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A Reality Check About Workplace Bullying

The topic of bullying isn’t new as many individuals have either been bullied, knew someone who was bullied, heard about someone being bullied, or were a witness to someone being bullied.

Over the past several years, there’s an increased interest and heightened awareness about the perils of bullying.  However, the issue of workplace bullying hasn’t really received its proper attention and focus --- but this appears to be changing.

Recently, workplace bullying has received increased attention because of the alleged case of a National Football League (NFL) player - Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins - who left his team after some bullying incidents he experienced became so intolerable that he could no longer remain on the team.

Some might suggest that the things that happened to Mr. Martin are a normal part of the process to become an integrated member of a professional sports team.  Furthermore, others might suggest that the things that happened to Mr. Martin aren’t that big of a deal and he just needs to become tougher.  This might be true, but Mr. Martin didn’t make these choices to become tougher someone else made these choices for him.

These types of decisions are made for individuals – without their participation – in offices around the world at a cost to the targets of workplace bullying.

Bullying is an act of power and these attacks can be exponentially more significant for individuals who must make a decision between fighting for their rights and the potential loss of a job.  It’s important to note that it can be very difficult to combat workplace bullying --- especially if a bully has any input into a target’s performance reviews, promotions, or other work life issues.

These considerations are some of the most significant reasons that individuals reluctantly choose to remain silent about workplace abuse, which can also lead to other challenges such as: emotional turmoil, weight loss, substance abuse, or other factors.

Notwithstanding these individual outcomes, the reason that workplace bullying isn’t reported more often is that individuals will sometimes change managers or leave an organization to stop the abuse.

Governments, organizations, corporate leaders, managers, employees, and targets of workplace bullying must take action to combat and prevent any type of abuse which makes any individual feel less than their worth.

award-winning educator, mental health advocate, social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, author/writer, program executive, and radio host