Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sundays with Sarah (28)

To find out more about Sarah and this feature go here.

Hi everyone, welcome to another end of the weekend and another Sundays with Sarah.

Have you ever been bullied? Do you know someone who has been? ITs not a pretty matter dealing with bullying. But we find bullying in many different places. It is most common to hear about it from kids as they deal with peer to peer relationships and for the most part its a mark of status. Seldom do we rarely see it outside of school and in the adult world we just see it as petty bickering or a release of anger.

So, What is Bullying? Bullying is a pattern of aggressive behavior meant to hurt or cause discomfort to another person. Bullies always have more power than victims. Their power comes from physical size, strength, status, and support within a peer group.

There are three types of bullying:

1. Physical: a person is harmed or their property damaged

Some examples are:
  • slapping, hitting, pinching, punching, kicking
  • locking in a confined space
  • unwelcome touching
  • extortion

2. Verbal: a person’s feelings are hurt through insults and name-calling
Some examples are:
  • name-calling
  • unwelcome teasing
  • taunting
  • spreading rumors, gossiping
  • racist or homophobic comments

3. Social: a person is shunned or excluded from groups and events.
Some examples are:
  • excluding from a group
  • threatening or insulting graffiti
  • threatening notes, letters, emails, telephone calls
  • threatening words, actions or weapons

Bullying may be obvious or hidden. people who are being bullied...or are bullying others may:
  • complain of being poorly treated
  • change their behavior (for example, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, angry outbursts, being sick in the morning, become more aggressive towards siblings)
  • be unwilling to leave the house, change their route to work or school and even how they interact
  • talk about responding to others in a way that may result in where the school or workplace is taking disciplinary action
  • start doing poorly in school or at work

But regardless of any of the above we all deal with bullying to some varying degree.

With Schoolyard bullying, The bully created terror in our hearts and controlled us by using intimidation, humiliation, verbal threats and physical attacks. The bully had groups of followers who admired the bully’s prowess. Others cowered out of fear of becoming the next victim. Cowering was commonplace since it seemed no one from the school administration was going to step up to stop the bully’s reign of terror. Sometimes the administrators thought we targets deserved it. Sometimes they too were afraid of the bully. Oftentimes they had no rules to stop the bully, or they had no stomach to enforce the rules. Possibly the administrators knew that the bully was suffering his or her own terrors, and thus were reluctant to take action because they had empathy.

As children and as targets it was difficult to empathize with the bully and understand that the bully was actually weak, terrified, and a target himself or herself. How would this comfort us? We were suffering the slings and arrows of the bully and we wanted it to stop. As adults it is difficult to empathize with the bully boss or colleague, even though many bullies suffer the same fears and terrors as their schoolyard counterparts. Yet again we are suffering the consequences of bully behavior and we want it to stop.

But, is Schoolyard Bullying the Same as Workplace Bullying?

No. Though there are surface similarities, there are specific differences between schoolyard bullying and workplace bullying that must be considered when trying to understand the problems of workplace bullying. When we think they are the same thing, we make four mistaken assumptions that prevent us from really seeing the problem clearly and taking the appropriate steps.
  •  We fail to realize the stakes are higher. Workplace bullying impacts careers and incomes, not just lunch money or bragging rights. Failing to recognize that the problem is serious stops us from thinking we need help.
  • We assume help is coming. Unfortunately, that expectation is not aligned with reality. We assume that administrators WILL respond appropriately because workplace bullying has financial consequences. As adults we are unprepared. We operate on shared mistaken assumptions about collegiality and community. In school we don’t expect our teachers or administrators to help us.
  • We trust the culture of the organization. If the organizational culture portrays itself as one of harmony but bullying behavior is allowed to persist, we become confused by the discrepancy and blame ourselves for the problem. In school we don’t think about the culture of the school. We live in the present moment and deal with the problem as best we can.
  • We pretend it’s not serious. Often, we as targets do not even recognize threatening and intimidating behavior as bullying until someone identifies it for us. This sets us up to endure the behavior far longer than we should, and after considerable damage has already been inflicted by the bully. In school we know we are suffering and we know exactly why.

