How to Stop Work Place Harassment!!!

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Workplace harassment is a silent outbreak in the corporate world. It has been researched and evaluated widely over the years. Every person has some good and bad traits. So, there is always room for improving character. Clients and customers know a company through its employees. Employees with better character succeed in presenting a good impression of their company. Mature employees carry out smoother activities at work place. While the situation is reversed if the employees turn out to be bullies.

In this article, we will review the contour and character of a workplace bully and how to stop the work environment getting toxic in which such a behavior can crop up.

Hostile behaviors at office by Professor Joel Neuman, Center for Applied Management, State University of New York at New Paltz are:

1. Talking behind back.
2. Interrupting others while they are speaking or working.
3. Being pompous, acting in an arrogant manner.
4. Criticizing someone’s opinion in front of others.
5. Never returning phone calls or ignoring memos.
6. Giving silent treatment.
7. Being abusive.
8. Verbal forms of sexual harassment.
9. Staring, dirty looks or other negative eye contact.
10. Intentionally damning with faint praise.
11. The need to control others through verbal threats and physical actions.
12. Quicker to anger and sooner to use force than others.

A workplace bully is always with a history of aggressive behavior. The positive and negative habits and to maintain them or break them respectively need to be focused. Routine behaviors in the case of a bully become the chosen way to relate with people at work place. Such a behavior is toxic, vicious and often times, illegitimate. The workplace never promotes bullying behavior, but there are some environments which become favorable for aggressive behaviors.

From the top:

The image of any industry or organization is formulated by the top management. It is the head who sets the attitude of / for the company starting from the vision statement to the treatment of employees at all levels. One of the most caustic working environments is one where major gaps exist between the company and its treatment of employees. So when bullying and other forms of workplace harassments are not taken seriously at high levels it is understood that the HR and the managers do not take the behaviors and attitudes seriously.

Lack of self-respect:

When a work place fails to promote an atmosphere of self-respect toward and among its employees, all manners of discourtesy, resentment and aggression floats into the organizational structure. Self-respect is the right of every individual. When it is denied, people become victims of bad behaviors at work. Such environments are perfect for the toxic behavior of bullies. When individual dignity is ignored, the mentality of the bully reigns. So it is the duty of the company to provide nurturing environments by applying certain rules which bound all employees at all levels.

Overlooking difficult employees:

A company that fails to create rules of conduct with regard to hostile behavior, or other forms of unsatisfactory demeanor at work place, fails to protect its employees and indirectly its customers. Both large as well as small problems which are dismissed denied or allowed to go unresolved become an inferno with time. Such pattern for an organization is destructive & illegal. Remember, the more productive an environment for the employee is the farther the company will grow and produce results.

Non encouraging behavior:

Downsizing, increase in work load & reforming takes a toll on all employees. The stress involved needs to be acknowledged and employees need to be given the opportunity to adjust to whatever their individual circumstances become. This takes a commitment from management to be aware and pro-active during stressful transitions. Putting time, energy and money into viable programs goes a long way to assist employees to make the adjustments that will allow them to continue to be productive during difficult times of change.

Prevention, Policies & Procedures:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure for companies who see to it that their employees are trained to identify the potential signs of workplace violence. When companies do not educate employees about this problem, the early warning signs of problematic behavior go undetected. As fire drills are intended to train people on how to respond in case of fire similarly training employees about the warning signs of aggressive and hostile behavior offers them knowledge of how to respond and what procedures to follow. To fail to offer such training may result in overwhelming damage.

Closure:

•  The article above has focused on one form of workplace bullying, that of co-worker to co-worker. Make no mistake; bullying is a form of workplace violence. It exists in the boardroom, on the work line and anywhere in between. Bullies come in both genders. They can wear Armani suits, plain street clothes or company uniforms. They may be subtle, slick and sly, or they can be loud, outrageous and blatant. No matter the style or preference of the bully, the intention is always the same – to control, to subjugate and to hurt.
•  As a manager you must be able to do many things at once. One of your primary tasks involves being the eyes and ears of your division, being on top of all matters that affect your employees in the workplace — both positively and negatively.
•  Of course, it’s impossible for you to know about everything that’s going on behind the scenes. But if you begin to notice a marked change in either the behavior or quality of work of a previously exemplary employee (or employees), you may want to pay close attention to the dynamics of your staff.
•  Do you notice that there is an employee who seems to intimidate his or her coworkers? Perhaps someone who is a master at grandstanding, prone to making loud jokes (at the expense of others), or who seems to simply provoke negative feelings around the office? Unfortunately, you may have a problem on your hands that is not that uncommon — an office bully.

