Unfortunately, bullying can happen just as much in the workplace as it does at school. Being a victim of bullying at work can make you dread going into the office. Very often, the right course of action can do much to help stop the bullying. However, for the bullying to stop, it is very important to avoid certain mistakes.
In this article, you will learn what you should avoid doing if you have become a victim of workplace bullying.
Bullying is quite a broad term that refers to repeated inappropriate behaviour with the intention to cause hurt or harm to another individual or group of people. Bullying often takes place in private and, therefore, can be difficult to report as it is often one person’s word against another. (1)
You may be surprised to learn just how common bullying tactics are in the office. According to a workplace bullying survey in 2017, nearly 20% of workers in the U.S. experience bullying at work. From these, 40% say that bullying has adversely affected their health.
There are many ways that you can survive being on the end or harmful conduct in the office. One very important thing is to avoid doing anything that ‘adds fuel to the fire’.
The first mistake to avoid if you are suffering from bullying behaviour at work is to blame yourself. Bullying doesn’t occur because you are not a good worker or have some weaknesses. The constant negative behaviour is designed to affect your self-esteem, block your career progress, or destroy relationships. In fact, very often, the bully feels insecure about their own weaknesses and try to pick on you because of your strengths.
Even if there are some aspects of your work that need improving, you deserve to be told in a professional way without feeling intimidated.
It is also important to never rationalise, minimise, or excuse a bully’s behaviour. Assuming that the person was just having an ‘off’ day or thinking that maybe their actions weren’t really that bad will only open the door to further bullying.
Of course, everyone does has an ‘off’ day and may regret things that are said or done. However, bullying behaviour is a constant stream of criticising, putting your down, and sabotaging your projects. There is no justification for that.
It can be very difficult to get bullying behaviour out of your mind if you are a victim at work. If you make the mistake of obsessing about the bully, you end up allowing them to control your life even when you are not at work.
You may start wondering how much is your fault and how much is theirs. This can lead to a cycle of negative thinking without coming to any solution. This results in making it difficult to deal with stress and can lead to many negative health consequences.
So, make sure and take time out from thinking about the bully. You may have to force yourself to focus on something positive. Or, you could confide in a trusted friend.
The nature of the bullying behaviour and the mindset of the bully means that you shouldn’t make the mistake of just ‘waiting it out’. In fact, adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude for too long can even make the bullying worse.
A bully usually only stops when they realise that you won’t let yourself be bullied. In other cases, they only stop when specific action is taken.
If you are sure that you are a victim of bullying in the workplace, you shouldn’t make the mistake of forgetting to keep a record of dates, times, places, and behaviour. You also need to document how your work was affected and any unpleasant consequences that happened.
When keeping track of inappropriate workplace behaviour, you should do this in a non-emotional way and stick to facts. These records can help to establish a pattern of negative behaviour and will be useful if you have to report the matter to HR.
What else should you avoid doing if you are a victim of workplace bullying? Here are a few more mistakes to avoid: