The survey respondents, 70% female and 30% male, reported that two-thirds had witnessed bullying at work. Specifically 43% had felt bullied by their manager, 38% by a colleague, and nearly 20% by senior management. In one out of three cases, the offences lasted for a year or more.
Adult bullying can take on many different forms, and affect workers of many different levels. In most situations, the survey revealed 73% of bullying was verbal, even including threats.
The effects can be fairly obvious; a decline in self-esteem, work ethic, enjoyment at work. It can also spread beyond the workplace with three-quarters admitting that it affected their family and social lives and half admitting needing to seek medical advice. It produces a toxic working environment which, unchecked, can result in low productivity and can affect a company’s profits.
It is important that managers know how to eradicate the issue and the first step is to promote a strong anti-bullying message, making it prominent in all the employees’ literature and communication. Ensure that all allegations are taken seriously and all employees know the proper procedures in order to make a formal grievance.
Suggestions also include holding bullying awareness days and provide staff with examples of behaviour that will help awareness of how their actions could be affecting those they work with.
Many practical steps can be taken to ensure that bullying attitudes can be nipped in the bud and promote a healthy environment in the workplace for all.
Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.
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