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More people are encountering bullies in the workplace, according to a new study from CareerBuilder, conducted by Harris Interactive. In a sample of more than 3,800 workers nationwide, 35 percent of workers said they have felt bullied on the job, up from 27 percent 2011.

The Effects of Workplace Bullying

  • Almost half of workers don’t confront bullies at work and the majority of incidents go unreported
  • 16 percent of workers who reported being bullied said they suffered health-related problems as a result
  • 17 percent quit their jobs to escape the bullying

Who Are the Bullies at Work?

Respondents who felt bullied said incidents occurred with:

  • Bosses (48 percent)
  • Co-workers (45 percent)
  • Customers (31 percent)
  • Superiors higher than their immediate boss (31 percent)

54 percent of those bullied said they were picked on by someone older than they were; 29 percent said the bully was younger.

How Workplace Bullies Act

The top five ways workers reported being bullied were:

  • Being blamed for mistakes they didn’t make (42 percent)
  • Being ignored (39 percent)
  • Experiencing a different set of standards or policies than for other workers (36 percent)
  • Dealing with constant criticism (33 percent)
  • Having someone else’s mistakes negatively affect their work (31 percent)

How to Deal With Bullies at Work

Personal attacks, abusive behavior and actions that contribute to a toxic work environment should not be tolerated. If you see bullying happening among your employees, it is your duty to intervene to resolve the situation. Every situation is different and your approach will depend on your company’s policies and culture, but here are a few tips to help manage bullies at work:

1. Make it clear to all of your employees that bullying will not be tolerated in your office. Let them know that they can come to you if they have problems with another colleague and that you will look into it seriously.

2. Make a plan, and talk to the bully about his or her behavior. Bring up specific incidents that you have witnessed or that have been brought to your attention. Focus on why the behavior is unacceptable and damaging, and make it clear what you need to happen next. Set clear consequences for if your requirements are not met.

3. Get support from your human resources department. If the problem is ongoing, talk to your HR representative about what your next steps should be, whether that is taking disciplinary action or firing the employee.

Have you experienced or witnessed bullying at work? Share your comments.

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