Speaking up about Workplace Bullying


crowd rejecting personI was working with someone who was being mobbed . One of the things that he really found helpful was to do some internet research. He found out he wasn’t the only one, how he was feeling was common, discovered some strategies, and appreciated reading about different forms of workplace bullying because it helped him name the injustices he was experiencing.

Last night I was at a BBQ and talked with someone who had had to fire someone who had been bullying co-workers for 40 years. 40 years!!! People were terrified of him and didn’t feel safe enough–emotionally or physically–to speak up.

Who gets bullied?

Typically I don’t like to categorize people because I think it can be limiting, pervasive and can be oppressive, despite the helping profession’s attempt to be helpful.

People who are bullied in the workplace, however, seem to be described according to their strengths. What a nice change!! People who have been targeted are described as the most skilled person in the workplace, independent, ethical, honest, non-confrontative, cooperative, and a high achiever. Does that seem to fit for you?

Why don’t people speak up?

We’re adults now, right? Is it possible that people who are being targeted are told overtly or covertly to suck it up, that they’re acting like babies, or that somehow their behaviour has invited the attacks?

Do you have any experiences with being bullied at work?

How did you respond? What helped you to move past it? Did you address it directly with the person, with your employer, did you change jobs, or did you do something else?

Speaking up…

What do you think encourages people to speak up? If we witness bullying or unfair treatment, do we have any responsibility to say something? If you are or were being bullied, what might you do to try to make things better?

The No Bully for Me website suggests several things people might consider doing to take a stand. These include talking directing with the person doing the bullying, being firm with your convictions, finding support through the web or professionally, checking company policies around workplace bullying, and “fighting the good fight and then moving on.”

What do you think? What’s been helpful to you? What’s helped you to feel even a little bit better? What steps do you think you could take, or have you taken, to stand up? Suppose you did stand up with the person or people tormenting you, how confident are you that things would change? What will be some signs that you’ve tried your best and it’s time to do something else?

Unfortunately, workplace bullying is all too common. Fortunately, there professionals like psychologists and others who can help.

About the author:

Renée Meggs is a Registered Psychologist who works with adults and children to help them do what works, both in counselling and coaching. If you’d like to book an appointment or inquire about my services, please e-mail me at reneemeggs@focusedsolutionscounselling.com and/or go to my website at https://reneemeggs.com. I can meet with you in person, on the phone, or on-line.