As a HR consultant, I'm no stranger to the problem of workplace bullying. As I'm currently working with a company delivering bullying and harassment training, the timing of this year's Stand Up to Bullying is especially pertinent.
They're a fantastic group of people who want to learn how to recognize and prevent bullying, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to impart some of this knowledge to a wider audience.
The Stand up to Bullying campaign is asking everyone on the 13th June to shout about how they're standing up to bullying in 5 words. These are my 5 words:
I often get asked: how do you know if you've crossed the line between 'banter' and bullying? The answer is you may not always know. What one person finds funny and inoffensive could be viewed as highly inconsiderate by the next person.
It's the impact which your words have on the recipient the receiver of your comment or actions. Recognise that what may be OK in one situation, may not be in another.
A flippant comment is one thing but bullying behavior tends to be repeated and malicious in nature. It's more a deliberate act to embarrass, intimidate or belittle. We are only human and can make a mistake. But when the same behavior is seen time and time again, it isn't just an error or judgement it's bullying.
The key to recognizing and addressing bullying is taking ownership. Ownership by the bully, the bullied, the witness, the manager and HR.
It's difficult if youre being bullied to stand up for yourself but you should never feel you have to manage this situation on your own. Seek help and speak out.
If you're the bull - there is time to change. This isn't how it has to be. Theres support for you too, if youre willing to embrace it.
If you witness bullying, or a bullying matter is brought to your attention, you have a duty to listen and provide support where you can. Don't just walk on by and ignore a cry for help.
Everyone, regardless of any perceived differences, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect at all times.
Think how you would feel if the boot was on the other foot. What if you were the person being bullied? It's the age-old adage: treat others how you wish to be treated yourself.
No-one ever fully knows what is going on in someone else's head, be it the bully or the bullied.
Take the time to support someone who is feeling bullied understand how it's making them feel and what they want to see change.
Equally, give the bully time to reflect on what's causing their behavior. Often, there's an underlying reason something which is causing them distress. Dont pre-judge any situation because you just don't know what someone has faced that morning, week or month.
If you want to make a difference support stand up to bullying there's loads you can do from a simple post or tweet to training all of your employees. Most importantly don't ignore the problem!
As always, Mint HR are here to help if you want to be proactive in upskilling your teams or have an issue to deal with.