As we blog and raise awareness to the topic of Human Rights across the worldwide web for Blog Action Day 2013, one threat to the mental health, safety, and to the basic human rights is the rise of workplace bullying. It seems ironic that in a time where social networking, community building and crowdsourcing are on the rise, such an anti-social behavior could be gaining more momentum than ever before.
Who would have thought that the once established ruthless cliques that ran with regularity on playgrounds in elementary schools have now transcended to the streets of Corporate America with a vengeance. This unfortunate “mean girls” atmosphere leads to a decrease in productivity. Bullying behavior in the workplace makes victims of not only those that have been bullied, but the organization as a whole. The atmosphere and culture within an organization that does not address bullying becomes one of fear and instability, rather than an environment of creativity and productivity. You can learn more about the disintegration of a corporate culture in the hands of bullies by watching this TedTalk from Clive Boddy at Hanze University, “Bullying and Corporate Psycopaths at Work”. See below for this talk.
Workplace bullying is no secret, just take a look at Amazon’s book listings, or Google “workplace bullying” and you will see a sizeable listing of titles, articles and videos on this topic. There can be no question that this detrimental behavior is a serious problem. Dr. Gary Namie of the Bullying Institute outlines the Four Types of Bullies in this video. This is a good resource on the topic and worth the 7:44 watch.
If you find yourself a target of bullying in the workforce what can you do? Empower yourself by educating yourself. Learn about the topic and understand you are not the cause of it . Realize you do have the right to a healthy and active work environment, even if that means you need to seek that somewhere else.
One resource that can be helpful to you is The Top 25 Workplace Bullying Tactics from the WBI 2003 Abusive Workplaces Survey. It will help you put a name to this aggression which is Step 1 in the 3 Step Personal Action Plan.
Next you will want to take measures to protect yourself. Take note that it is not uncommon to find that coworkers will not come to your aid for fear of retaliation by the organization or the bullies themselves. This article details the Workplace Bullying Institute’s 3-Step Personal Action Plan which is a great resource to help you make healthy progressive steps toward eliminating this dysfunction from your life.
In the end if you find that you need to seek other employment due to bullying, do not internalize this as a failure on your part. Some situations can become so extreme, especially when they lack the support of other work channels, that you may find your day to day environment becomes unhealthy and starts to affect you in negative ways. The most important thing for you to do is to protect your health and safety.
Are you afraid to take that last step if necessary? Watch this TedX Talk from Paul Wood, “What’s Your Prison?” for some life inspiration. While the bullying is not your fault, you do not have to trap yourself in your own personal prison by remaining in a negative situation. Paul outlines his 5 personal freedoms in his TedX Talk which I have summarized below.
The 5 Steps to Freedom
- Recognize that we are born free
- Choosing to break out of our prisons
- Make the Escape
- Fight for your freedom
- Continue Living Free- It's a journey and a commitment
Do any of these resonate with you?
Finally, a call to action on Blog Action Day 2013. Learn about the Healthy Workplace Bill and what you can do to get involved.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King, Jr.