workplace bullying

Management Tips: How To Deal With Reports Of Workplace Bullying

Bullying among adults very much exists and tends to be more prevalent in work settings in my experience. I’m a manager and I am responsible for my associates’ performances. When associates are unproductive or clumsy, I need to know why and what barriers they’re facing and unfortunately, cases of workplace bullying are not uncommon.

I happened to witness a trend recently where male associates would hold back their hardships faced at work meanwhile female associates would come forward about them and look for solutions. 

I had a situation the other day where an associate in line for promotion was being questioned over his competency by his peers. “He doesn’t do anything,” they claimed.

Woman explaining position to African American husband
Source: Keira Burton on Pexels

Little did they know, I had already been approached by the particular associate himself regarding these specific peers delivering the complaints. Except, he didn’t criticize them and just indicated that they were claiming his duties before he could get a chance to do them. He tried to hide it, but his uncomfortable bodily movements gave it all away. He was being bullied.

The others want to be in his position; next in line for promotion. To my understanding, they would bully him into letting them takeover his assigned duties and make him appear incompetent. I realized this weeks late because of not being informed earlier.

Another instance, I had a male associate who refused to do his assigned task due to experiences of slight pain which was atypical of him. Only after I questioned and probed him did I figure out that he had been threatened by another associate to not do the task so that I would ask the other associate to do it instead. Again, this was a promotion-related issue.

Overwhelmed black man discussing problem with female psychologist
Source: Alex Green on Pexels

On the other hand, whenever a female went through something unethical, they would inform me right away, failing to miss a detail. Perhaps this is due to our societal views where a male is considered weak if he cannot fight his own battles. However, in my humble opinion, societal views are flawed and I wish they didn’t impact people as much as they do. If men need and can get help, they should. Getting help should never be ridiculed, especially since problems could be solved much sooner.

My solution to resolve workplace bullying:

1. I first thank victims for opening up to me.

2. Then, I reassure them that I will be taking care of the situation so that a positive environment is maintained.

3. I end the conversation off with the agreement that they must inform me of any future threats as I will ensure the bullies face serious consequences which I have the authority to do. 

Keep note, people lie more often than necessary. It is always important to hear both sides of a story before making a judgement call and taking any kinds of action. The workplace bullying cases presented to me were obvious in the sense that I can easily tell from the aggressive and defensive behaviour of the bullies that they did in fact, bully their peers. I also was very well aware of their intentions as them getting their way with the bullying would help lead them to promotional opportunities.

It is good for associates to be interested in promotion, but that should never give reason to treat fellow associates poorly. A leader helps everyone progress around them and that should be understood by everyone in the team. 

Photo Of People Touching Each Other's Hands
Source: Fauxels on Pexels

I hope you are convinced to report workplace bullying and get help when you part from this blog if you are a victim. You are worthy of respect and do not need to tolerate any kind of bullying in a professional setting.  

However, results of no more bullying after reporting does depend on whether your manager cares about ethical practices or not. If they do not, I suggest either 1) enlightening them that prolonged workplace bullying often results with an overall decline in team performance or 2) job hunting again. Business culture matters and if you are not being treated with respect and unable to make any change in your position, working at that place is not worth it. 

Thank you for reading!

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