Happy Monday women of authenticity!
I was in conversation with a family member a few weeks ago and she was sharing how frustrating it was having to deal with an obvious and insidious workplace intimidation tactic from her manager. She had addressed the situation with an immediate superior, along with HR at the onset, voicing her concerns and asking for support. It wasn’t surprising for me to hear that Human Resources in this instance did little to intervene in solving the matter or even cared to seek a solution to what was clearly an upsetting situation to their employee.
For the sake of transparency, let me state here that I was a victim of workplace bullying. I never kept silent about how I felt unfairly treated by these employers under the guise of leadership and management.
I might have even earned a reputation for not being a team player in instances where the nurse trail of paper work for profit oftentimes took center stage over the well-being and welfare of patient care. But, where I wasn’t part of the ‘management’ team player sport, I became the “voice” for many of their disgruntled ( for obvious reasons) employees, often assisting staff members on the how to of documentation involving grievances stemming from feelings of workplace abuse and intimidation.
Here are five things that I advise employees to do when they become the target of employer intimidation, ridicule, and blatant acts of bullying:
1. Remain calm and professional. When you remain calm in the ire of the storm of intimidation and harassment, you are showing your intelligence and professionalism, thereby, winning half the battle that tyrants use to get your goat. ( According to Dr. Gary Namie, founder of Workplace Bullying Institute) workplace abuse is a systematic targeting plan of destruction of an employee by an employer to break them or crush them)
2. Ask to speak to the offender/superior alone if the situation is in public view. In most cases I have found that the workplace bully won’t show his/her hand in view of others, preferring to belittle or undervalue you/r performance in private. What works for the offender in this case can also work for you, because you get to see how the person really feels about you. If the criticism is helpful and not a personal or character assignation, you will know it and seek an amiable solution to solving the problem. But, if you witness the abuse agenda up close and private, then, you know you’re going to be in a fight for your dignity, reputation, and livelihood.
3. If you receive a write-up that makes no sense at all and seems totally from left field, you can refuse to sign it and document on the space provided, indicating your reasons for not doing so. Always keep a copy of any write-up or verbal complaints for your records.
4. Documentation is the key to going forward in any workplace bullying tactic.The consensus is if it’s not documented it didn’t happen. Have proof in the form of dates, times, incidents and witnesses involved.
5. Seek a transfer when you’ve done everything in your power to solve an intimidation situation and you’re still being abused in the workplace, you need to remove yourself from the situation and either ask for a transfer within the company or to a sister company. A crippled economy has most of America frightened by the very idea of losing their jobs. But, if nothing works, you need to regain your sense of clarity and plan your next move. When you feel trapped in a job that deplete your mind, body, spirit, and steals your joy; it’s time to pack it in for something better. You should definitely seek professional assistance to file charges against the harassing party.
Fear keeps people in unhealthy workplace situations and literally makes them sick. I’ve been in that space of feeling undervalued, powerless and defeated from on the job employer intimidation. Don’t you know this is exactly how the bully want you to feel?
Dr. Gary Namie is the founder of The Workplace Bullying Institute. In 2002, he, along with his wife who was a victim of workplace abuse and suffered from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) because of the abuse, started the Healthy Workplace Bill Campaign to get laws passed against this workplace health hazard.
Some places of employment have you sign gag or concealment clauses that prevents you as an employee from speaking your truths, but there are no laws against speaking up for what is right. In 2011, I gained employee signatures at my workplace to assist with the passing of The Illinois Healthy Workplace Bill, under its coordinator and co-founder, Carrie Clark.
If you want to learn more about how you can help put an end to workplace bullying, visit healthyworkplacebill.org.
If you want to share your stories or have questions or concerns on how to deal with troublesome situations in the workplace, email me and I’ll share answers either privately or here at authentic woman with your consent.
Peace and blessings