Tips:

Below are helpful tips for managers who recognize that a specific employee may be behaving in a bullying fashion in the workplace:
•  Be sure to have several specific, documented examples of the employee’s negative behavior to present at the meeting. As you listen to his or her responses, be understanding (to a point) but firm, and make sure the employee understands that these actions are upsetting coworkers and disrupting their ability to do their jobs.
•  Never allow the employee to direct the conversation back to any employee(s) who may have lodged a complaint — make sure the person is aware that this meeting is about him/her.
•  Be crystal clear about the behavior you want halted. Should there be another incident after your meeting, inform the bully that his or her job may be in jeopardy if an improvement in behavior is not seen immediately. (Many managers put this warning in writing to drive home just how important the command is).
•  Talk with your superiors in the company about the issue. People who have been on the job longer may be able to offer some helpful insight into combating this kind of detrimental behavior and dealing with “bad apples.” Surely, everyone has had at least one on their staff at one time or another.
•  Be sure to check in with your other employees after you’ve had your meeting. Oftentimes the bully, out of anger or spite, will take the bullying outside the office, where he or she may feel immune to chastisement. This could present an even more severe problem, since the bully’s threats could become more serious.

42 thoughts on “How to Stop Work Place Harassment!!!

  1. In simple words, “nice”,
    But may I suggest there is still more to say. This article should be continued with one more important topics like “Office politics and ways to compete” and “Ways to understand your boss- what type is he of”

  2. Fine… but its a broad topic and there are different types of harassment that is seen in different type of organizations in front of/or behind the picture.

  3. Strong environment is needed for avoiding such behaviors. If you know about your workplace policies than you will be strong enough. Major responsibility on the shoulders of senior management how they deal with the problem. If they give sensible reaction then such behaviors can be prevented for a long time.

  4. The Article is fantastic in all respects and may further have additive stuff by categorizing people involved in such shameful activities like harassment by group or individual. Every human being reflects one’s family background and the way one’s was nurtured. I would further add types of bullies to Raja Asad. They are Greedy, Absent-minded, Union-Member, Sponsored and Super-Human Bullies:

    1- Greedy Bully:

    This type of bully exists in most of the organizations from top to bottom. One is the main gate of corruption. One harasses one’s co-worker so that one’s under the table activities are not disclosed to others. Greedy bullies can action both individually and by joining a large group.

    2- Absent – Minded Bully:

    One is the person who has not one’s own thinking. One is like puppet who harasses other employees to please and on the instructions of one’s co-worker/senior/close-heart friends. One is normally considered as a joker.

    3- Union-Member Bully:

    These are the bullies whose every action is on the directives of their union leader. They are very helpless if they are not ready to follow the instructions. They are also harassed by their union-friends and foes.

    4- Sponsored Bully:

    One is the person who resembles to greedy bully. One is very dangerous bully who can do anything to accomplish one’s task assigned by one’s sponsors.

    5- Super-Human Bully:

    Super-Human Bully who have extraordinary qualities gifted by god. They are two types. One who is very lazy at their work and the other is very efficient in one’s work. They know how to play with the psychology of people at workplace. They create both cold and hot circumstance at workplace and assess their powers. They then start harassing people.

  5. Thanks to ROZEE for circulating these types of informative articles regarding workplace and career planning. These artilces have helped me to ease my life and coping up with the situations in organisation.

    Great efforts have been put to cover the part of Organisational Politics. To the greater extent, this article has valuable information. I would therefore like ROZEE to please write on Organisational Politics and Unionization in details.

