Workplace bullying is as real as in school playgrounds

Dr Gillian Mooney, Teaching and Learning Manager at The Independent Institute of Education says workplace bullying is the consistent and repeated mistreatment of one employee by another.

She says even though South Africa doesn't have the numbers on office bullying, international estimates suggest that at least 1 in 6 people will at some stage fall victim to an office bully.

She says workplace bullying takes a huge toll not only on the person on the receiving end, but also on teams, divisions and even the company as a whole.

Mooney says workplace bullying affects the target both mentally and physically, and will almost certainly impact on motivation and productivity.

Psychologically, bullying causes heightened stress levels and often leads to depression, breakdowns, poor concentration, compromised memory, insecurity, irritability, and even post-traumatic stress syndrome.

A workplace bully may make unreasonable demands, use techniques such as verbal abuse which includes cursing, shouting, gossiping and constant undermining of the target, or tactics such as intimidation, degradation, isolation and humiliation.

Dr Gillian Mooney, Teaching and Learning Manager at The Independent Institute of Education

It is in the best interests of a company to make it clear from the start that bullying will not be tolerated.

Dr Gillian Mooney, Teaching and Learning Manager at The Independent Institute of Education

Here are some tips on combating bullying in the workplace:

Ask for help from a colleague who has been with the company for a long time, who may have greater insight into the company’s policies, procedures and any precedent.

Keep a log of all incidents, including dates, times and context. Then approach your direct manager or HR department with your concerns and evidence.

Get counselling.

Employers should ensure that all complaints are made in writing, which ultimately protects the rights of all parties.

Don’t blame yourself. Acknowledge that this is not about you; it’s about the bully.

Listen to the rest of the interview in the clip below:


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