Sunday, June 17 , 2018, 4:49 pm | Mostly Cloudy 67º


John Daly: Are You a Workplace Bully?

You might be thinking, “Bullying, in the workplace, really?” Absolutely. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behavior that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people. It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression. It goes to the mistreatment of those who are not as strong; it also goes to being cruel to others.

Who Could Be a Bully?

A bully can be the boss who uses intimidation and ridicule to manage his employees; a bully can be someone in a position of power who thinks his or her management style is “authoritarian,” and that this is the only way to manage workers, when it’s really bullying. A bully can be the manager who unfairly or without reason blocks a worker’s promotion, refuses requests for leave, reduces or changes shifts, takes away job responsibilities or blocks opportunities for career or job advancement.

Bullies can be the coworkers who bully to enhance their position or sense of power in the workplace; they use overt physical intimidation or subtle gestures like eye rolling to belittle people, especially in front of others. Bullies can be those who get others in the workplace to side with them against a worker or spread rumors about someone’s personal or professional life, either verbally or in texts and emails.

Who Is at Risk of Being Bullied?

» Young or new workers or apprentices

» Injured workers or those on a return-to-work plan

» Workers (in insecure employment positions) who worry they will lose their job if they complain

What is the Effect of Bullying in the Workplace?

Bullying doesn’t just affect the victim’s personal health and well-being. The overall workplace will often experience increased absenteeism, lateness, lost time and staff turnover. Disciplinary or conduct problems will occur. Teamwork will suffer and most likely a decline in respect for management will result because of its allowing bullying to happen. This, in turn, will generate a negative public perception of the organization and its ability to attract workers. Finally, this will lead to inefficient, disrupted or reduced productivity.

The Keys to Prevent Bullying

If you feel that you are being bullied, discriminated against, victimized or subjected to any form of harassment, there are specific steps that you should take:

» FIRMLY tell the person that his or her behavior is not acceptable and ask him or her to stop. You can ask a supervisor or union member to be with you when you approach the person.

» Keep a factual journal or diary of daily events. Record:

» The date, time and complaint in as much detail as possible.

» The names of witnesses.

» The outcome of the event.

Remember, it’s not just the character of the incidents, but the number, frequency and, especially, the pattern that can reveal bullying or harassment.

» Keep copies of any letters, memos, emails, faxes, etc., received from the person.

» REPORT the harassment to the person identified in your employee policy, your supervisor (or his or her manager) or a designated manager. If your concerns are ignored, go to the next management level.

» DO NOT RETALIATE. You may end up looking like the perpetrator and will most certainly cause confusion for those responsible for evaluating and responding to the situation.

Bullying is an unkind act that no one should have to endure. If you experience or witness bullying, take steps to eliminate it from your workplace.

Great Video Information

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(TrainingABC video)

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(SafetySmartOnline video)

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or get information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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