When we think about bullying, we usually picture it happening inside schools to children. But bullying can happen anywhere, including the workplace. Whether it’s a person picking on their colleague, a boss humiliating their employees in public, bullying in the workplace is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
Bullying is defined as an unwanted offensive and aggressive behavior which involves real or perceived power imbalance. It usually just takes one event, and if it is not corrected, it will be repeated or it can become a recurring event. Bullying is not something that happens in school or in the workplace. It can happen anywhere at any time to anyone.
In an episode of Breaktime Breakthroughs on Plus Network, CEO, Global Keynote Speaker, Author, HR Consultant, and Coach Daisy Callanta discussed the different forms of bullying in the workplace and how it can be addressed. Callanta says that bullying is an issue that has a large scope and has serious consequences. To properly define bullying, she uses the acronym BOO.
Bullying is BOO:
B – Being mean
O – On purpose
O – Over and over
This means that bullying happens when we are mean to someone on purpose over and over again. If we do these actions, then this makes us bullies: Callanta also identified the four types of bullying as physical bullying, verbal bullying, social bullying, and cyber bullying.
1. Physical Bullying – This form of bullying happens when one hurts a person’s body or possessions. Through physical actions, bullies gain power and control over their targets. Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, tripping, pushing, taking, or breaking someone’s things.
2. Verbal Bullying – This happens when someone says mean things. This form of bullying includes teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, and threatening to cause harm. Cursing at someone can also be considered verbal bullying.
3. Social Bullying – This is also called relational bullying and involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Examples include leaving someone out on purpose, telling others not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, embarrassing someone in public, or playing nasty jokes to humiliate or hurt.
4. Cyber Bullying – This form of bullying usually takes place over digital devices like cellphones, computers, and tablets. It occurs through texts, apps, or social media, and various social media platforms where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyber bullying ncludes sending, posting, sharing, negative, false, and harmful and mean content, and sharing personal or private information without consent to cause humiliation and embarrassment.
These forms of bullying are prevalent not just in the workplace, but everywhere, and anyone can be victims. According to Callanta, here are some ways to avoid bullying.
1. Say no and mean it – There will be no bullies if there are no bullied. When someone is doing something that hurts you, say no, and when you say no, mean it.
2. Report to the Authorities – No one will be able to help you unless you seek help from the proper authorities. Unless you report the incident, the bully will think it’s okay. Part of being a good person, is also correcting others for their own behavior. At work, report it to the HR Department. In school, report it to your teacher or adviser.
3. Do not hate but do not tolerate – Bullying shouldn’t be a reason to hate someone, but it also shouldn’t be a reason to tolerate their behavior. We may not be able to control people around us, but we can control how we respond to their actions. You can be firm without being mean. You can also say no without being disrespectful.
When it comes to bullying, there are no winners. Both the bully and the bullied may suffer serious, lasting problems. In her experience as an HR practitioner, Callanta says that in cases of bullying, everyone loses. She adds that bullies become bullies because they were also bullied. We cannot end the cycle of hate with hate. We can choose to change our perspective.
In her experience, she applies the values that Jesus taught and considers bullies as “grace developers” because bullies gives her a chance to practice being gracious. When we choose to forgive and be gracious just like Jesus, we see transformation in us and others.