it allows the person to say something about you, even something nasty, but manage to excuse their actions by saying such lines as “this is not directed at anyone in particular.”
Another method that the workplace bully uses is how they talk to you. They can be brash and use derogative words to describe your work performance. Under the guise of trying to help you improve, they describe your work as “crap”, “useless” or “rubbish”. They also do this in a public arena so that other people can hear.
Of course this is just a few scenarios that may happen. You may have experienced something entirely different. However, whatever the form of the bullying, it is all designed to ensure that you feel inferior to the other person and allow them to dominate you.
Whatever has happened, one this is clear, it must stop. You have to take action to bring the workplace bullying to an end. See your supervisor, or if they are the bully go to the next person up the ladder. If you allow it to continue you can face some serious health issue (we will look at those next week).
If you are facing workplace bullying and want more information to help you, head to www.swa.gov.au
Until next week, look after yourself and let’s put those bullies in their spot.