- Everyone has a part to play in ending bullying and harassment and it can be life changing.
Some people believe in the innate goodness of human beings – this is not realistic – “Bullies perceive niceness and avoidance as weakness and an invitation to take advantage.” Lynne Curry ‘Beating the Workplace Bully – A Tactical Guide to Taking Charge.’
So, you will encounter bullies in the workplace, and it is EVERYONE’s RESPONSIBILITY to end one of the most dangerous problems at work. Employers can harness their workforce to, politely, nip things in the bud and raise concerns early – protecting that company’s reputation, ensuring both best practice and, loyalty to the organisation as a whole. Unions can harness their membership to implement, politely, zero tolerance of bullying and harassment within the workplace and, if necessary, within the union. (I won’t be having a go at individual organisations – what defines an organisation as attractive to bullies is that their job has status, power, and opportunities for them to bully and harass.)
If you witness bullying, IT IS an attempt to bully you – if not, why is it being perpetrated where you can witness it? Not objecting to bullying you witness is tantamount to telling the bully that you are an excellent potential target yourself. At the very least, you are being bullied out of the right to an opinion about the bullying you’re witnessing . I do appreciate that intervention can be daunting and situations vary. However, the very least I think someone should be prepared to do – is to approach the target afterward, telling them should they need a witness statement, you’ll have written one.
Learning to stand up to a bully is life-changing – whether that bully is at work, at home, next door, from a builder doesn’t matter; you can be a part of the solution. None of that above is naïve – I’ve done it – I’ve not always been the assertive woman the trade union movement helped me to become.