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Handling Bullying in the workplace

Most of us hoped that we had left bullying behind us in the school playground.  We never thought to find it in the adult world of work. Yet a growing number of people find that bullying at work is damaging their health and having a big impact on their lives. There is no unique definition of bullying but it is typified by intimidating, malicious or offensive behaviour. There is often a misuse of power intended to demean, undermine or injure the target. Bullying can be done by groups on an individual, by managers on their subordinates or vice versa. If you have ever been a victim of bullying, you will have felt the loneliness, the helplessness and the fear of being in that position.

BullyingYet there are things you can do to help yourself. Bullying eats away at our self-esteem and self-belief. We almost begin to believe that there is nothing to be done. So perhaps the first step is to fight. Know that you do not deserve to be treated in this way and to start to look for sources of support. Talking to someone may not change the detail of what is going on but can provide you with a safe outlet for the feelings of frustration, shock and anger. Take a note of when incidents occur and keep any relevant documents or emails. You may want them later, even if you intend to take no action against the bully now. Look to see if you company has policies on bullying and harassment. This need not necessarily be  because you intend to start a complaint. They often offer the help of mediators or employee assistance schemes that you can use to help.

There are practical places that you can get help:

Considered counselling to help support you, because bullying can damage your self-esteem and cause stress and anxiety. It is important to have a release for the feelings. Counselling can not only be supportive but can work on skills such as assertiveness and weighing up your options in a safe place. You may find your company has a confidential Employee Assistance Scheme that offers you help, or you can look at the skills offered in a counselling directory

You may want to contact your HR department for advice; this is especially useful in larger organisations. They should be able to let you know what the organisation does to protect people from bullying and how you can get help

There are a wealth of on line resources that can help give you ideas and next steps:

  •                 BullyingOnLine
  •                 TUC on bullying
  •                 ACAS on bullying

However you decide to tackle bullying in your workplace, including if you decide to live with it, do something about it or leave; be clear that it is not acceptable’ it should not happen and it does not make you any less of a person.

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