Bullying at work: a silenced reality

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Louise Hay


Bullying at work: a silenced reality

Last update: 17 September, 2019

One day at work, your boss or colleague laughs at you in public or assigns you tasks that don't compete with you and if you don't get them done, he scolds and ridicules you in front of your colleagues. Without realizing it, you give in to this enormous pressure and agree to do whatever it tells you to, just to be left alone.

The strategy works. For a while'. But there always comes a day when, no matter how much you do whatever the boss orders, he takes it one step further and asks you to do something even more humiliating. Or he makes fun of you. Or he even gets to yell at you. You can't take it anymore. He turns to his superior, but he only tells you that you have to grit your teeth and that he has no solution. But why should you keep putting up with it? Why doesn't whoever should remedy your situation take action? Thats enough!

"If there are no heroes to save you, you must turn into heroes."

-Denpa Kyoshi-

The causes of bullying at work

Bullying means the succession of aggressive behaviors towards a victim within a work environment that can improve, or worsen, that abusive situation. Although it is a very worrying fact, today the cases of abuse at work are constantly increasing. Although numerous factors must occur in order to be able to talk about actual mobbing, there are some central ones we want to talk to you about below.

The person engaging in the abuse usually has a rather peculiar personality. Attackers tend to be narcissistic, short-tempered, and vengeful. Furthermore, they often have low self-esteem and high levels of anxiety. Added to this is the fact that, if they occupy a higher hierarchical level than the victim, a series of events can occur that will aggravate the situation.

“People who love each other don't harm others. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer too. "

-Dan Pearce-

If the situation is that of a supervisor / employee, The abuser can harass the victim through excessive oversight of his work and demonstrations of lack of confidence that worsen his performance. But that's not all: it often tends to take responsibility away from the victim and change his functions, replacing them with more denigrating tasks. In this way, the conflict worsens.

To these characteristics of the aggressor it is necessary to add a series of conditions that can occur in the work environment and that allow this situation to exist. For instance, if the demand is very high in the workplace, but the availability of resources is low, cases of bullying are more likely to occur. In addition, the characteristics of the corporate executives who oversee the work of the boss in question also play an important role.

If the managers are not very skilled, this affects the work of the whole team. And equally it affects their leadership skills in the group. If they are passive and despotic executives, who make arbitrary decisions, they will make it easier for bullying episodes in the company to proliferate.. Because? Because they are the characteristics of supervisors who often adopt a permissive position towards aggression and bullying at work.

The consequences of bullying

The fact that executives allow bullying to continue is very worrying. This lack of respect not only has negative repercussions on the worker who is the victim, but also implies additional costs for the company and for society in general.. Precisely for this reason, it is paradoxical that the supervisors who could do away with these situations do not do it and let it go, because situations often get complicated and solving them becomes more and more complicated.

Bullying at work has a number of repercussions on the victim. First of all, it will have consequences on his psychological health. The first symptoms of anxiety and depression may occur, alongside feelings of anger and emotional exhaustion. But fatigue and physical ailments are also produced, as well as impaired sleep.

In addition to these problems for the worker, bullying also has negative consequences for the entire company group. Due to this increasingly unbearable situation, the victim often asks for a leave for health reasons. Employees who do not do so, in any case worsen their performance at work, because their satisfaction and their attachment to the company decrease, while the desire to resign increases.

This situation also affects the other employees who are witnesses of it. Those who witness bullying can develop stress, emotional exhaustion and a negative attitude towards the work environment. Finally, these conflicts at work can also affect other areas of our life, such as the family.

How to prevent bullying

Given the high costs of bullying, both at a health, economic and corporate level, it becomes increasingly necessary to face this situation and remedy it. In a concrete way, companies must abandon the passive and permissive attitude in the face of these situations. How?

By nurturing a positive attitude and eliminating the factors that influence the development of bullying, such as work overload, the lack of a leader capable of motivating the group or the sense of injustice perceived by employees.

In this sense, it is good to train team leaders who are fair and supportive, enhancing the use of emotional intelligence, so that they know how to behave if someone reports a mobbing situation. Furthermore, it is good that they know and know how to implement a protocol of measures that eliminates the situation at its root. Unfortunately, very few companies have a protocol of this type and very often staff make uncertain and poorly thought-out decisions when such a situation arises.

“Never let yourself be mistreated in silence. Never allow yourself to be a victim. Don't accept that someone else defines your life: you define yourself. "

-Tim Fields-

The company itself must establish a clear policy with respect to bullying, avoiding any ambiguity and establishing practical protocols on how to report and deal with situations of abuse at work. It is good that there are specialized mediators in the workplace. In addition, it is also a good idea for employees to take a course in emotional self-control and stress management, so that they acquire the tools necessary to manage the different conflict situations that may arise.

Bullying is a real problem and much more common than the statistics reflect, as one of its main characteristics is that people often try to silence it. No company likes to be involved in a scandal of this type and many consider, even if they do not say it openly, that "dirty clothes" should be washed at home. It is therefore a problem that many would like to remain invisible.

But given the high psychological, physical and economic cost, not only for the victim, but also for the company and society in general, it is necessary to develop policies to address them. And it is all the more important that they are policies that arise from the company itself.

You cannot adopt a permissive attitude towards bullying. It is essential that the victim perceives that there is something they can do to remedy it and that the company helps them to do so, to avoid that those who suffer from abuse feel helpless and that the problem of bullying at work continues to worsen.

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