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How to Recognize and Prevent Workplace Bullying

Bullying or simply put, mobbing, is any act – physical or verbal, where you are threatened, or feeling hurt, by anyone at your workplace. It is usually well concealed, and the evidence are hidden, because it mostly happens when you are alone with the person bullying you. While there may be many reasons behind this appalling behavior, the most common one is that the threats are coming from your superiors who want you to quit your job, because they are not able to simply fire you. Bullying may not only be in the form of insulting words but even strange behavior, for example, your employer is giving you impossible tasks, deadlines or any other criteria that has the aim to cause psychological stress and make you feel humiliated and unworthy.

Mobbing

We can say that mobbing is actually an assertion of power through aggressive behavior. Almost every state has a set of rules that, in a similar way, define and deal with workplace bullying, but it can be, sometimes, extremely hard for you to prove anything, because of the nature of your workplace. A simple excuse would be that you were simply given a task that you are not able to perform, while you, on the other hand, feel that this task has been intentionally made impossible, and that the intention was for you to fail. This often happens if you are bound by a contract and the boss is unable to simply fire you unless certain criteria are met e.g. you not performing well, and that is why your boss wants to present the situation as if that is happening.

Intention

We have made a checklist of things to know if you are under the impression that you are being bullied. The keyword here is “intention”. Your superior has to have the intention of wanting to put you in an unpleasant position, degrade your feelings and your professional integrity. If the boss is not aware of the negative behavior, then you are probably dealing with someone who is simply unprofessional, and/or unqualified for the position given.

You can recognize bullying, because someone is:

  • threatening you, physically or mentally;
  • constantly changing rules without notifying you so that you do not meet the required standards;
  • creating impossible deadlines;
  • giving you the unprofessional amount of workload;
  • withholding the necessary information;
  • making offensive jokes;
  • intruding on your privacy;
  • not allowing you to work, and just letting you feel useless;
  • using profanity to insult you.

Then, you should do the following.

  • Directly talk to the person doing this to you, explaining your problems and asking them to stop and change their behavior. Do not do this alone, ask for a coworker to be there, or another supervisor.
  • Collect evidence whenever you can, as they might come in handy later on, and especially try and find witnesses that could aid your cause.
  • Report the behavior to your boss’s supervisor, or any kind of higher general management official.
  • Seek legal aid if everything else fails as professional legal firms can provide you with additional steps and tips.

Find a neutral end

Under no circumstances should you respond to those attacks in the same manner. Do not threaten or argue with your boss, as it can easily turn against you. Be firm, confident and persistent. Let your boss know that you will not be intimidated, and that you are willing to work and give your best if the work conditions are optimal. Simply put, try and deter further attacks, as usually, if the person attacking you sees that it does not work on you, chances are, they will quit.

If possible, be sure to find a neutral end, as there are many reasons this may happen. Maybe your boss is under a lot of stress and is transferring that on to you, but still, you should point that out, and try and offer some advice. Even though we have talked only about the “imaginary” boss as a bully here, it is the same if the attacks are coming from someone that you are working with, or is working for you. If you think this is happening, try and find help as quickly as possible, and do not let it affect your personal life and health, as that is something your attacker would want.

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