We often see bullying in children and adolescents, but adults bully or are victims of bullyingquite regularly. People ‘forgetting’ to invite you for a walk or lunch, not being invited to Friday drinks, being laughed at, intimidated and called names or having to do all the dirty jobs no one else wants to do. Victims lose pleasure in their work, psychological and physical problems arise and, moreover, bullying in the workplace leads to about four million extra days of absence per year. It is important to act quickly if you or a colleague is being bullied at work. What can you do?
Discuss the situation with a loved one
Admitting that you are being bullied is difficult, it often involves a lot of shame. You may think that you are the problem or that you are overreacting. Remember that your feelings are valid and that it’s important to share these feelings. The moment you keep those feelings to yourself, the burden will become heavier and heavier. Sharing your feelings with someone you trust will not necessarily change the situation, but will make you feel slightly lighter.
Start the conversation
You are the best judge on what kind of approach you should take, but in some cases it is not wise / possible / safe to approach your colleague directly. Sometimes a direct approach can work against you and in this case it is wise to approach HR about the issue.
The moment you decide to approach your colleague directly and face to face, it can help to have a curious approach: “ I am very curious, what did you mean by your last remarks? ”. It’s important to not be too confrontational and offensive in your approach. Make sure you are calm and strong. Because of your direct and clear approach, you hold up a mirror to your colleague. Let them take a look.
Tip: make sure you keep track of the facts and mention these during the conversation. For example, keep a record of what happened and what was being said in the NiceDay app.
You are not the problem
Remember this for once and for always: you are not the problem when you are being bullied. The problem lies with the bully themself. “But why me?”, you’d probably ask. Why people bully can have various reasons: the bully has a negative self-image, they cannot deal with their emotions, jealousy, peer pressure, loneliness, upbringing …
Think about why you started this job and think about the reasons why they hired you for this position. Remind yourself of all your positive qualities and try to shift your attention to the positive.
Take care of yourself
Try to find balance in the three basic elements of daily life: sleeping, eating and exercising. When these three elements are in balance, you are more resistant to negative external influences. In addition, it is important to have enough time for hobbies, sports and other things that give you satisfaction. Try to be kind to yourself and take care of yourself.
Everyone is affected by bullying!
Colleagues can have a major influence on the bullying behavior: by turning a blind eye, the bullying persists. At the same time, the bullying behavior also affects other employees: seeing a colleague being bullied at work increases the level of cortisol, the stress hormone. Conclusion: everyone is worse off in a corporate culture where bullying occurs.
What can you do?
- Involve the bullied colleague in activities or take them for a coffee date. Ask about the needs of your colleague and respond to this need. Maybe your colleague doesn’t want to think about it at all, but maybe your colleague has a strong need to vent about the situation.
- It is important to make the bully aware of their behavior. If you want to address the bully directly, it is important to take them aside for a moment and explicitly state that you are speaking for yourself, not on behalf of your colleague. Name your own observations, for example that you see that your colleague is not involved in activities and that you see that your colleague is suffering from the cynical comments.
- If a direct approach works to the disadvantage of your bullied colleague, it is wise to approach HR. Tip: Emphasize that you are speaking for yourself and give specific examples.
Would you like to receive psychological help because you are being bullied, were bullied at work or are feeling down? Visit your GP, or visit this website for more information about help via NiceDay.