I am sure we are all familiar with the school bully. That person who you tried to cross the playground to avoid, yet they always seemed to come after you.
It is not just at school where we see bullies. Maybe the same sort of person carries that on into adulthood, or maybe, the bullied becomes the bully when they get a little power at work.
My pal Del felt that he was being bullied at work, nothing was done about it, and so, in the end, it led him down an ever deepening hole, which ultimately contributed to him taking his own life back in 2013.
So how do you know if you are being bullied so that you can start to be aware of the signs and try to get help ?
Here are 6 signs to look out for :
1. Belittling - your ideas are undermined in front of other co-workers
2. Embarrassment - someone regularly puts you down or shames you publicly
3. Manipulation - they find ways of framing things so that you feel uneasy, sad or hurt (maybe ignoring you) so that they have a degree of control
4. Lying or Sabotage - they get rid of the competition, or put others against them
5. Unreasonable Behaviour - they set tasks for others which are impossible to perform or complete, causing others to perform poorly.
6. Unnecessary Competition - they make the workplace needlessly competitive, creating an uncomfortable situation for others
Just reading through these, I can easily identify three situations, of which only one is work related, where such behaviour had been regularly demonstrated in the past. To me, that is a clear indicator that bullying is rife in many areas of society, far more than we, or those particular organisations, would care to admit. I am afraid, that in 2017 'a bit of banter' just does not cut it as an explanation any more.
Bullying isn't necessarily pinning someone up against the bike shed wall demanding their dinner money, but frequently intentional behaviour by others to manipulate you into performing and feeling less than you actual deserve to.
I have a number of clients, who, overwhelmed by the 'atmosphere' where they work, ended up leaving for the sake of their own health. Thankfully, we were on hand to show them the various routes forward, to walk along the change path with them, and to encourage them into a far more uplifting direction.
Never be afraid to ask for help if you feel someone is not treating you right.
According to the Employment Law Alliance, about 45% of American workers have experienced workplace bullying.