- Posted July 8, 2014 by
If You Thought Bullying Ends When You Get Older, You’re Wrong
Today, a lot of attention is given to bullying epidemic. Most of us look towards playgrounds or the hallways of schools to locate both the victims and perpetrators of this bad practice. Most of us zero in on these locations because until today, we contain the idea of bullying in children; we think that bullying is inherently exclusive to children.
We are under the wrong impression that bullies outgrow their spitefulness and that victims of bullying grow stronger and more immune to their bullies. As a result, the only solution we have conjured is limited to empowering kids against bullying. The idea that bullying only occurs in children is most definitely untrue. Bullying now holds a more universal meaning as it refers to an abusive conduct that mistreats anyone. With this, we stretch its occurrence further and find similar cases where we thought we would never find any.
Bullies in the form of adults? Who would have thought? There’s an anti-bullying video that’s spreading around the web due to the powerful message it holds. Today, bullying has found its way in our workplace and workplace bullying spells a whole new set of horror for its newfound victims.
What constitutes workplace bullying?
As in the case of bullying in children, bullying at work is constituted by a bully and a bullied. Though it seems rather odd to call adults bully or bullied, bullying actually happens in the workplace and it actually involves adults. Using the initial definition, we can easily translate the occurrence of bullying from children to adult. An abusive conduct that mistreats another can be clearly seen in a child hogging up the slide in the playground or a student who plays physical pranks on a classmate. The same definition holds true for workplace bullying. Making fun of an employee for poor performance or out of sheer spite is a common occurrence in the workplace, especially in ones where strict competition hounds the parameters of vertical promotions. Power-tripping is a characteristic innate to any bully and is usually the central trait of a bully-boss. Common acts of a bully-boss may be deliberate hiding of information or ways that could make your job easier, giving out tasks or jobs that are pointless and irrelevant to your work. Any form of threat or threatening acts are considered bullying especially when they are handed out to aid the bully in getting what he or she wants in the workplace.
This seemingly normal occurrence in the workplace that we almost always attribute to seniority or hierarchy in the position is actually varying degrees of bullying. The reason why they are commonly brushed away or ignored is that in the workplace, positions of higher authority or always deemed with certain superiority and this often justifies or validates their bullying. The fact that we don’t have equal positions in the workplace makes it difficult for some to delineate when we are being bullied or not. However, we should begin with an understanding that fundamentally, we are all equal by virtue of our being human, and therefore, no person, no matter what position he is in at work, has the right to be bully or be bullied.
Solving the bully-problem at work
The first solution should be awareness. The growing practice in the workplace is that he or she who is boss gets to order people around. Not only is this set-up primeval and inefficient, it is also downright vicious. A good boss or a good worker knows that a good workplace produces good workers and therefore a bully has no place in it. To begin solving the problem, we must recognize that these acts of seniority and authority are not justified; we should know who our bullies are and when we are being bullied. For the employer, simple steps such as setting up security cameras around the office could make a big difference especially in identifying the perpetrators.
The second step is recognizing and not ignoring the fact that bullying happens. It’s one thing to notice it, it’s another to actually take note of it. Don’t let instances of bullying in the workplace pass without letting the people involved know what they are doing. Chances are, bullies have no idea that they are actually bullying their co-worker.
And lastly, take action. Don’t let it happen to you or to anyone. If you are being bullied, do something about it. Though we don’t want to blame the victim, but usually, people who are bullied allow themselves to be bullied by not standing up for themselves. If you won’t take action for yourself, who will? If it’s happening to someone around you, do something. Don’t stand and watch while your boss calls your co-workers names. In the end, it will always boil down to our decision to actually do something to end bullying at work. Workplace, just like school, should not be a place you should be scared of
Probably the biggest reason why we never thought bullying could happen in adults is that we know that adults know or should know better. And adults do know better, so we shouldn’t let these things happen. More than preventing people from being bullied, we should also prevent people from being bullies. Create checks at the workplace to ensure that no one gets to be too bossy or pushy. Let’s be adults and treat everyone like adults as well.