Continued from page 1
Bullying behavior can range from subtle to more obvious behaviors. Here are some I’ve uncovered during investigative process: name calling, innuendos, insults, offensive language, racial and sexual jokes, yelling and screaming, inappropriate comments about an individual’s dress, life style, medical condition or general appearances, picking on family members, slander and belittling criticism, intentional isolation of an employee by supervisor from normal interaction, training and career enhancement opportunities, overwork, unnecessary pressures, establishing impossible deadlines, making person feel in adequate by reducing workload, creating a feeling of uselessness and even hopelessness, undermines work performance or effort, deliberately denying essential work-related information and data or even giving incorrect information, unexplained job changes, meaningless assignments or tasks beyond your skill level or ability, failure to give adequate acknowledgement or to recognize when due, tampering with your work products, reports, tools and equipment, teasing or regularly making you brunt of pranks and practical jokes, intentional/unreasonable delays in processing requests for leave or vacation, requests for assignments, training or resolution of pay issues are but a few “root cause” or “contributing factors” which lead otherwise innocent victims to assault or threaten another in response to Bullying (harassment, intimidation and abuse) Tactic.
THE EFFECTS OF BULLING ON THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE BUSINESS…
Managing workplace environment is an ongoing process, which goes beyond production and services responsibility of supervisors and managers. I found that supervisors who failed to control hostile behavior contributed to safety hazards, increased injury compensation claims, lost workdays due to increased absenteeism, poor morale and potential civil actions against business and individual for creating a hostile environment.
On other hand, I found that victim employee including supervisors suffer from increased stress levels, anxiety and panic attacks, complaints of loss of sleep, bad health, impaired ability to make decisions, an incapacity to work, loss of confidence and self-esteem, reduced production, performance and efficiency, become accident prone and creates unsafe conditions as a result. In many cases employee lost self-confidence and ability to cope in workplace. Proper assessment and intervention is necessary if employees are to believe they will not become victims.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT THE BULLY?
- Document activity when it happens if you are not willing to report or confront individual at this point. - Keep a record of details of type of activity and any potential witnesses for future reference. - Report behaviors to management at some point. - Confront Bully. Tell him/her you resent and object to behavior. - Ask Bully to stop or you will report him. - If you feel uncomfortable initiating contact go to your shop steward, supervisor or some other intermediary. - Never internalize behavior otherwise festering will occur causing you to retaliate in frustration or even worst, become ill as a result.
WHAT CAN MANAGEMENT DO TO HELP?
- If you don’t have a Workplace Violence Crime Prevention Policy start working on one as soon as possible. - If you have a Workplace Violence Crime Prevention Policy insure it addresses Bullying Tactics and Bully. - Your policy should contain a caution statement on what Bullying behavior is. - Employees should receive periodic Workplace Violence Prevention Awareness Training. - Supervisors should be trained in issues relating to managing workplace environment and conflict resolution. - Employees should be encouraged to report all incidents without attribution or retaliation. - Employees should be encouraged to pursue alternative means shop steward/intermediary) to confront Bully. - Provide for conflict mediation and intervention by EAP and/or Security Director. - Conduct comprehensive Threat Assessments of each situation to prevent further escalation. - Institute progressive disciplinary procedures to address repeat or ongoing Bully. - Create an environment where such behavior is not tolerated and will not be condoned.
When in doubt pick up phone and call an expert or visit his website at www.naterassociates.com.
President of Nater Associates as security management consulting firm specialzing in workplace security & workplace violence prevention. Felix retired as a postal inspector with 30 years experience.