Over the years I have been subjected to various forms of bullying. I was bullied in school all the time and it never ended when I became an adult. In various different places of work, I have been subjected to bullying and in almost all cases, I was fired or forced to quit. But work is just like school all over again. Like high school it's all about power, status and self-esteem, and for some that get a kick out of hurting others.

There are a variety of reasons why a person may bully another person in the workplace. These reasons may include:

A person may use their position of power or their physical dominance over those who are perceived to be weaker. The bullying is often dependent upon the perceived power of the bully over their victim.

Bullies may put down others to boost their own self-esteem and confidence to help deal with personal feelings of inadequacy.

An individual or group may become targets of workplace bullying because others perceive them as being new or different.

Perceived Threat
Some people bully others because the other person is perceived as a threat to them personally, or a threat to their position within the company.

Organizational Culture
The culture of a workplace is often shown by its values, beliefs and what is considered to be normal behavior. When the culture is positive it encourages individuals to adopt appropriate behaviors that promote respect of others. Conversely, employees may find themselves in a negative culture where inappropriate behaviors and attitudes are encouraged or condoned by management and bullying is seen as normal behavior for the majority of people in the workplace.

Impact Of Workplace Bullying

Consequences for Employers
  • The consequences of workplace bullying may include the following, bearing in mind that many of these points may be as a result of other internal or external factors:
  • Reduced efficiency, productivity and profitability;
  • Increased absenteeism, sick leave and staff turnover;
  • Poor morale, erosion of employee loyalty and commitment;
  • Increased costs associated with recruitment and training;
  • Increased workers’ compensation claims;
  • Increased indirect costs such as management time, engaging mediators or counselors;
  • Adverse publicity and poor public image;
  • An unsafe work environment and potential fines for breaches of the occupational health and safety legislation;
  • Costs resulting from failure to meet legislative provisions including civil and criminal actions;
  • Legal costs incurred defending a claim of workplace bullying;
  • Vicarious liability and other associated employer liabilities;
  • Potential increase to insurance and workers’ compensation premiums.

Workplace bullying can cause extensive health problems for employees exposed to this hazard, including physical and psychological illnesses and injuries. It can have detrimental effects and costs for the employer, as well as impacting on co-workers, clients, customers, business associates, family and friends. Bullying can disrupt work to the extent that action has to be taken to restore order and confidence. The implications are even more serious if bullied employees suffer ill health and stay away from the workplace.

The reaction of individual employees will vary according to the nature of the bullying. It is possible that employees who are bullied may experience some of the following effects:
  • Stress, anxiety or sleep disturbance;
  • Panic attacks or impaired ability to make decisions;
  • Incapacity to work, concentration problems, loss of self-confidence and self-esteem or reduced output and performance;
  • Depression or a sense of isolation;
  • Physical injury;
  • Reduced quality of home and family life;
  • Suicide.

The costs to the organization include reduced efficiency, unsafe work environment, increased absenteeism, poor morale, increased workers’ compensation claims and civil action. Therefore, it is in an organization's interest to maintain a bullying-free workplace rather than having to intervene or mediate during an established pattern of bullying.

Why Bullying Goes Unreported

It is in the best interest of employers to take action to minimize the likelihood of bullying in their workplace. Left unmanaged it can severely affect efficiency, productivity and profitability through increased absenteeism, staff turnover and poor morale. However, it needs to be recognized that sometimes employees may fear retribution from the bully or bullies if they report grievances and cooperate with inquiries.

Bullying can severely undermine an individual’s confidence and self-esteem, making it difficult to speak up, especially if bullying is perceived to be part of the workplace culture. They may fear speaking out will compromise their future opportunities and well being at work, particularly when others in the workplace are reluctant to support them.

It is important, therefore, that employers promote a clear message that bullying is unacceptable in the workplace. Employers should also ensure that all the employees are aware that the workplace has established anti-bullying procedures, know the process for the reporting and have an understanding that their reports will be dealt with in a proper manner.

Remember, even if a person does not make a complaint about workplace bullying, they may still be offended or adversely affected by the behavior and the behavior may still be unacceptable.

So that is my rant on bullying.

SO I ask that you please support and help fighting bullying by taking a stand. Stop Bullying Now

Your welcome to like a page created in the effort to stop bullying.


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