STOP Workplace Bullying

Posted by on Feb 26, 2012 in bullying, cyberbullying, Discrimination

STOP!  workplace bullying STOP!  workplace bullying STOP!  workplace bullying We might have thought bullying was one of those things we endure  as kids, but it is no coincidence that during a recession and season of budgets cuts, bullying has taken a serious foothold in schools and in the workplace.  Stressful situations breed workplace bullying as it triggers insecurity and the need to have absolute control in these stressful environments.  Ironically, the last thing a stressful situation needs is a bully who brings more stress to the environment. Workplace bullying brings emotional and psychological attacks to staff who then spend time fending off the threat, instead of time focusing on being productive.  Why then don’t organizations crack down on workplace bullying if it is so destructive? 1. Workplace bullies are often the boss, welding control, even threatening targets with demotion or job loss if they don’t comply with unreasonable demands. 2. Organizations often protect their management- the workplace bully-, even when management is wrong, therefore targets subordinates quietly suffer and plan an escape instead of addressing the problem. 3. Staff often makes excuses and won’t address the workplace bully: there is not enough time, or not enough energy to address the toxic personality. Patricia Berkly LLC offers some organizational solutions to help everyone maintain a healthy work environment and stop workplace bullying.  The time spent to put protective measures in place will help to maintain quality and productive employees. 1.   Establish a culture of zero tolerance with strong anti- workplace bullying policies.  Be clear about what behavior is acceptable and the steps the organization will take to protect itself from a workplace bully. 2.   Follow that policy.  Too often organizations craft wonderful policies, yet fail to follow them, or apply them inconsistently.  This allows workplace bullying to flourish. 3.   Offer regular and consistent training to address workplace bullying.  With natural attrition, any staff needs training.  Such training will also empower staff as a whole to address workplace bullying as the grassroots level. 4.   Establish information interviews with staff as a standard operating procedure to stamp out workplace bullying.  In addition to other aspects of the operation which need attention, this standard procedure could also uncover incivility in your workplace. Protecting your organization from workplace bullying is everyone’s...

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Emotional Stress and Bullying

Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in bullying, cyberbullying, sexual harassment, Uncategorized

Emotional stress and bullying Emotional stress and bullying Emotional stress and bullying   Several people have experienced firsthand the emotional stress of being bullied.  As Namie and Namie report (2009) bullying happens to about 37% of the workforce.  Yelling, insults and a constant barrage of disrespect can make any one feel overwhelmed with stress.    Medical studies show that constant emotional stress can clinically be bad for your health. Dr. Ilan Wittstein of Johns Hopkins  University confirms that emotional stress can indeed release stress hormones to the heart and lead to symptoms that mimic a heart attack. The condition is called ‘broken heart’ syndrome.  The body is designed to have a fight or flight response under stress.  However at work, fighting is not the appropriate option, neither is flight (or walking off the job).  Therefore, the target of bullying is trapped, with stress hormones potentially pouring into his or her system, literally causes heart problems.  Other systems of stress include weight swings, moods swings, hair loss and restless sleep.   What can someone do? 1. First and foremost, strive to protect your health.  If you are feeling stress symptoms, seek medical help and have the doctor clearly document what is causing the stress. 2. Read the HR manual.  Many organizations have anti bullying policies along with the anti-harassment and anti-retaliation polices. 3. Seek support from friends and family.  Often targets become overwhelmed with the stress and isolate themselves.  Support from friends and family can help the target think clearly about healthy next steps. 4. Keep a journal.  Documenting the times and places of the bullying can create a record your performance slips under the stress of a...

