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What Is Bullying?


Bullying Can Be Overt or More Subtle

Bullying Can Be Overt or More Subtle

Copyright Alina Solovyova-Vincent

Bullying at work is intentionally causing pain to or harming another employee. According to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute (WBTI), workplace bullying is “a systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction that jeopardizes your health, your career, the job you once loved. Bullying is a non-physical, non-homicidal form of violence and because it is violence and abusive, emotional harm frequently results." To make bullying even more significant, a recent WBTI study found that 72% of bullies are bosses.

Bullying takes many forms:

  • verbal abuse from swearing to name calling to belittling,
  • physical abuse from standing too close in a threatening manner to throwing objects and punching,
  • emotional abuse from undermining a coworker’s work and credibility to keeping track of and reporting mistakes,
  • character abuse from gossiping and lying about a coworker to purposefully damaging their reputation, and
  • for lack of a better word, professional abuse with actions such as repeatedly finding fault with a coworker’s work publically, talking over a colleague at meetings, or ignoring a coworker’s input about their job, schedule, and so forth.

Bullying is characterized by a lack of respect for a coworker. It is sometimes obvious, but its more subtle forms often cause the most damage. Bulllying is responsible for increased absenteeism, a lack of workplace motivation and employee satisfaction, increased turnover, and a lack of trust and team building among workers.

Additionally, bullying can cause serious damage to an employee's self esteem and his ability to contribute at work. It can also be responsible for employee depression, physical illness, and severe trauma. Bullying is never okay in the workplace.

Find out more about bullying and what to do if you are the target of a bully.

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