Workplace bullying is an ever present reason why people leave their jobs

Many research and studies have pointed out how damaging workplace bullying is to the organization and the employees.  It not only affects productivity and company profits, it also impacts the bullying victim’s health.

Employees who experienced being bullied at work would sometimes opt to stay and try to cope with the negative working environment.  However, a few employees would rather leave the organization and the work place bully behind.  A research conducted by the National Anti-Bullying Centre at Dublin City University supported this and showed that nearly all of the cases filed with the Employment Appeals Tribunal involved workplace bullying.

In many of the cases taken under Dublin’s Unfair Dismissals Act, the complainants shared that they felt forced to quit their jobs because of the bully boss or colleague.  This is rather disheartening to learn, however, it is a stark reality that most employees face at the work.  Workplace bullying has become prevalent in many organizations and although many companies have adopted policies to address the issue, there are still instances when bullying happens.

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A workplace bullying victim’s advice to other bullied employees: ‘Learn to speak up, speak loud’

More and more victims of workplace bullying are coming out and sharing their stories.  Some even become advocates of anti-workplace bullying programs, while a few have maximized the wide reach of the internet to share words of wisdom to other victims.

An Australian employee who used to work in a bottle shop in Toowoomba mustered up enough courage to share his story in the Chronicle and also encouraged other people who experienced being bullied at work, to “speak up” and “speak loud.”  This was what he learned to do as he previously went through verbally abusive days, harassment, mob bullying and discrimination.

The bully victim also questioned the six month time frame in filing bullying claims in Australia, stating that the effect of workplace bullying doesn’t only last within that period.  It goes on well after the negative experience happened and something that may very well haunt the victim all throughout his or her life.

In the article, the workplace bullying victim stressed that other people who witnessed the work place bully or bullies behaving negatively should also take a stand and that people should not tolerate it.  The impassioned call for action is very timely given the rising number of workplace bullying.  Needless to say, the abusive behavior of bullies is also very damaging, not only to the victims but to the organization as well, as it will ultimately affect productivity and company profits.

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Workplace bullying is very costly but it doesn’t get noticed

We’ve often heard how workplace bullying can cost a company hundreds to thousands of dollars. However, despite its impact on an organization’s budget, the cases of employees being bullied at work sometimes remain unnoticed.

According to an Office Team research more than a quarter of HR managers say they think workplace bullying occurs at least somewhat often in their companies.  The Office Team study also indicated that one in three employees admit they had a work place bully in their organizations.  Employees who are bullied at work sometimes become distracted because of the negative working environment.  It affects their productivity and often leads to low morale.

Bert Alicea, a licensed psychologist as well as Vice President of EAP and work/life services at Health Advocate, said that a company can lose tens of thousands of dollars due to absenteeism, lost productivity, lost stress-related issues and other concerns brought about by workplace bullying.  Aside from these factors, having a bully in the workplace can also contribute to high turnover, which in turn, results to higher recruitment costs.  There is also a possibility of a company losing a key talent or high performer because of an office bully.

Having clear policies and zero tolerance for bullying and harassment are critical factors in ensuring that workplace bullying problems are properly addressed. Implementing workplace bullying prevention training programs for the employees and supervisors will also help to spread more awareness about the issue.

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The boss needs to stand up against bullying too!

Chief Executive Officer, Company President or Business Head are just some of the position titles that top honchos in organizations hold.  These individuals are the top decision makers in companies, what they decide to do can make or break organizations. They are responsible for many things such as the growth of the company, ensuring positive profit levels are achieved and attending to other business related issues.  However, one area which some bosses don’t notice or prioritize, is creating a positive work culture that is a conducive to productivity.

It doesn’t matter whether the size of the business that a boss is handling is huge or small, these top decision makers should also ensure that the working environment in their companies are positive, and that includes dealing with workplace bullying.  Unfortunately there are some bosses who are also afraid of confronting the bully or are turning a blind eye to the negative behaviors.  Some may even think that if they don’t address the problem, then the persons involved in the abusive situation would sort things out on their own.  However, this is the wrong approach.

