Stand Up Against Bullying: A blog to help stop workplace bullying
Organizations Leadership

When can organizations anticipate an upsurge in workplace bullying?

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Workplace bullies can exhibit rather erratic behavior, making their patterns of bullying inconsistent. Nevertheless, specific instances exist when workplace bullies amplify the intensity of their bullying, significantly elevating the peril for both organizations and the individuals being targeted. Such occasions include the filing of a complaint, the imposition of accountability measures, and the departure of the target. These scenarios tend to challenge bullies, prompting a surge in bullying tendencies. Acquiring this understanding empowers organizations to adopt a proactive stance, ensuring the safety of all employees, particularly those who find themselves targeted.

It's crucial to bear in mind that bullies pose a constant threat to targets. Yet, the risk of aggression escalation escalates when the target registers a complaint about bullying, whether it's a formal report or an informal mention. During these moments, bullies perceive a threat and react accordingly. Leaders should take immediate action to shield targets as soon as allegations of bullying are raised.

Workplace bullying is also prone to escalate when organizations intervene and hold the bully accountable. This triggers the bully's desire for retribution against the target, fueled by the perception of losing control over the work environment. Not only will these bullies persist in harming the target, but they will also exploit this opportunity to test the leadership's boundaries. They will push the limits to gauge if the administration indeed imposes consequences. Consequently, organizations must ready themselves for sustained waves of bullying, likely directed not only at the target but also at leadership.

Another high-risk juncture for organizations occurs when a target decides to resign. This magnifies the aggression since the aggressor now operates under a time constraint to torment their target. Consequently, they will inflict maximum harm within the remaining timeframe. Furthermore, these aggressors will use this chance to instill fear among their coworkers. By doing so, they aim to lay the groundwork for their next victim, demonstrating their continued dominance through aggression. The goal is to perpetuate an environment of fear, ensuring the persistence of workplace aggression even after the target's departure. Following a target's resignation, organizations should anticipate a surge in overt and frequent incidents of workplace bullying. Thus, it's imperative for leadership to maintain accountability for the bully and establish clear boundaries. This situation also presents an opportunity for leadership to intervene and enhance the work environment. With effective intervention, leadership can quell the relentless tide of workplace bullying, preventing its unchecked continuation.

Take a stand against workplace bullying:

  1. Educate: Raise awareness about bullying and its impacts.
  2. Empower: Implement clear anti-bullying policies and training.
  3. Report: Provide safe channels for reporting incidents.
  4. Act Swiftly: Investigate and address complaints promptly.
  5. Support: Offer resources for both targets and bystanders.
  6. Lead by Example: Demonstrate respectful behavior from the top.
  7. Assess and Improve: Regularly evaluate and update strategies.

Together, we can create a respectful and safe workplace for everyone.