Bullying isn't just something that happens on the playground or in the classroom. Unfortunately, it isn't something that stops when we enter adulthood and the world of work. In fact, results from a survey showed that 19% of people have experienced workplace bullying, while another 19% said they had witnessed it happen to a colleague.
Like at school, workplace bullying takes on numerous forms from aggressive communication to backstabbing behaviour. If this kind of behaviour is persistent and damages your reputation as well as your own mental wellbeing at work, then it is highly likely you are experiencing workplace bullying.
But what can you do to tackle this and possibly prevent it from happening in future?
1) Speak up
Before taking things further with management or HR, make sure to speak up to the perpretrator before you take that route. To prevent yourself from becoming a long-term target for bullying, address the person and problem itself and explain why it's a problem to begin with. Tell them how their behaviour is having a negative impact on your work and what behaviour you won't tolerate in future.
Brushing it off and allowing yourself to be treated this way will only make things worse, so be sure to speak up before the problem can progress. However, if this behaviour continues even after you speak up, then you should consider talking to a higher-up.
2) Document the abuse
Unfortunately, it's difficult to just report the perpertrator with little to nothing to go on, making it unlikely for action to be taken. The best step to take here is to document each incident, such as a journal. It's important to write down what happened, who was involved, where it happened, when it happened and why. Make it as detailed as possible to ensure your examples are solid for when the time comes for reporting.
It'll also help to note if a colleague witnessed the incident, as it could help you get back up for your reportings.
3) Talk to your manager or HR
If you're attempts to tackle the bullying hasn't been successful so far, it may be time to consider going to your manager or someone in HR to discuss the problem and file a formal complaint. Explain to them the situation, how you've tried to handle it, and be sure to present the evidence. Once your complaint has been filed with enough evidence to support it, appropriate action should be taken.
Workplace bullying is never pleasant to deal with and should never be ignored. But with persistence and courage, any kind of bullying behaviour can be stamped out.