Bosses who are involved in creating a positive culture at work or advocates of anti-workplace bullying stand to gain more from employees.  This ultimately will affect the business since employees who are not subjected to a toxic working environment are more creative and productive.  This is just one of the important responsibilities that business owners or top bosses should place importance on and not just company profits.

To borrow a phrase from Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”’


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Fight workplace bullying with education and a culture of accountability

The medical profession is one of the industries where workplace bullying is most prevalent.  From doctors, nurses and medical staff, instances where a healthcare professional is bullied at work is reportedly rampant.

Addressing bullying at work is a challenging and complex process.  According to experts, dealing with workplace bullying requires a multi-pronged approach which includes education and fostering a culture of accountability.  Workplace bullying is not only the responsibility of HR professionals, everybody in the organization has a part to play in ensuring that it does not happen at work.  Ensuring that bullying in the healthcare industry is dealt with is especially critical since it could ultimately affect the patients.

Employees who experience being bullied at work are less productive and become distracted given the negative working environment.  Medical professionals who become targets of a work place bully may not be able to properly attend to the patients or tasks that require their utmost concentration.  It is scary to think what damage could be done given the distracted attention of a medical staff.

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What are the best practices in dealing with work place bullies?

Workplace bullying is becoming prevalent in many organizations.  The abusive behavior is displayed not only by bully bosses, but employees can also experience it from co-workers.

A study conducted by Office Team indicated that 35 percent of the 600 employees and HR professionals they surveyed had a bully in the workplace.  Those that experienced being bullied at work would sometimes get confused on how to handle the situation.

Some victims would opt to confront the workplace bully.  However there are a few who chose to remain silent and learn to cope with the situation.  Unfortunately, being exposed to a negative working environment raises the stress levels of bullied employees.  The abusive working conditions can also push an employee to leave the organization.  The Office Team survey showed that 13 percent chose to quit their jobs because of workplace bullying.

So, how can an employee deal with workplace bullying?  Having an open discussion with the bully is one option.  Sometimes, the bullies are not aware that their negative behaviors made a huge impact on other people.  A key item also is for business owners to foster a positive culture at work and have zero tolerance for workplace bullying and harassment.

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Not Sure if You’re a Bully at Work? Take this Quiz to Find Out

At school, the bullies we know are those that would take away our lunch or push everybody around in the playground.  Some would spread rumors about you or even have you do everything from homework to odd little jobs, such as getting drinks or snacks.

In the workplace, many bullies are not as obvious in their behaviors.  A bully at work may even be very subtle about the bullying.  It can come in various forms, in which co-workers may not even realize that they are being bullied at work, unless the situation happens repeatedly or results to the victim feeling belittled.

There are also instances where some co-workers become bullies at the workplace without them knowing it.  The negative bullying behavior need not be as obvious as shouting at the other person or humiliating them in front of several employees.  Adopting a domineering attitude at work and forcing everyone to do things your way, is a sign that you’re a bully or becoming one already.

This simple quiz is a helpful self-assessment tool for people to check whether they are or could be a possible contributor to workplace bullying.  It is especially helpful for employees who are wondering whether some of their behaviors are bordering on being too controlling at work or if they are contributing to a positive working environment.

To take the quiz and find out the results, click here.

It’s a ‘Warzone’ Office for Office Bullies

According to the article ‘Office Bullies Create Workplace ‘Warzone”, the victims of workplace bullying uses the word ‘warzone’ as a metaphor of what was happening to them in their workplaces.  They described their experiences as a battle, water torture, a nightmare or a noxious substance.   These metaphor description comes out from the interview of 17 women and 10 men employees ranging from 26 to 72 years of age.

The respondents characterized workplace bullying in many other metaphors, here are some: “I have been maimed… I’ve been character assassinated.” Their feelings is expressed as “beaten, abused, ripped, broken, scared and eviscerated“.  One employee explained, “I feel like I have ‘kick me’ tattooed on my forehead.”

