How to Prevent Workplace Bullying

If you are a target of workplace bullying, no wonder why you start your week with a pit of anxiety and stress in your stomach. You count days or wait desperately for the week to end to avoid the mental torture you have to deal with in the office.

Sad but true, workplace bullies have become an everyday thing in our lives. Whether there is someone who berates you, excludes you, makes snide remarks at you or threatens you, inappropriate behavior, in any form, is enough to reduce someone’s efficiency and productivity.

A recent study found that one in every four employee experiences bullying in the workplace. This toxic practice can cost businesses up to $200 billion a year as it increases absenteeism, high turnover and decreases productivity.

So what exactly is workplace bullying and why are its effects so corrosive?

According to University Louisville, workplace bullying is the course of unreasonable actions of a group and individuals directed toward a group or an employee, intended to threaten or intimidate and create risks to the safety and health of the employee or employees.

Workplace bullying typically involves misuse or abuse of power. It includes inappropriate behavior that does not only intimidate workers but also offends, degrades and humiliates them.  The corrosive behavior no doubt makes an employee feel threatened and disrupts their ability to work efficiently. 

Types Of Workplace Bullies

The problem with bullying is that it is indistinct and difficult to identify. Whether your boss or co-worker is manipulative and bullies you, identifying their intention is not easy. It is merely because bullying and disruptive behavior often overlap with other common behaviors.

 So how can you identify the typical bullies around you at the workplace? Well, here are some bull types:

Screaming Mimi
The name sounds bizarre, so is the attitude of these bullies.  This bully is undeniably one of the most recognizable types you may find at the workplace.  The obnoxious and loud screaming mimis are easily identifiable due to their abusive behavior. You will often find them humiliating and berating people for their performance, appearance or demeanor.   

Two-Headed Snake
The title personifies the behavior of these bullies. This type of employee acts as if they are the most reliable and trusted colleagues. However, they do their best to destroy your reputation when you are not around. They even take credit for your work.

Constant Critic
Dismantling your confidence or belittling you in front of others is all this co-worker wants. Even their normal conversation includes unwarranted criticism. They are a critic and do not miss out on a single chance to find flaws in your work, personality and performance to kill your credibility. Impeccable work?  Well, no problem. This constant critic can even falsify documents to make you look bad.

Attention Seekers
This type refers to the ones who crave attention at the workplace.  To get in the “good books” of their superior, they do not mind getting over flattery.  They feign a helpful demeanor, but in reality, the gimmicks are for achieving their personal goals.  They are often overly dramatic and try to manipulate the situations to garner control.

Is Workplace Bullying Illegal?

To answer this question precisely, bullying is not automatically illegal, like other forms of workplace assaults or harassment. However, the effects it causes are often detrimental to not only the employee’s mental and physical health but also the work environment. While the toxic environment decreases the morale of the employees, it affects company turnover.

As mentioned earlier, workplace bullying is significantly tricky when it comes to recognizing it. However, it has the power to reduce the efficiency of the employees as well as the profitability of the business by stressing the entire environment.

Workplace bullying is illegal when it goes beyond the limits and violates the laws that the Federal and State government has defined.  Because of this subtle distinction, many employees find pursuing any workplace bullying matter hard to handle legally.

In addition, this is one of the reasons many companies consider employee and workplace training essential to get rid of workplace bullying. By giving essential employee training to their workers, they help them learn how to deal with toxic work relationships.

How To Identify Bullies In The Workplace

Even though we listed the common types of bullies, it is crucial to understand their actions to realize whether you are suffering from bullying or not. Here are some workplace examples that you should watch out for:

  • Constant criticism
  • Spreading lies, rumors and gossip about you and your work performance
  • Sabotage
  • Share destructive feedback to destroy your reputation
  • Making changes in work guidelines to annoy you
  • Stealing your credit for a project
  • Biased behavior
  • Use of  physical or verbal abuse

Who Can Create A Hostile Work Environment?

Workplace bullying is not exclusive to just one person. It might be your boss who keeps grudges against you or does not want to see you performing better than their favorite employee. It can be a co-worker who is envious of your competency and knows that they cannot beat your performance by their low productivity. Your client or an independent contractor whom you interact daily can also bully you for your work productivity or personality.

Regardless of what the designation of a person is, anyone who interacts with you at the workplace can create a toxic and hostile environment for you due to any reason and sometimes for no reason.

How To Prevent A Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment is not appealing for anyone in the office. Employee training, in this regard, can be tremendously advantageous to keep unwelcome and offensive behavior at bay.

Many businesses are training their workers through online courses to minimize the adverse effects of bullying and disruptive behavior for employees.  The course helps employees understand what workplace bullying may entail and how it can demoralize them.  Additionally, the online workplace training guides them to defuse disruptive behavior and toxic work tips when an encounter occurs in the workplace. 

Next Steps

Are you ready to take the next step? The KnowledgeCity learning library can help you jump-start your employee training with its more than 13,000 online video courses.  Industry experts designed comprehensive video tutorials to deliver essential knowledge to your team.


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