Bully: Are You also One of Them?

A new rumour started about Meenakshi, in the organisation that she was dating her immediate boss, Pawan and his colleagues regularly made fun of him because he was a little introvert and did not talk much with anyone. Avantika’s boss kept insulting her in front of all the staff members and gave her deadlines that none of the team members got, just because she dared to ask a question in a meeting.

Are you also a Meenakshi, Pawan or an Avantika in your organization??

If you are, then this article is especially for you and for people going through WORKPLACE BULLYING.

Yes, harassment has other names, though workplace bullying is not that serious as harassment but it can surely take the same color and pace if not stopped at the right time, and who can stop it? Its only you or your HR department.

What is workplace bullying? As per Wikipedia it is the tendency of individuals or groups to use persistent aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a co-worker or subordinate.

Workplace bullying can harm you in many ways and can have negative impact on your mental and physical health as well. When workplace bullying, goes wrong it becomes harassment, so make sure you stop it before it creates a problem for you and your health.

Let me give you some real life example of Workplace bullying:

  • I was heading the HR department and one of the division of HR department was Employee relations department, which is fortunately (or may be unfortunately) an all ladies department, no it was not planned that way, it was a mere coincidence. In this division both the Manager and the Assistant Manager were bullying one of the Executives. All the work was done by the Executive and with some minor changes the same was passed on to me, she was asked to bring cold drinks, and other eatables from canteen for both of them, she was given mostly night duties, she used to create some very attractive ppts and specially the AM used to paste her name on them. This was going on since the past 2 years and this executive looked very insecure. When I joined I started talking to each one of them individually just to take their opinion on the department. I was told by my assistant about this bullying…and we started following it up and because the things had not been reported to me directly, I asked my assistant to help the executive fight it out by saying NO for certain things. After much encouragement finally the executive started saying ‘No’ by giving some or the other reason. Initially they both got shocked but slowly they understood.
  • Another incident happened with a New Joinee who was very cheerful, in the recruitment department, as she was a fresher and everyone else in the department was well trained and experienced. The girl did not know how to take an interview, so was on training under one of the Sr. Executive. The senior executive started making fun of her, the way she spoke over the phone while interviewing, the way she wore clothes, even for her hairstyle and what not. After 15 days I saw a change in her – she was not as cheerful as she looked initially. I met her in the canteen and asked for her feedback on the training, she just said “I don’t think I’m worth this job Ma’am” and next 15 days she took 4 leaves as she fell sick.

These are just two of them, but believe me I can write a whole book on this topic with just real life examples that I came across.

I really do not understand what makes people happy to bully or get bullied, yes the fault is of both of them, unless you won’t utter a word against bullying, people will keep on doing it. And not complaining is not the solution, sometimes it can backfire also. So the best way is to fight for your self respect and respond in a professional manner.

Prevention and Cure…

# Take up all your courage and say a polite no when you think you are being bullied. Generally bullying starts with making fun and jokes on you, so take them lightly till it does not hurt, if it does, please say no in front of all.

# Talk it out with the one who is bullying you in private, tell him/her that you did not like the insult or joke. Again be professional and very polite. With aggression things can take a different shape altogether.

# Share it with one of your colleagues or team member you trust and someone who can share it with your seniors or the HR department. Believe me it can work if the team member is worth trusting.

# Intervention by seniors or if you are being bullied by the senior then the HR department can come to your rescue. While reporting it, just make sure you have evidence and proof to support your truth.

Don’t leave your job if you are being bullied; fight it out for your own self. It surely requires a lot of courage but its worth it.

Share your examples if you have come across anything like that and how did you solve it…

Let the new comers in the organizations or people facing such problems know more about this from your experiences…

Keep sharing and keep learning…

  • Rahul

    Nice and learning article with good real time examples. I think for HRs it will also be helpful to put harassment policy in place. Though, it is said that such grievances get solved more easily through informal information and help as you have mentioned your experience, very nice. Wandering that this becomes more difficult if the person who is bullying is strong old pillar in the organization or if at times (unfortunately) HR people are not so matured or don’t exercise their power or all HRs are themselves involved in such event…I think raising own voice and standing up for self respect, what you mentioned, is the best action…. How far one can go legally is still my dilemma!!! I would like to invite responses for this.

  • Kspillai57

    I like your advise but sometimes when the HR Head also teams up with the top management to bully staff who can perform but not smart enough to impress or polish their shoes, then believe me the only way is to talk to HR Head or CEO that you do not like to push around & they might be alert or think twice before starting their nonsence.

  • Harini

    yes what you saying is absolutely true.I think every one should follow this. We should never lose our self respect in work place.By birth itself no one known everything….just think of it.

  • 3 Nehas

    Always be confident about yourselves and ready to learn and to move ahead and don’ t allow others to dominate if you are right.
    Fight for the right.

  • Dalwinder

    good topic to discuss, way of learning

  • Sanjaynarayan

    I like the article and advises but in our condition rite now the HR Manager is teams up with the top management,Corp. HR Head and people of staff and start doing the bully for a group of people.How could a staff member do that when he/she know that they might be next target.when hr manager and hr head is doing this things then who can stop them.
    No Harassment commits can do any thing.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Sanjay…Even if the HR head is also a part of harassment, the option left is to fight it out till you can and then speak to the senior management with all the evidence and proof…..Nothing is impossible if you have the will..

  • Govindrana

    The topic of bullying is very interesting and very educating too , there is very intresting story about the Iraninan poet khalil Gibran-
    one day he was passing through the field and he saw scare crow bird scarer clad in old clothes and thought of talking to this entity as he seems to working very hard and doesnt care about climate too.
    Khalil gibran asked- how you pass your time?
    scare crow- by working day & night
    khalil Gibran- you dont get tired ?
    scare crow – Not at all
    Khalil Gibran – why?
    Scare crow- because I enjoy bullying the birds and see them scared, I enjoy a lot!!
    similarly there are many scare crow in this world and they do enjoy!!

  • Manjj

    I was once working with a co as an assitant to the director on a nd level. there was one girl who was director’s direct assistant since long. she troubled me a lot during my work tenure. and i used to give her back there and there. when i completed my probation period. i was called by the HR head, and he told me that i have been fighting with the director..which actually never haapend. this girl gave all sort of negative feedbak for me. I was told to take a break for 1 week and then join back as a new joiner, again from the start. i was so insulted for no mistake of mine. But i never joined back there. i prefered staying home. what you think i should have done here???

  • Viplove Vishwas

    I really like it. I am a HR in an Interior construction firm and I have seen it a number of times in my office. the case goes worst when the bullied employee does not show the courage to say NO. but now i got to know how to handle this.
    Thanks A Lot Mam.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi… I agree with your points.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Great Viplove…I’m delighted to see that the write ups are creating a difference in someone’s life. Hope your problem is resolved soon.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Manjj…
    Why did not you speak to the Director directly, and should have asked for the evidence from the Head HR. IN such cases confrontation is required, leaving the job is the easiest option available at all the times, dealing with the situation with courage is what one should do..otherwise you will become bully again by some other secretary/director.