We all need to speak up and take a stand against workplace harassment and bullying of any kind. Here are some things we can do when we experience or witness inappropriate behaviour at work:
- Take responsibility. Assume responsibility for not only your own health and wellbeing but also that of other people you work with. Care when someone is being mistreated and make it your responsibility to take a stand.
- Pick your battles. Let’s face it, some less than ideal behaviours can be glossed over. However, others need to be strongly challenged. Never accept behaviours that are having a serious detrimental impact to you or others. Sexual harassment and bullying fall into that category.
- Speak up. Let people know how their behaviour impacts other people. As tempting as it may be, staying silent is never a good choice when the wellbeing of people is being undermined. It can take a great deal of courage, but it’s critical that you find the strength to voice your concerns.
- Be direct. Honesty is critical to building awareness and influencing the behaviour of a bully. Clearly communicate what behaviour needs to stop and request that happen immediately. Avoid lowering the standard of your own behaviour – don’t yourself become rude or aggressive.
- Focus on tough love. In some instances, your ‘push back’ will help the perpetrator to understand their behaviour is wrong and harmful. That’s only likely to happen if you are honest about your concerns, but also deliver your feedback respectfully.
- Ask for support. If you don’t feel comfortable or able to challenge a bully directly, ask for support from your manager, a colleague or HR. It can be difficult, but it’s important you don’t leave bullying unaddressed for fear of confronting the issue.
- Ask your employer about your workplace Bullying & Harassment Policy and request that this is regularly made available to all workers.
- Seek help externally. If you have no one to turn to at work, or if the organisation you work for does not take your complaints seriously, consider looking for help elsewhere, such as EAP Assist.