Barely Toxic (36-49)
According to your answers, your work environment could be a lot worse!
What's the big deal about workplace bullying?
Studies show 63 percent of Americans are aware of bullying in the workplace, with nearly 20 percent being targeted by bullies. In toxic workplaces where bullies reign, more than 95 percent of employees are aware of the abusive behavior.
Workplace bullying is a scourge that destroys productivity and creativity, drags profitability, and affects the health and well being of not only the victim, but any co-worker with a conscience. More than 71 percent of victims suffer to the point of needing medical treatment, and more than 63 suffer to the point of needing mental health care.
Why can't victims just find another job?
Bullying targets often find themselves targeted again and again, because bullies are threatened by their competence, reputation, record and likability. They leave one hostile environment, only to be targeted by the same type of bully with the same types of insecurities and personality deficits. Only 19 percent of workplace bullying victims have not been previously abused – either as a child, or as an adult.
More than 30 percent of victims suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being disbelieved by employers 90 percent of the time, retaliated against, ostracized by co-workers, and are terminate in more than a third of cases.
In 82 percent of cases, bullies intentionally set out to harm their victims. Destroying the target is as vital to them as their daily job responsibilities. Remember, 74 percent of bullies have no problem enlisting cohorts to help them abuse.
How many times should they have to get over it? At some point, the bullying must end.
The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone, you are not crazy, and you are not doing anything to deserve being abused. More than 19 percent of American workers are victims of workplace bullying, and 62 percent of new employees who leave their job within the first year, do so because of a hostile work environment that fails to protect them.
Bullies select their targets because they feel threatened by them – their skills, their likability, their moral compass and agreeable nature. In a Workplace Bullying Institute survey, bullying targets described themselves as kind, altruistic, generous, and in 22 percent of cases, as not likely to defend themselves. If that describes you, it may be time to make some changes.
While you did nothing to deserve being destroyed by a bully, you may be able to do some things to protect yourself. It’s always healthy to take a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves and our motives, so do search yourself for ways you can improve and avoid future pitfalls. Are you too trusting? Do you share too much, too early? Are you easily hurt by betrayal? Do you have high expectations of yourself and others?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you already know what to do to harden your shell. Here are some other suggestions for dealing with workplace bullies.
You may be realizing for the first time that you have contributed to a toxic work environment, but you also are not alone. More than 61 percent of American workers are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace.
Acknowledgement is the first step in resolving the problem, so you’re already on the path to recovery. More than 60 million Americans report being impacted by workplace bullying, so while you may not be a direct target, you are likely feeling the effects.
More than 74 percent of bullies enlist cohorts to carry out their schemes. They work alone only a quarter of the time, so be aware of bullies attempting to get you to gang up on a co-worker.
You should also be aware that more than 54 percent of reports by victims are ignored by employers, so if you’re in a position to back up a victim’s story, do so. Report bullying to your employer and don’t stop reporting until the behavior stops.
You are the solution to workplace bullying.
A toxic work environment is a reflection of poor management, first and foremost. Nearly 70 percent of new employees who leave their jobs in the first year, do so because weak managers empower and enable a toxic work environment.
If an employer is being honest, they know when they have a toxic work environment. They’ve received complaints they either failed to address or addressed haphazardly or poorly. They’re aware of cliques and bullies. They have no idea whether employees understand how they fit in to the organization. The national statistics are glaring; and while some employers will be content to decide they’re in the exemplary minority, others will know it’s their duty to act.
In 54 percent of bullying cases reported to management, their employer does nothing while the bully methodically and purposefully creates a toxic work environment; in 90 percent of cases, the employer disbelieves the victim; and in 71 percent of cases, retaliates against the victim for reporting the abuse (leading to the victim’s termination more than a third of the time).
Here’s how it shakes out when victims turn to typical company policies for protection: Following the first guideline, to address the bully directly, leads to the bully making either no change, or ratcheting up the behavior in 93 percent of cases. Following the second guideline, to report to a superior, leads to disbelief of the victim in 90 percent of cases, discrediting the victim as a liar in more than half, and terminating the victim more than a third of the time.
If you’re an employer and you do not have policies and training to specifically address workplace bullying, you are not doing enough. If you are an employer and you have policies to identify and prevent bullying, kudos to you. But if you are doing nothing to measure your success, you are not doing enough.
If you’re an employer with policies and training to specifically define and prevent workplace bullying, which includes a truly safe way for employees to report abuse, and you have measures in place to assure your supervisors and staff take it seriously, you are a unicorn on a rainbow bridge. Please contact me so I can pick your brain.