Approximately between 1 in 3 and 1 in 4 workers in the UK have been bullied. Workplace bullying costs the UK industry 18 billion a year (ACAS) – in lost turnover, lost talent, lost wellbeing – the cost of sick leave taken. Not to mention the bad practice and even illegal behaviours bullying is used to cover – embezzlement etc.
From recruiting platform hellobob.co “According to Forbes, workplace bullying costs the US economy an estimated $350 billion annually due to high turnover and diminished work productivity. Research conducted by Monster.com, the global employment service, found that 90 percent of workers have been bullied at work. The research found that 51 percent reported being bullied by a superior, and 39 percent were bullied by a co-worker. A similar survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com found that 56 percent of LGBT workers reported being bullied. This is why experts refer to workplace bullying as the “silent epidemic” in today’s office environments.” I think these figures are so much higher that the U.K’s because the term used was “affected by bullying” so targets and witnesses are included in that 90%.
The effect of bullying is not just on its target; anyone who witnesses bullying is also being bullied. Perpetrators do not only humiliate their target; they are assessing the witnesses’ reactions to see who else would make a good target, Watch out you could be next. Witnesses who remain silent are rendered complicit. Look what I can do, and you aren’t going to do a thing about it. Showing no reaction can stop a witness from becoming a target. Or better still, is politely addressing the behaviour as unacceptable. I know this is very hard – but I can tell you from experience that nothing is as empowering as when you stand your ground against a bully for the first time.
For about a year, I’d been a union rep (the best way of learning how to be assertive at work). My potential bully was a storyliner on a pre-watershed drama. He wanted to construct a storyline about child abuse where the child was ‘lying!’ This was pre-Jimmy Savile exposure, but all the same, it was a stupid sensational storyline – the last refuge of bad storyliners! Nevertheless, I spoke to research contacts; all responded as I expected. Police officers and social services are vastly experienced in how both abusers and their targets behave – to the point where it is very unlikely false allegations lead them to take action.
When I pointed this out to the bad storyliner
BS: You just don’t like my story, you’re trying to sabotage it.
JP: No I’m not. Look we’re both tired; let’s pick this up next week?
BS: I’m the manager; I’ll decide when we meet
JP: Let me know when that is, and I’ll have a union official with me.
I walked back to my office shaky but on air – I’d done it – the last piece of standing up for yourself at work clicked in place. The bad storyliner scuttled down to my office, and I got the biggest Uriah Heep of an apology. Every adult should be able to do this, but the school system as it stands is afraid to really empower the next generation – what if they stood up to teachers? Schools also turn out bullies unchallenged into workplaces to wreak havoc and cost billions.
A lot of my casework as a union official involved listening to members who had been bullied. The most rapid decline in mental health I have seen in workers has been in those being bullied. I think this is because the experience takes them instantly back to their most vulnerable self; often to the bullied child that they were.
#workplacebullying #bullying #bullyawareness #bullyingprevention
book here: https://tinyurl.com/25e86sde