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The Bully in the Ivory Tower

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in bullying, cyberbullying, sexual harassment

The Bully  in the Ivory Tower The Bully  in the Ivory Tower The Bully  in the Ivory Tower   Bullying was once labeled as the childhood rite of passage; something we endure on the playground. However, it has transcended from the playground to the work ground. Bullying on the work ground is pervasive, escalating hostility and berating behavior that is exhibited in mistreatment on the job. The bully on the work grounds can make any organization a toxic workplace environment.  Bullying is similar to harassment, making the subject the target of escalating, demeaning and damaging behavior.  However, harassment is when the target is from a protected class (facing discrimination because of gender, race, religious, national origin or disability); bullying, on the other hand is a class free assault on the target.  The former is illegal under the Title VII Civil Rights laws; the latter, bullying, is still legal in the United States. In the last five years, studies have been conducted which reflect on workplace bullying.  Namie & Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute studied 7,740 adults nationally in 2007 and reported that 37% of American workers have faced bullying on the job.  Women are more likely to be the target of bullying and female targets tend to quit the job 45% of the time.  Further, when employers are made aware of the bullying, 62% of the time, the situation escalates for the target or nothing happens (Namie & Namie 2009).  Disengagement and turnover caused by bullying costs American corporations over $64 billion (yes with a B) a year. Further, there are several studies which reveal bullying characteristics in our secondary schools.  Of late, tragic stories have come forward of students who have reached out for help to stem bullying at school.  Students who emerge from an alternative life style, are overweight, or from different religions tend to be the targets of school yard bullying. Some children have lost hope and tragically taken their own lives for relief.  The response has been to pass particularly stringent anti- bullying laws in education, with New Jersey having the toughest anti- bullying laws in the country. This discussion, however, whether workplace bullying, or school yard bullying, misses the application to higher education.  The Ivory Tower is supposed to emerge from intellect and enlightenment, showing the way to the American dream through education.  However, if the higher education sector is a subset of American culture, it would seem the shadows of bullying would fall even here.  Consequently, the structure of higher education is dissimilar from corporate structures given the tenure track system, the reliance of scholarship, and reason which philosophically might not be tied to quarterly balance sheets. Subsequently, bullying would manifest in ways yet examined by previous studies.  The result of a disengaged higher education staff, or faculty could have a direct impact on the academy’s function of enrollment, scholarship, advancement and...

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Cyberbullying at work

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in bullying, cyberbullying, sexual harassment

 Cyberbullying at work Cyberbullying at work Cyberbullying at work     Is your networking naughty or nice?  Cyberbullying at work…   Businesses and all organizations are moving literally at the speed of light. Through the constant access with blackberries, smart phones and notebooks, we can communicate strategies and objectives on the fly and respond in seconds to threats or opportunities.  While we are LINKEDin, tweeting friends, and liking our space, the information we offer has an immediate impact on business, positive or negative. Many small businesses are relying on that cyber shingle to attract potential clients to their websites.  The power of SEO, and social networking minimizes costs for the small business owner, and enables any organization to reach 100s of thousands of people from a desk top.  In addition to services, the power of cyber network allows for virtual and distance learning training opportunities and virtual meetings which eliminate costly travel time. These networking tools were meant for good not evil; yet when malice enters the equation, cyber networking capabilities turn into a virtual nightmare for the target.  The power of the internet has been used to manipulate and harass employees.   By definition found in the Megan Meier Cyber bullying Prevention Act;   Cyber bullying is when someone   “transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”  While the term cyber bullying in many circles is applied to children and adolescents, bullying in any form in the workplace is destructive and costly to the organization.  Some estimates reveal that the bullying costs organization over $64 BILLION a year. In the workplace, bullying online or cyber bullying includes circulating inappropriate pictures of the target, making fun of the target or telling inappropriate jokes in email.  More subtle forms of online bullying humiliate the target regarding a work situation; berate the person for job performance, or openly and rudely questioning the target’s expertise. These messages circulated through email and workplace electronic bulletin boards use technology to create a toxic workplace. When networking technology is used to hurt the target, the results are similar to on ground bullying.  The target faces emotional distress, withdraws from workplace activities and socialization.  Cyber bullying on the job creates anxiety for the target and the others witnessing or in this case reading the bullying behavior.  When an organization fails to stop cyber bullying, they in fact permit the inappropriate use of technology and harbor behavior which jeopardizes organizational productivity. Just like any tool, networking has amazingly productive applications which can have a positive impact on the organization. However the negative application to bullying will generate costly turnover, and create a disengaged staff that spends more time...

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