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Workplace Bullying & How to Overcome It

Dec 02, 2022 08:53 PM
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Something to never forget: Workplace bullying is a symptom of a toxic workplace culture.

The root cause of workplace bullying is not necessarily a result of the culture of your workplace but the fact that the behaviour has a container to take place is. A company whose workplace culture creates the avenues for workplace bullying to grow is known to have 'workplace vulnerability' and this is greatly associated with psychological distress.

For context, when we reference 'workplace bullying' we don't mean that someone pushes you in the cafeteria to take your lunch money. However, workplace bullying, even in its subtlest forms is really trying for any human. Harvard Business Review created and shared a taxonomy of workplace bullying that organizes bullying in the workplace by its facet, features, behaviours, and outcomes. Give it a look here. What you see is that workplace bullying is idiosyncratic, complex, and a huge lift for anyone to navigate - at any level. The archetypes of bullying range from subtle isolation and ignoring to gaslighting and placing blame, or, even, screaming - eek.

94% of issues in the workplace are systemic. Read that again.

So, if you're feeling like you're experiencing workplace bullying you can only go so far to deal with it alone. Whether it's 'the schemer', 'the screamer', 'a gatekeeper',  'downward bullying', 'upward bullying', or anything in-between a holistic approach to upholding organizational justice and a psychologically healthy workplace is the true solution and that doesn't always start with you, but you can (try to) support a movement toward it.

In the meantime, three very simple recommendations from The Muse on how to personally deal with a workplace 'bully' are:

1. Speak-up early on
2. Document it 
3. Take care of yourself outside of work
4. Research 
5. Address the issues head-on
6. Talk to HR
7. Move on

You can only control what is within your control, right? Hang in there!

To quote Simon Sinek, "A culture is strong when people work together for each other. A culture is weak when people work against each other, for themselves."