What is Bullying at Work? How to Survive a Hostile Work Environment
What is Bullying and What Role Does it Play in a Hostile Work Environment
What is bullying? According to the Google Keyword Search tool, this term is globally search 5,000,000 times. Although this doesn't answer the question, I found it quite alarming that people don't know what it is. If you don't know what it is, you may not know know when your'e getting bullied.
What is it? It is one of the most disgusting things that one person can do to another. This of course isn't a technical term, only my opinion. However, we will soon talk about what it is, and how it can make the workplace an unbearable place to be.
Hostile Work Environment
Bullying in the workplace is particularly hard on someone when they have to deal with it. This is because we have to work to survive. Working to support yourself and your family is often hard enough. When you have to deal with hostility in the workplace, it makes life that much harder.
What is Bullying? The Definition
For most of us, bullying is a term and we know what it is, but it's not always easy to put into words.
What is Bullying?: Below we will look at the definition, along with the definitions of bully, bullying, bullied, and intimidate to get the full meaning.
The meanings have been paraphrased to make them easier to understand.
- Bully - The Oxford Dictionary: Someone who uses influence or strength to intimidate or harm those who are weaker.
- Bullying - The Free Online Dictionary: The act of making a weaker person do something while using intimidation tactics.
- Bullied - The Oxford Dictionary: Use of superior influence or strength to intimidate someone, usually forcing them to do something.
- Intimidate - The Merriam Dictionary: To make someone fearful or timid so you can make them do something, or stop them from doing something.
If we tie these all together, Bullying is the act of someone using physical or mental ways to make another person feel scared so they can control their actions.
Places Where you can be Bullied
You can be bullied anywhere by anyone. Road rage is an example of bullying by a stranger, or if someone aggressively cuts in front of you in a grocery store line-up.
The main types of bullying in a hostile work environment are emotional, verbal, and physical. In the table below, has examples of different ways people bully.
What is Bullying - Different Types
Terrorizing/making them afraid
Telling someone they have no worth
Unpredictable Mood Swings
Saying someone is ineffecient
Excessive work load
Making fun of someone in public
Threats of revealing private information
Exclusion from group events
How Bullying Makes You Feel
If you think, someone is bullying you, you will know by how they make you feel. Bullying hurts, whether it's physical or not. Other emotions you will feel are:
If you're bullied, you will feel:
Not good enough
Someone increases your stress level
Not smart enough
Situations make you feel stressed out
Not good at your job
Want to cry
Bullying and the Hostile Work Environment
Now that we know about bullying, what is a hostile work environment, and how do they go together?
According to Wikipedia, the definition of a hostile work environment exists when: An employee experiences workplace harassment and fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere created by the harasser.
In other words: Someone dreads going to work because they are dealing with a bully in the workplace.
Hostile Work Environment - Different Types
How bullies Operate To Make A Hostile Work Environment:
Often management isn't as useful as they could be. This opens the door for a bullying supervisor to create a hostile atmosphere by using threats, and verbal or psychological abuse. Bullies have the security of knowing that people probably won't complain because they need their job, and if they did, management wouldn't solve the problem anyway.
Surviving a Hostile Work Environment: Inner Survival Tips
If you're a victim of a bully at your workplace, and/or work in a hostile work environment, and can't quit right now, try some of the following survival tips.
You can't change your environment, but you can change your attitude and how you look at things.
- Never blame yourself. Try to be positive and don't let yourself feel helpless.
- Only worry about things within your control. See what things you can do, to surivive or make your work enviornmnet easier to deal with, then do them.
- Focus on your strengths
- Look for something good, at least one thing. For example, the receptionist is great; the scenery outside the window is spectacular; your seat is extremely comfortable. Positive thinking always makes our view of the world better.
- Be gracious and kind to others, don't let a workplace bully or hostile work environment change how you to treat people.
This Little Book can Help - It's full of truths and I love it
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
To survive a hostile work environment you have to take care of yourself first. Your physical and mental health is what's most important. The last thing you want to do is internalize the situation, and make yourself sick.
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and It's All Small Stuff, can help you keep things in perspective. By helping you see that some irritants in life just aren't important. It will give you techniques to stay calm in stressful situations, teach the importance of choosing your battles wisely, and advice on how to deal with challenges.
It won't stop the bully or make your workplace less hostile, but it will give you the inner strength you need right now. For more information about the book and to read reviews of other readers, click the Amazon link.
Dealing With a Bully in the Workplace: Outward Survival Tips
If you're dealing with a hostile work environment because of a bully, try these tips:
- Guard your emotions. If you're easily upset or show your emotions, try to hide them. Bullies pick on people they can intimidate.
- Don't share personal information they can use against you.
- Use discretion, but stand up to them if you think it will work. When you stand up to a bully that sometimes makes them back off. However, don't be aggressive and don't do it if you think it may make the situation worse.
- Get support from someone else at work. Let them know about the bullying so they can see it for themselves. Never try to deal with this situation all by yourself.
- Talk to a supervisor, upper management, or human resources department.
- Keep track of the incidents, but don't leave it at the office or password protect it if it's on your computer. You don't want the bully to find it.
- Research your state and federal laws. Talk to a lawyer to see if there's something you can do legally about the situation.
- Decide if it's worth it, like the book Don't Sweat the Small Stuff says, you have to choose your battles wisely. If the situation is taking its toll on your health, start looking for another job.
Choose Your Battles - Is it Worth it to Stay?
When and How to Complain About a Hostile Work Environment
If you are dealing with a hostile work environment and aren't sure when and how to complain to upper management, this video by employment lawyer, John Gallagher, provides some tips on what to do.
If you've taken action against a bullying co-worker, were your actions successful?
What is Bullying and How to Survive a Hostile Work Environment
Bullying and Surviving A Hostile Work Environment
If you didn't know what bullying was, I hope that now you have a better understanding of:
- The definition of bullying
- Different types of bullying
- How you will feel if you're being bullied.
- What role bullying plays in a hostile work environment
- Different types of hostile work environments
- How to survive in a work environment full of hostility
Please feel free to share any stories on how you were bullied at work, or tips on how you have dealt with a bully and the hostile work environment, in the comment section below. We would love it if you would be so kind as to share them.