Did you know that every year October is dedicated to combating an epidemic that’s been proven to induce strokes, heart attacks, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, panic attacks, clinical depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and more? It is National Bullying Prevention Month.
Bullying, which is often characterized as habitual personal attacks during which an aggressor (bully) attempts to gain power over an individual or peer (bullied), does not stop at the playground or cease to exist after high school. In fact, an estimated 1 in 4 American workers is bullied on the job at some point in his or her career, with 45% of them developing stress-related health problems including but not limited to debilitating anxiety and impaired immune systems.So, what can be done? How can you identify bullying in your workplace? And once you’ve discovered it, what can you do? Read on:
Spotting the Situation.
 Decreased morale and work performance. Bullies often have this effect on their coworkers. People who are bullied often report feelings of helplessness and inadequacy that can affect their productivity. Yelling, screaming and belittling. Some bullies will stop at nothing to make their victims feel disempowered. Those who are allowed to act without consequences are likely to shout at and physically threaten their employees and/or co-workers. Plagiarized work. Many bullies have no problem taking all the credit for an assignment well done regardless of they contributed to the assignment or not.
 Rumors, lies and the cold shoulder. Detrimental to the workplace and often hard to catch are bullies who frequently spread rumors and lies and are able to convince others to stop speaking to others. Increased sick day frequency. Workers who are bullied will often skip out on work and/or contract stress-related illnesses.
Busting the Bully.
 Identify the behavior and the acting parties. Before you can stop a bully, you must ID the bully. Document the facts. Create a log of the days, times and details of each attack. If possible, find allies. Bullies can be rather persuasive and, if powerful within your organization, can often dodge any consequences. Having a person who will verify your claim may go a long way in stopping the abusive behaviors. Speak with your manager. Armed with facts, try to speak your supervisor about the bully’s behaviors and the effect it is having on you and your organization. Take it to HR. If your supervisor is the bully, or unwilling to do anything about the situation, present your Human Resources Department with the facts of the incident.
Ultimately, remember that life is not a preview. It is life. So live it in a big way and don’t let the insecurities of others damper your being. That would be a disservice to us all.
For more on anti-bullying month and why people’s perceptions of you should not matter, tune in to this week’s The Michael S. Robinson Show
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