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Beware of The Bully Lurking in Your Office
It’s National Anti-Bullying Week (please note this article was published in November 2013 when anti-bullying week occurs) and a great time to challenge bullying at work. What you might find surprising is some statistics show women are more likely to bully in the office*.
Though there are a heckuva lot of male bullies when a woman has her claws out for you it can be extremely sly. Women seem to have cornered the market on manipulation whereas male bullies are often more obvious.
Bullying takes many forms and depending on the type of behaviour it can outright undermine, hurt or frighten you. It might leave you feeling confused and wondering if it’s your fault or if you’re being over-sensitive.
But listen to your intuition in these cases and if it says something isn’t right, then it’s not. Here are different forms of workplace-bullying and what you should do.
*Being ridiculed, teased or being made the butt of unwanted jokes in a way you find unpleasant. Bullies often mask their behaviour with barbed humour.
*Feeling excluded, not getting notices and messages you’re supposed to, etc. Your life can be made a misery when a bully who has power to exclude you does so.
*Being gossiped about and knowing someone is stirring it up about you. Your intuition will often tell you this is going on yet it can be difficult to prove.
*Having unwanted, overly flirtatious behaviour and sexual innuendo made towards you. It’s not sexy when you don’t want this attention - this is bullying.
*On the receiving end of angry outbursts and temper tantrums. Bullying often is aggressive and this can range from a short sharp burst of swearing or a full tirade in your direction.
Six Steps to Tackle Bullying:
*Let’s hope this is a one-off. If it’s something you feel you can ignore like unnecessary teasing - which means it never happens again - then ignore it. Obviously some behaviour, even as a “one-off”, shouldn’t be ignored.
*If it happens again set your boundaries immediately and don’t fall victim to feeling you can’t say anything. You can and must say something like: I don’t find that funny, please don’t speak to me like that, or don’t include me in your jokes, etc.
*Be clear with what you say and keep calm and confident while spelling-out what the person’s doing that upsets you. The more clarity you bring to the situation the less chance it’ll become a drama that adds to your misery.
*Keep a record of the bullying including dates, times and any potential witnesses there are to the incident/incidents.
*If their behaviour persists, let them know you’re going to HR and then do it. Don’t make empty threats. Your HR is obliged to have a policy in place to help you out.
*Never suffer in silence - you deserve to be treated with respect. Even if at this point you’re not ready to take action against the bully you must get support from friends and family. With their help you’ll feel able to go to HR.
*A Unison survey
A similar article was published in the Sun newspaper
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