There is a big difference between school yard bullying and bullying in the workplace. In the school yard, the target for a bully is often the “loner”, the “weakling” or the one who is “different”. The workplace is a different world. In the workplace, you can sometimes be a target because you pose a threat to the bully. Targets can be more technically skilled than the bully, better liked than the bully, have more social skills than the bully and possess a higher emotional intelligence. In other words, they can be some of your best employees.
72% of bullies in the workplace are bosses, while some are co-workers, and a small minority are employees who bully those in supervisory or managerial roles. Bullies are often insecure, can’t stand to share credit or recognition with anyone, and will often stop at nothing to steal credit away from their more skilled colleagues.
The targets of bullies usually don’t respond to aggression with aggression because they are generally above this type of behaviour and are non-confrontational in nature. However, the cost of not playing at their level is that the bully can act with impunity, if there isn’t a company anti-bullying and/or harassment policy in place.
With the changing attitude of today’s workers towards company loyalty and employee rights, a company without an anti-bullying and/or harassment policy in place runs the risk of losing their top performing workers, leaving themselves with a staff of unproductive, insecure bullies.
The benefits of having an anti-bullying and/or harassment policy at work include:
- More peaceful and productive workforce
- Better decision making
- Less time lost to sick leave
- Higher staff retention
- Lower risk of legal action
If you are an employer worried about your anti-bullying or harassment policies, or if you just need to speak to someone in confidence about bullying, please don’t hesitate to contact us.