An office might look professional to anybody’s perspective but it is not excluded from the fact that bullies can also be found in here.  Only professional looking.  They vary from screaming boss to silent treatment colleagues.  They do whatever want, whenever they can.  The act of workplace bullying is includes screaming, spreading gossips, destroying reputation, excessive criticism and sometimes physical abusive is also being experienced.  That is just the non-subtle behavior description.  Bullying can also be on a subtle attack, these are the silent treatment and excluding you from meetings and other office gatherings.

Bully proofing the workplace is shortly explained in the article.  Read the full article at link.

Bullied at Work? Know What to Do.

Bullying takes many shapes and forms, it can be verbal or non-verbal abuse.  Intimidation, relentless teasing and disrespectful actions are among these abuse.  And most of the time, their actions are always covert and not all victims are brave enough to conceal it.  Of course this is not an isolated case between boss-employee relationship but also, peer-to-peer bullying is the most common situation in workplace bullying.

If you are in a tough situation like this at work, would you know what to do?

According to an AARP jobs expert, Kerry Hannon, 1 in 3 workers are really having a tough time at work because of workplace bullies, and in her article, she wrote ways you can to do protect yourself from these disrespectful people.

Once you are able to identify the situation as bullying, think thoroughly what is really happening.  Would you consider that you may also be triggering the bully’s bad behavior?  He might really have a very bad attitude even outside the workplace?  Consider that, you may also have a responsibility in his actions.  Are you the only one receiving such treatment?  There are a lot of factors to consider to size up the situation.  Identify all points of actions to be sure that it really is workplace bullying.

Upon identifying, make sure to document what’s happening.  All unfavorable situations should be recorded.

You can also talk to the bully.  Make sure that you are confident enough to face the person who is always giving you a hard time at work.  A good one-on-one talk without any physical violence.

If a good hearty talk didn’t work, time to consider telling your situation to the department who handles all employees welfare.  That will be the Human Resource department.  They should take action after their own thorough investigation.

All four steps are included in you Plan A.  Now, if this Plan A doesn’t work out well, time to think of your Plan B.  If Plan A’s result if unfavorable to you and searching for another workplace is your Plan B, that is entirely up to you.  Be a professional in leaving your current workplace though, don’t spread that you’ll be leaving your post.

For more elaborate explanation of Kerry Hannon’s article, simply click here.


Dolphin Management Style Approach to Workplace Bullying

School-based bullying attracts more attention over the years but adults also bully and get bullied all the time in surprising places. Universities, hospitals, schools, corporations, and even the police stations are all settings where the real, common, and shockingly workplace bullying happens. A new study conducted by the Conference Board of Canada called: “Workplace Bullying Primer: What It Is and How to Deal With” clearly describes the rapidly increasing problem of workplace bullying. “Top Down” bullying is the most common form of workplace bullying in which a superior bullies his subordinates. Other forms include what we call “Lateral” or peer to peer and “Bottom Up” or employee bullies superior can also occur regularly. It was found out that email is the major method of workplace bullying. Email is considered as ubiquitous but it can be a feeding ground for nastiness around the workplace. Office rumors and innuendo can spread like wildfire in an instant behind the anonymity of a computer screen. When it comes to forms of bullying, women more often report about bullying from men in the workplace. Men on the other hand, direct their bullying behavior towards the work of victims. According to Shimi Kang, M.D., as a psychiatrist and addiction specialist, she can see the adverse effects of all kinds of workplace bullying on all types of people in her practice. Notable common effects experienced of workplace bullying includes symptoms of stress, mental health issues, disability leave, frequent absences, employee turnover, less productivity, lower job satisfaction, and increased legal fees for the company. How to solve workplace bullying? The problem is definitely real and there is a corresponding solution. The most effective leadership approach to workplace bullying is the Dolphin Management Style. You can read more of Shimi Kang, M.D.’s article as published in Psychology Today.