Bullying In The Workplace? Just Grow Up
In a perfect world, everyone should be able to act like adults. You shouldn’t have to go to work wondering which one of your co-workers is going to take a jab at you, but unfortunately we live in a world where one of the worst places to be in the world is at work. Just how long can a person thrive and work effectively before exploding in response to workplace bullying and aggression? That answer depends on the individual. Hostile work environments are can make an individual develop negative attitudes toward others and a few symptoms of depression, especially if you are the victim. After several months of bullying, some people will find themselves person will start to develop symptoms such as anger, bitterness, sadness, and hopelessness.
What Work-Place Bullying Feels Like
You may feel angry because you are not able to respond to the way you want to towards the other person. You may feel bitter because you may start to think that it is you against the world, and bitterness and anger will eventually cloud your judgment. Over time, you may start to think that everyone is your enemy, even the people who are your allies. Afterwards, you may feel sad and hopeless - Sad because you feel like you are not a part of the group in the office, and it is natural for humans to be a part of the group. Hopeless, because you may believe that you need to accept poor treatment by others in order to secure your paycheck. No matter where you go, there may always be someone or a group of people who will try to steal your joy. Always protect your paycheck, by all means necessary. However, sometimes it is best to stand alone and be an example.
The question that you need to ask yourself is how to deal with these emotions without attracting negative attention to yourself. Reacting negatively towards foolish behavior will only make your supervisor think that you are part of the problem. You would think that people will stop bullying one another after a certain age, but that rule doesn’t actually exist. Furthermore, it’s worse for minorities. Why does worklplace bullying happen to minorities? Many of your co-workers will think that you only got the job because you of affirmative action. Some people will think that you aren’t qualified for the position. Prove them wrong. These are some of the common reasons why people will bully you on the job. But they will be surprised when you prove them wrong. Yet, the feeling of why you are there doesn’t go away. If you are working in that type of environment, think of it as a test.
Can You Handle The Challenge?
If you can’t professionally deal with foolish co-workers in one office, than you can’t deal with the same situation at a different office. After working for professional environments for several years, I had to learn how be professionally proactive, and I had to learn not to let small issues effect my work performance. You are in control of your emotions. Stop and think before you react. How you respond to a situation or a comment from your co-worker depends on you. Your co-workers will purposely say things to you in order to get a bad reaction from you. My best advice is to respond intelligently, respectively, and professionally even if you want to act unprofessionally.
Do Not Respond To Attacks
Learn to just walk away. Sometimes not responding can make unprofessional co-workers think twice about approaching you with negativity. Misery loves company. People let bad things in their personal affect their work and relationships with their co-workers. Furthermore, your co-workers may be depressed and want to make other people depressed. Sometimes the way that your co-workers deal with their personal problems is to try to make you feel miserable. This is bullying, plain and simple. The one thing that I have noticed while working for professional organizations is that there are always too many hens and not enough roosters. In other words, too many women in the workplace. As a woman, it is sad to say this about our people, but women can be caddy, because they can sometimes feel that they are in competition with one another. We also seem to compete for the attention of the few men in the office. Yes - It's elementary school all over again, but actually, it has alot to do with our biology. Other women are especially intimidated by other women who can work well with other men without flirting. Most women think that a man will only listen to them if they sound needy and helpless.
So, how do I cope in office full of bullies? I listen to music that motivates me, read my Bible, and stay professional. Your consistent professional behavior will always make them look like a fool and your co-workers will be the problem and not you.
- Heather Browning, MBA, BA
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