mind over matter.
Byline: with Dr Ellie Milby
Bullying is not just found in the playground BULLYING is something we often associate with school children. However, I regularly see clients suffering from mental health problems as a result of bullying in the workplace. A recent survey suggests as many as one in three workers may be targeted at some point.
Bullying at work can have devastating effects. It can lead to psychological problems, physical illness, relationship difficulties and lower job performance. In the worst cases it has even led to suicide.
Sometimes bullying may be obvious, for example if someone at work singles you out and is openly rude or aggressive. Usually it is more subtle. Behaviours that can constitute bullying include: inappropriate criticism, ignoring an individual's contributions, regularly excluding someone from social activities, spreading malicious rumours, or repeatedly giving a person tasks to do that are meaningless or unachievable.
If you are being bullied it's important to remember that the bully's behaviour is a reflection of them, not you. Although bullies may appear confident they are often trying to cover up their own insecurities.
At work, bullies may target people who they feel are a threat to their own career prospects.
Unfortunately we can't change a bully's behaviour but we can change how we respond to them. If you feel able to, try calmly telling the person who is bullying you that their behaviour is unacceptable. Some bullies will back down when others stand up to them.
Where possible, make others aware of what is happening. This could mean talking to a manager you trust or to an HR or trade union representative. Recording incidents of bullying in a diary can be helpful if you decide to pursue further action against the bully.
If workplace bullying is having a serious impact on how you feel remember you are not alone. You can call the Bullying UK helpline on 0808 800 2222 for help and advice. Counselling or therapy can also help. This may be available through an occupational health service at work. Alternatively speak to your GP about what services are available in your area.
Dr | Ellie Milby is a counselling psychologist. Tweet her at @DRELLIEM