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Are You a Target of Workplace Bullying? The Dos and Don’ts

In my prior blog post,  UnderstanWORKPLACE-BULLYING3ding Workplace Bullying: Are you a member of the 28% of Americans who are not aware of workplace bullying?, I provided insight on how to identify bullying in the workplace and its effects on employees.  Through my research, I found many articles suggesting what one might do if this occurs to them or if they witness such an event.  Various articles suggested jotting down each instance as it occurs, evaluating the situation before speaking up, confronting the individual demonstrating bully behaviors, evaluating what you might be doing to provoke the co-worker, rallying witnesses, etc.  Expert or not, your gut instinct might provide insight on some of the dos and don’ts of the situation.

 

Do…

Do Not…

Reach out to someone in authority (Supervisor/Human Resource/Ombuds)

Confront the individual with reactive or aggressive behaviors

Speak with a friend or family member

Isolate yourself

Jot down any and all instances as they occur

Sweep the situation under the rug

Know your company’s policies on incivility

Stay uninformed

Create boundaries with the with the supervisor or coworker who is using these types of behavior

Place blame on yourself or accept the abusive behaviors

 

By following these suggestions, you are empowered to take action and give yourself tools to manage the stress. By reaching out to those in authority, you are allowing the situation to be handled by an individual trained to handle workplace conflict and bullying behaviors. You are also passing the confident message that your voice will be heard without allowing the situation to get the best of you.

When taking the situation to a third party source, have a detailed notebook that includes: notes of the instance(s) as they occurred, time/place of occurrence, who was there or might have overheard the bullying behavior, and what was said or done.  Providing this information at the minimum will help your supervisor, human resource personnel, or Ombuds to more efficiently research and examine your claims. For additional information on what to do, visit workplacebullying.org.

If you are a witness to workplace bullying, encourage the target to confide in a Supervisor, Human Resource personnel, or Ombuds. You can also offer to help write up the incident you witnessed, and be a listening ear.  Hopefully these tips will help put a stop to workplace bullying.  For additional information on bullying/being a bystander, listen to Dr. Maureen Scully’s talk on Workplace Witnesses: How Bystanders Can Become Essential Allies in Tense Situations.

 

By Yvette Watson Jenkins

Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

 

 

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