Bullying Prevention Is Important and Not Just for Students
Today, October 2nd, is Blue Shirt Day® World Day of Bullying Prevention™ which focuses on bringing awareness to the impact that bullying and cyberbullying has on students and adults of all ages. Although teaching students how to be good digital citizens and to be kind online is incredibly important, educators need to practice what they teach first.
After working in human resources for 39 years, I’ve helped with a variety of workplace conflicts, and I have seen firsthand the impact that workplace bullying can have on company morale and culture. Let’s face it: we all find some individuals easier to work with than others, and nothing requires us to “like” all the other people employed by our company or fellow teachers in school. But, we should not have to deal with unwanted behavior that makes us feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated, or offended whether it is face-to-face, by phone, email, or online.
A 2017 Workplace Bullying Institute survey states 19% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work. This statistic is even higher in education, where one in three teachers claim they have been bullied at work.
Here are some helpful suggestions if you are being bullied in the workplace:
Protect Your Mental and Physical Health
Recognize what you can control and what you cannot. In other words, you cannot control what a bully says or does, but you can control your response. Seek professional help, if needed.
Be direct about what you do not like about their behavior and let them know that if they continue you will report them. It’s possible the person is unaware that what they’re doing is upsetting you and will apologize and back off.
Document Your Experience
Start writing down what happened, include dates, times, locations, and witnesses. Stick to the facts and provide detailed, specific behavior. Give an explanation of what started it and your recommendations for how it would be better handled the next time.
Know the Policies
Although it’s not necessarily illegal to bully at work, many companies and organizations have a zero-tolerance policy. Understand your workplace’s policies and how they will handle the situation.
Report and Resolve
This is easier said than done, and it’s best to keep the emotion out of the equation. Be as objective as you can in recounting your experiences to Human Resources, or your supervisor, and share your documented proof. Ask for a resolution to the issue.
To prevent bullying from happening in the workplace, foster a team atmosphere and encourage people to work together and support one another. Show respect for others. Squash any attempts to gossip, spread rumors, or to talk poorly about other coworkers or administrators. Bullying will only thrive where it is allowed to grow.
In support of Blue Shirt Day® World Day of Bullying Prevention™ Learning.com joins hundreds of educational organizations by pledging to #BeKindOnline. We also made a video with five cyberbullying prevention tips, and we are providing free online safety lesson plans for teachers and parents to use with their students.