    Best Regards,

    MUHAMMAD JAWWAD KHAN

  6. Nice article for lower and middle management. Higher management do not normally give importance to this type of advices.

  7. This was a good way to educate and to moblize people to bring a change in thier behaviour, attitude and working style. I think this was really nice article any one who read this article should get a print out of it and display on the notice board or forward it to the relevant department for the improvement in the organization’s environment.

  8. While I was reading this article, I was absolutely indulged and thinking about my own workplace. Harassment, disrespect, maligning, deterrence against being positivity, my workplace have all of this. And you said absolutely right that HR has great responsibility to resolve this issue. But I am very sorry to say the scenario in Pakistan is reverse. In case of my company, we have not been assured security of our jobs even though we had been hired as permanent employees. Now, letter have not been given to us yet. So if harassment and bad attitude towards company prevails, it is no doubt must be concern for HR.

    I rate this article A++.

  9. Dear Rozee
    Good effort! Organizations have different behaviors. One might not have such harassment while others might have been suffering a lot. Culture, policies, education, appraisals, financial health, industry, scope of work, all these factors also contribute to a better and harmonized set up. I appreciate your efforts.

  10. Good topic, but always blaming the juniors. It should be moved from top management to lower staff; Seniors should be capable of moving the idea and behaviors to juniors and teach them. In Pakistan, we are always facing bureaucracy. This is the biggest problem in our environment. Yes! I agree that every one has the opportunity to groom himself.

  11. Salam, the article is really very informative and helpful for everyone in his professional life.

  12. Good material! There is a need to educate people in this regard because our educational institutions are not grooming people in this manner.

  13. Topic is very good. It should be implemented in each organization for a better environment.

  14. Nice Article, It addresses the problem of every organization and especially in our country. Although, there are lots of things we can discuss, but i want to comment on the “preventive” point, as it is very important one in my point of view.The organizations with better and encouraging environment have comparatively lesser problems as such. While the organizations where encouraging lacks, they can control it to some extant as well by employing transparency in delegation of powers and better hiring mechanism. Hiring plays an important role, as sometimes it get through people of less aptitude above the people with better knowledge, experience and aptitude. In this way they are creating three types of bullys, hence increasing their problems. These three types are:

    1-> by Birth Bully:- Well, you cant do anything about such people except pulling your hairs in vain.

    2-> Newly hired Bully:- The person cant impress others by knowledge, hence employing bully tactics to control his sub-ordinates or colleagues. Such person can be a headache for such organizations and such bullys are dangerous as organization thinks that people are not responsive to their newly hired person and hence they are pressed more, which tends them to be non-productive in some scenarios. So, its very important to choose the right guy first and then do the delegation of powers smoothly. This thing can be assured when you have the monitoring system in place, hence you know the ability of your current employees.

    3->Deprived Bullys: When an employee with better profile and experience thinks that he isn’t getting what he could have. This occurs when there is less monitoring and acknowledgment criteria is in place. So, some people tend to leave the organization, while others tend to stay with less motivation levels hence spoiling the work environment. They are also dangerous for the organization. But the organizations with control on “newly hired bullys” can prevent going into rather more trouble with such “deprived bullys”, who could have been asset to the organization otherwise.

    Again, the article you presented is very informative and it would be helpful if we have more such articles coming where we can discuss things more.
    Thanks.

  15. I would like to add a very significant information here. Six NGOs from Pakistan had created an alliance called AASHA or Alliance against sexual harassment at workplace. It developed a code of conduct for organizations and companies. this code of conduct has been adopted by many companies including Geo and Attock Refinery. The Alliance has formulated a draft bill and held many consultations with various stakeholders. The bill has been approved by the Law Ministry, and Cabinet. It is ready for presentation in the National Assembly.
    Today, an event has been organized in Lahore (Pearl Continental Hotel) to distribute AASHA Awards among individuals who have worked for irridacting sexual harassment at workplace. For further information, please visit http://www.aasha.org.pk

  16. Very Nice topic, that’s true we all are facing these kind of problems due to bullying environment. But in the end where the author has given the tips, I am not satisfied because these tips are just for the Managers. I request you to kindly give tips for other levels or at least non-managers. Thanks once again, a very nice article!

