You've seen it. You've probably been the target of it. And more of you than want to admit it are guilty of having done it. Bullying.
The Old Problem
In a hyper-connected world, it's hard to turn to any reliable news source and not find an unfortunate story of a young student who has taken drastic action as a result of being bullied by classmates. Witness the YouTube videos of school yard fights, the front page headlines of school shootings and the truly heart breaking stories of teenagers ending their own lives much too soon. It's tragic. It's horrific. It's been going on for decades, and it seems to be getting worse.
The New Problem
It is getting worse, because it's happening at work now, too.
While you may not be stuffed into a locker or have your chair pulled out from under you at your cubicle, you've most likely been witness to workplace bullying. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, workplace bullying is defined as "repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons, by one or more perpetrators in the form of verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behavior and work interference." Studies show that nearly one-third of U.S. workers are the victim of workplace bullying, and about 20 percent of those instances cross the line to clearly defined "harassment".
One of my biggest takeaways from the conversation was the notion that work is the place where people go to obtain the resources they need to live their lives, i.e. a paycheck, benefits, etc. People usually can't just walk away from a job. What a horrible proposition, then, to be forced to go to a job only to be ridiculed, taunted, and marginalized by a workplace bully. This leads not only to personal distress, but could, and often does, ultimately affect the family unit at home.
We live in a stressful world. The world of work is changing constantly and we're often pushed to meet the demands of our managers, executives and the market. It is important to remember that we're really all in this together, and that the last thing we need is added interpersonal stress.
Are you seeing bullying in your workplace? What are you doing about it? It is up to us all to help make our world a better place. Step up and "be the difference" in your own corner of the world.
In his dual role of Sales Manager/Business Development at JobsInME.com, if Jeremy Haskell isn't busy developing new business partnerships and product initiatives, he's developing sales people. Working with companies, he advises them on recruiting strategies that result in reduced turnover and increased productivity. He holds a degree in psychology from Syracuse University and previously worked as a recruiter for Robert Half International. Jeremy is the recipient of many recognition awards and has developed and facilitated the company's peer mentoring program.