Sat. Oct 31st, 2020

Dealing with workplace bullies The New Times Rwanda

Dealing with workplace bullies The New Times Rwanda

Everyone is entitled to a safe working environment—one that enables them to relate with other employees freely without feeling intimidated or oppressed.

Workplace bullying can be defined as repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others in the workplace, or in the course of employment. This could be regarded as undermining the individual’s rights to dignity and could mentally hurt them or make them feel isolated in their places of work.

Such behaviour may include being shouted at or the target of spontaneous rage, humiliated in front of colleagues, their views and opinions being ignored, blamed for problems caused by others, given unreasonable or impossible deadlines or unmanageable workloads, regularly threatened with losing the job, unfairly passed over for promotion or denied training opportunities, and so forth.

The problem

“From a leadership point of view, bullying is a defence mechanism for low self-esteem and incompetent leadership whose insecurities make them see others as threats to their positions because they lead out of position, exercise entitlement at the expense of other people’s emotional and sometimes physical wellbeing,” says Justine Racheal, a Kigali-based business leadership coach and the CEO of Mentor Africa.

She notes that one of the ways to control bullying is; trying not to get emotional as bullies take pleasure in emotionally manipulating their victims. Think about how you currently react to difficult people and those challenging situations.

The business leadership coach adds that once one is being bullied, they should tell the bully that their behaviour is inappropriate and it should stop.

She points out that this can be very difficult if the perpetrator is one’s boss. It can be hard to stand up to workplace bullying because the person bullying you can make you feel and believe that “you’re overreacting”, “you’re over sensitive” and then you’re actually afraid to stand up for yourself. It’s all a dominance game.

Racheal recommends evaluating the situation objectively to see if it is bullying, and employees should know their rights as it is important to realise every employer has a responsibility to provide a safe work environment. Be aware of workplace bullying policy – from this policy they should refer to the reporting process and follow their workplace procedure to report bullying.

It’s also imperative to document the situation thoroughly, note everything down about who said what including the dates and times, list any witnesses — what actions were taken and how the bullied person responded. It can be time consuming writing it all down but it is a necessity, Racheal says.

Alternatively, the bullied person can talk with someone they trust, but not ignore what has happened or is happening, and maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle outside of work to cope with the madness at work. For instance; exercise, a good night’s sleep and a healthy diet.

Racheal also notes that when push comes to shove, and the situation doesn’t change, one could consider leaving the job as a way to remain emotionally stable.

Published at Tue, 22 Sep 2020 16:14:00 +0000

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