  17. It is a good article but there is a need of an article to improve and handle “Hostile behaviors at office” as listed by Professor Joel Neuman”

    Thanks

  18. Topic is quite useful and depicting one of the major issues at work place; on the top of it, comments given by my friends are very realistic. In fact I personally feel that such actions should be discouraged to have good moral values in the society

  19. Well, the article is a good “starter” however not a comprehensive look at the problem and its solutions. Yes I totally agree with QASIM that the article sounds like deviating the real problems of bullying at office within our culture. This thingy is more serious in our culture because most of the companies are run and managed by unqualified INVESTORS who own the business. So there is no check on their behavior, which isn’t possible anyway. Office secretary, very unfortunately, has become a third-grade profession for a female. Similar is with nurses and police-women. The problem is bigger than described in this article. Our system is malfunctioning and many other measures must be taken from Government side, Arggghhhh! don’t get me started on our nabobs.

    But anyway, it is a good thought given to many starters. By the way it will definitely put a lot of weight in your words if you could come out of ROZEE and go to the places where people are, mostly female in our culture, facing real office harassment e.g meet policewomen, nurses, air hostesses, office secretaries etc and ask their real problems and how do they manage to cope with it.

  20. Topic is good. If we people follow, it should increase our work efficiency as well as character. thanx dude!

  21. Work place Harassment is indeed a very usual condition highlighted by Rozee. But one thing I want to share is that it is well said that “If you are good to others, others will be good to you as well”. Business Ethics, etiquette, and manners; sounds like something we read somewhere in books but to understand it fully and to implement it in our professional life and in daily life is the main requisite. Whenever we sit in gatherings with our friends or colleagues, we sometimes use kind of language for others which even we won’t like to be used for us.

    I agree with Farhan that we have forgotten the lessons which are left as an examples for us by our elders. We really enjoy teasing others and when the same favor is turned on us, we REACT. REACTION is very fullish ACTION, someone said.
    There must be the Training programmes of such types in every organization but I think these training programmes must also be organized from the very beginning, i.e, Schools, colleges, community clubs etc.

  22. Really likes this topic. we need to educate people not only in work place/offices even at educational institution as well where teachers sometime exploit students and even their co-workers on the basis of biasness and this is reality. We observe and experience it every where. This is the time to let every1 know that there is no difference and discrimination on the basis of work quality hierarchical and gender level and that discouraging and degrading behavior should be avoided.

    thanks

    well done Rozee pk

  23. Well the article is good but not enough informative….. Much more could have been written. A much more detailed article is required keeping in view the 12 points presented at the start of this article. Each one should be addressed separately…

  24. Nice article.. me too became a victim of workplace bully I hope it will help me alot in the later time.. Thanks Rozee.pk

  25. Good Enough…at least Pakistani companies should read and remember this arcticle rather should place in a frames inside their offices

  26. A very shamefull and a disgrace state especailly in our country where work place harrasment is being reported daily, it seems that we have forgotten the lessons of our elders who has set examples of their extra ordinary characters through conduct.

  27. Tips are great.
    Bullys are in the air, this will help many a one to track down such “bad apples”.

    Good work

  28. what can i say this is the reality and needs to be highlighted on a broader level so that the CEOs of the companies and HR departments should make it into consideration and much flexible paractices can be implemented to stop it and make work enviroment more comfortable and easy to work in..

  29. Well Qasim, I think the topic is very much relevant to our culture as well, specially since we have started adopting the western culture in every other aspect.

    I myself belong to one of companies of this kind.

    Thanks ROZEE for highlighting the topic and giving the TIPS :) …. will definitely try!

  30. Harassment is a very broad topic; lot else could be included in this article as well; just like the previous one (how to be productive @ work). If readers want the details concerning this topic kindly go thru Organizational Behavior by Stephen P. Robbins:)

    This article is not in accordance with our culture (especially Lahoree Culture); things work here differently in this part of the world!!!

  31. Nice article mate. You surely have got lots of knowledge and experience dude. Keep up the gud work. Cheers !!!

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