Office bully: Could you be one yet you don't know?


One of the reasons for talent flight is because of the frequency of workplace bullying. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

We all go to our workplaces to earn a living plus excel in our careers. However, some workplaces do more harm than good.

One of the most prevalent occurrences in some workplaces is the inordinate amounts of toxicities. One of the reasons for talent flight is because of the frequency of workplace bullying.

Social psychologists, Gary and Ruth Namie define workplace bullying as "repeated, health-harming mistreatment, verbal abuse, or conduct which is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work or some combination of the three."

Therefore, this means that there is consistency and a power dynamic to workplace bullying. No gender is safe from bullying.

Bullying can be direct and indirect. It can manifest itself from the unpleasant usage of words to physical harm.

The consequences of bullying can be quite costly if not nipped in the bud. The bullying culture can eat the strategy of an enterprise. Some organisations have flopped because of the culture of tormenting colleagues.

Some employees lack skills in anger management and emotional intelligence, and they only express themselves through shouting. This is workplace rage.

Shouting dehumanises someone and it is an unfair labour practice. A litigious employee can equate shouting with a form of constructive dismissal.

Some people are addicted to queer levels of screaming which can be very humiliating. Remember it is targeted. They can be nice to other people but hostile to targeted persons.

One of the rationales behind SMART goals is to eschew unrealistic and preposterous targets. What if you are deliberately given unattainable goals?

Those are classic cases of intimidation. Leaders must be trained to give achievable goals and also provide resources in addition to assessing the essential competencies for the task.

There are occasions when someone can be blamed for what they have not done. One can become a scapegoat for transgressions they have no idea about.

Remember, this is done tendentiously to negatively affect the targeted person.

There is also cold treatment by others. It means other team members ignore presentations or views or work. Cold treatment is a form of bullying.

Have you ever done work with the highest standards but at the end of the day it is consistently belittled by the same person all the time? In certain instances, the belittler recruits allies to do their dirty work.

Supposing you are 100 percent sure that you have the requisite dexterities for a position but you get bypassed for promotion with no justification? This may be an indicator of being tyrannised.

One of the best responses to workplace browbeating is learning and development. This is the creation of an awareness of what persecution looks like.

Bullying causes psychological damage to the recipient. Some people are bullies without even knowing it. Let us call them unconscious bullies.

This could be because of ignorance. There is targeted oppression because of the culture of impunity.

Employers and employees ought to have some informative and instructive reading materials that empower them.

Organisational strategists authoritatively tell us that it is important to have documented and circulated policies, procedures, and processes for tackling bullying.

Everyone in an organisation must know that there are particular consequences for bullying.

Did you know that one of the consequences of bullying is increased absenteeism? Workers can skip work because of the prevalent impunity. That is costly to the organisation and the employee.

Bullying can also contribute to employee lower morale. When there is lower morale it will negatively affect performance levels.

Gossip thrives in an environment of incessant bullying. This is counterproductive.

Where there are antagonisms there is a lot of firefighting and doing things that do not add value to workplace excellence.

Bullying can lead to poor employer branding. A bad brand will not attract and retain internal and external customers.

If you notice well-cultured organisations cannot do business with you, then it is likely that you do not have anti-bullying policies and best practices in place.

The most vital resource to an organisation is its employees. That is why talent acquisition is draining in terms of time and money. When there is talent flight, the organisation loses to competitors.

Where there is no justice and fairness, stakeholder engagement is very low.

Where there are self-esteem issues there are a lot of dysfunctional relationships. This negatively affects performance.

Undoubtedly if workplace bullying is not managed it can bring down an organisation.

Mr Magoma is an award-winning HR specialist and trainer | [email protected]

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