Throughout our lives, many of us have experienced some form of bullying—whether on a playground or in a locker room, a cafeteria, or a childhood neighborhood. But, while many of us assume that bullying is something that is a part of childhood and adolescence, left behind when we transition into adulthood, the fact is that many adults have reported experiencing bullying in the workplace.
Most employees have probably experienced conflict at work, but bullying in the workplace—although it can certainly involve violence in extreme situations—can be very subtle and difficult to identify. Here are some of the more common forms of workplace bullying that managers should look out for, as described by HR Morning.
1. Outright Abusive Behavior
This is perhaps the most obvious form of workplace bullying. This behavior involves loud, obnoxious, and demeaning behavior. It can include yelling at an employee in a meeting, for example. People who engage in this behavior may enjoy inspiring fear in others or may just have difficulty controlling their tempers.
Even if someone isn’t being loud and obnoxious to another employee’s face, he or she may still be engaging in bullying behavior behind the other employee’s back. Typically, this will involve spreading rumors, taking credit for another employee’s work, and just generally working to undermine a coworker or damage his or her reputation.
“Gatekeeping” refers to using one’s influence or position in the organization to prevent others from accomplishing their jobs by withholding resources. This can be staff, equipment, time, or information.
4. Overly Critical
For some coworkers and superiors, the work of others is never quite good enough. There’s obviously a place at work for constructive criticism, but when that feedback is overly critical it can really start to damage morale and cross the line into bullying behavior.
Bullying in the workplace can take many forms. Being able to identify the different types of workplace bullying can be the first step to addressing the issues.