It’s hard to believe that we culminate from high school hoping to be around accepting professionals only to find out that you are either being bullied, or you are a bully. Company cultures establish villages and tribes like the clicks in high school. These villages and tribes determine your career and social status within the company. This can be damaging not only to current and future employment, but to one’s confidence to succeed.
It’s important to recognize that adult bullying is just as debilitating as childhood bullying. It is important to recognize when bullying is happening even if it is not happening to you. We can all take part in either controlling the environment and or consoling the person being bullied.
Since adult bullying is a little subtler and less obvious that childhood bullying, we must be a little more observant. Here are some things that are easy to miss:
Giving someone a nickname they are clearly uncomfortable hearing.
Taking possession of someone else’s property without them offering or you even asking.
Whispering about a person right in front of them thinking they can’t hear you.
Starting gossip within the office with purpose and intent to defame the character of another person.
Violating the personal space whether they are in the space or not.
Passive aggressive comments about someone’s family.
I know when you are reading this list you are thinking “I do this and I don’t consider this bullying”. Well you are wrong. Compare these behaviors to similar behaviors in school. The way it felt to watch someone being bullied or even be on either end of bullying. These attributes are the same and have the same effect on socialization and performance.
We can all take an opportunity to reflect on our personal and professional environments. Make sure that we are not the bully or they person being bullied. Even more important are you watching the behavior and doing nothing to stop it. We can’t be successful if we ignore even the smallest details that are preventing success. Bullying is one of those things.
Juanita Espino B.S. Comm., M.A.Ed.
Communications Consultant and Professional Advisor