Let’s get this out of the way first. Bullying is not acceptable anywhere. Whether in the school playground, the classroom, or in an online environment, the physical and emotional badgering of anyone should be called out and immediately condemned. As we get older, however, sometimes it may feel like the classroom hasn’t been escaped completely.
Unfortunately, many work environments could be the grounds for more subtle forms of bullying by employees and employers. Here are six signs of workplace bullying that require a further investigation:
1. Ignoring and Isolating
Some of the most common forms of bullying that occur at the workplace are indirectly perpetrated. If an employee or an employer deliberately starts ignoring or avoiding you for no apparent reason, this can be considered as one of those forms.
In addition, if you are purposely excluded from team meetings or even from a simple discussion by the water cooler between colleagues, you’ll know something is wrong. This can be a serious detriment on your mental and emotional wellbeing. If these signs of workplace bullying persist, bring it to an employer or supervisor’s attention when you are ready.
2. Blatant Patronizing
If one of your colleagues or employers are constantly belittling you in the most delicate of ways, you are being bullied. This could manifest in more than a few ways. An employer might immediately diminish your views on specific company objectives without any justifiable reason. Or, they will constantly try to make you feel undervalued during your tenure at the company.
If you find yourself doing only menial tasks for long stretches of time in spite of what you were hired to do, then this can also be considered bullying. These signs of workplace bullying do not always have to be overt. Some professionals will treat you poorly through very covert undertones.
3. Creating Hostility Amongst The Team
If a person in a position of power seeks to make a lesson out of you, they might go out of their way to invoke conflict with everyone. This is bullying in the most hostile of senses. The perpetrator could purposefully cause hostility within groups of employees or foster a poor work environment in general. The latter could eventually develop into something much worse, where colleagues may find themselves being backstabbed by other members of the team.
Also, an employer may even use nepotism to sustain this hostility. They may publically rank certain employees over others, which is an abuse of power at its finest. Seek out third-party agencies if you feel a complaint is in need of filing.
4. Projecting Blame
A classic case of bullying, where the wrongdoer seeks to blame others for their own mistakes or shortcomings. Sadly, this is all too common within the workplace. A supervisor or person in a managerial role may seek to use someone they perceive as weaker than themselves as a scapegoat. This involves constant belittling of their performances and unjust amounts of criticism that is anything but constructive.
In addition, an abusive employer may even seek to take credit for all that is going right within the company. These signs of workplace bullying are demonstrative of a person who values only themselves and their power; a blatant showcase of bullying through and through.
5. Deceiving Employees
Similar to deliberately ignoring and isolating particular employees for no justifiable reason, deception magnifies that issue. When the perpetrator seeks to purposefully lie to their cohorts, or withhold relevant information from them, this can be identified as a form of workplace bullying. It is only made worse when the bullied employee is potentially given incorrect or misleading information.
This could not only hurt the employee’s standing within the company, but could lead to an unjust termination as well. Some perpetrators use deception as a bullying tactic even at the risk of damaging the company’s reputation. It should be called out immediately but approached with caution. Employers may need to conduct workplace investigations in order to assess the situation more comprehensively.
6. Manipulation or Exploitation
A form of workplace bullying that could potentially become much more sinister if not handled immediately. Employers in positions of power may seek to block a staffer from advancing to a promoted line of work. For example, they may falsely promise an advanced position under the pretense of working hard, only to shift or reduce their responsibilities in the end.
This could also turn into a form of exploitation such as sexual misconduct. It is all too common to hear about stories of individuals in positions of power preying on their workers in an abusive manner. If you ever feel that you being put into an exploitative position by your boss, it is vital to call them out for it. Help will always be there for you.
Bullying has sadly become intertwined with human development. Kids and adolescents may experience various physical or verbal incidents with harassment, while adults feel the subtle undertones of emotional abuse at the workplace. Regarding the latter, it is vital that you seek help when needing to confront the issue of bullying. You never have to go at it alone and you’ll feel much more empowered confronting and defeating it with a strong support system behind you.