How to Deal with Bullying
We live in a stressful world and on top of that, leadership bullying can show its ugly head in various forms, some obvious, others not so obvious. Whatever the form, there is no place for leadership bullying, it creates toxic work environments, bosses run their own agendas and people suffer. Issues that may arise through leadership bullying need to be addressed to ensure people are accountable for their actions.
“If they don’t like you for being yourself, be yourself even more” Taylor Swift
Address bullying before it becomes TOXIC
Workplace leadership bullying has become a strategic tool to push employees to leave companies voluntarily indicates Heidi Lynne Kurter in her Forbes article, “Workplace Bullying: 4 steps to overcome it and fight back.” Isolation, intimidation and threats are just a few tactics bullies use to strip someone of their power and identity. The reasons could be as simple as feeling threatened by someone’s success, personality or being insecure with themselves as a whole.
The behaviours, tactics and language bullies use can turn what appeared to be a welcoming and friendly environment into a culture of fear. Research shows workplace leadership bullying not only impacts one’s happiness but injures their health, productivity and self-confidence leaving victims feeling stuck and powerless. Polls conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute show 30% of employees suffer from PTSD due to how intolerable their working lives have become. When it comes from a manager or team as a whole, the options of who to confide in become limited. In turn, victims internalize the comments, behaviours and isolation leaving them battling a mix of emotions from feeling embarrassed and alone to intimidated and depressed. Workplace bullying exists across various businesses and industries today, yet it’s one of the most unspoken topics. The Workplace Bullying Institute indicated some alarming statistics:
- 61% of bullies are bosses who operate alone
- 61% of employees are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace
- 19% have experienced it and another 19% have witnessed it
- 29% of victims remain silent
- 65% of bullied employees lose their jobs
- 80% of women bully other women
What’s more haunting is studies have shown that women who work for women experience a greater frequency of bullying, abuse and job sabotage. In a world where women are supposed to band together in unity, they’re instead using their power and authority to keep others beneath them. Here are the four tactics to handle bullying in the workplace and the ways to dismantle the culture of fear before it becomes toxic:
- Address The Situation Head-On
- Confide In A Confidant
- Document Every Detail, Big And Small
- Stick To Facts And Report Higher
If you’re a witness to workplace bullying I encourage you to speak up and report it. Victims are often too embarrassed to speak up for themselves or don’t know who to turn to for help. It’s our duty as humans to make sure we’re being treated as such, in and outside of the workplace.
No More Bullying Bosses
In Forbes, Jacquelyn Smith outlines “How to Deal with a Bullying Boss.” The prevalence of bullying on the playground, the Internet, in classrooms and dormitories is a serious problem in the U.S. right now–but children, teens and young adults aren’t the only ones using aggressive physical force, threats or coercion to intimidate and abuse their peers.
“Workplace bullying by a boss can have many negative effects on an employee,” Teach adds. “It could severely impact the employee’s morale–so much so that the employee doesn’t even want to come in to work anymore. Bullying can bring on depression, self-doubt, and can lower an employee’s self-esteem. Unfortunately, these characteristics can carry over to an employee’s personal life, as well. If we’re depressed at work then there’s a good chance we’ll be depressed at home, too. It’s unfortunate that bullying bosses either don’t know or don’t care how much of a negative impact they have on their employees.”
Assuming you’re dealing with a bully of the “manageable variety”–with episodic flare-ups, versus a lawsuit-worthy bully–here’s how to manage up, according to Taylor and Teach:
- Intervene early
- Set limits
- Speak to your co-workers
- Use positive reinforcement
- Be a good role model
- Speak to your Human Resources department
- If your boss is abusive, garner support
Taylor agrees. She says “your best option is to decide whether you want to manage up with your bully boss, or bow out.” What is your tolerance level, and what are the pros and cons of the job overall? “You must weigh the level of discomfort with your ability to be assertive, and also take a hard look at the big picture.”
Amber Wilkinson provides a lesson in the power of positivity with “I Called My Boss out for Bullying and Never Expected What Happened Next.” Workplace bullying is a serious issue across Australia. According to Bully Zero, 1 in 9 workers have reported being bullied at work. There’s often an incorrect assumption that bullying starts and stops during school and is something most people ‘grow out’ of. This belief is detrimental to victims of bullying in the workplace who face daily harassment from their adult peers.
Amber Wilkinson was 6 months into a high-stress job at a call centre when she experienced workplace bullying firsthand, by none other than her boss. This man was a known bully within the company who victimised several people on her team. When asked why her boss might have bullied people in the workplace, Amber believes he was on a power trip, fuelled by his own insecurities.
After six months of suffering, with the bullying now taking a toll on her mental health and family life, Amber made the brave decision to confront her boss about his behaviour. “I think I was one of the first to go forward about the bullying. I booked a meeting and got a fellow colleague who was very well respected to come with me as a support person. In the meeting I said directly to him “you’re bullying me,” to which he replied “call it what you want, but this is how it is.”
Amber’s advice to those dealing with workplace bullying is a refusal to stay silent. “Speak to someone, and if that person does nothing, speak to someone else. Just keep speaking up until action is taken. One thing I’ve learned is perception is fact. If you perceive you’re being bullied then there’s something not right with what is going on. Bully Zerocan help, they can connect you with some amazing support. Just keep speaking up.”
The Kindness and Courage Movement
My Kindness and Courage Movement blog highlights how bullying effected my family. The day my 13 year old daughter Abby came home from school in tears because her best friend started bullying her was a day I will never forget. Her story is not uncommon. In turn, even today we hear many stories of bullying and poor leadership – and the impact it has on people’s lives, mental health, families, businesses and so forth.
In turn, we hear so many stories of poor leadership in the news and media and this impacts how our future generations see and feel about leadership. Also, there are lots of great leaders out there and we need to share their stories and celebrate their leadership. This is why we are on this movement to build a world of courageous and kind leadership. We know without a doubt that courageous leadership inspires action. We know kindness builds trust which is the missing link for Executives today. This is why in our leadership work, programs, awards and coaching it is a fundamental focus as we have seen the transformation.
The impact on kind and courageous leadership does not only make a difference at work but in every aspect of our lives. We need our children to see that as fast as the world is changing and as scary it seems, that we are all human and there is hope. It takes kindness, leadership and courage. Remember we can be strong as leaders and show kindness. We can be courageous as leaders and show fear. We can all be leaders without the title or role. It’s an attitude, choice and action. It only takes one act of intentional kindness and courage to make a difference.
MAKE A START by improving YOUR Leadership Skills
Kindness through leadership will make a difference, so I am here to support you for your next level of success through three leadership opportunities:
1. Nominate today in the OUSTANDING LEADERSHIP AWARDS 2022!
2. Coaching helps leaders go from good to exceptional. Coaching conversations:
- build self-awareness
- uncover hidden strengths and limiting beliefs
- offer new perspectives
- evoke insight
- support goal-setting, accountability and achievement
- improve communication, and
- enhance performance
Book a FREE discovery session
3. LeadershipHQ’s Online Self-Paced Program ONLY $997 (RRP $1495)
Only $997 with a 14 Day Money Back Guarantee! Join 1000’s of people across the Globe who have transformed their confidence and leadership.
And, remember, Leadership starts from within, so grab my latest book FIRST COMES COURAGE!
Get in touch today to learn more about building leadership skills and set yourself up for success!
Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.