According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, bullying at work means “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of a person by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is: threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or work interference or sabotage which prevents work from getting done, or verbal abuse.” The organization further notes, “it is driven by the bully’s or perpetrator’s need to control the targeted individual.”
A study by Career Builder identifies bullies as peers (46%) as well as managers (45%) and sometimes even higher-ups in the organization (25%). Researchers have documented significant consequences of being bullied at work such as sleeplessness, ulcers, severe mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, clinical depression, migraine headaches, relapse of previously controlled addictions and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
There are also serious outcomes for employers, including declines in employee morale and productivity, and increased healthcare costs.
We may think that only “weaklings” get bullied at work, but that is only part of the picture. “Strong” people who are highly intelligent, well-liked and socially acceptable can also get bullied. Some people may be targeted because they are seen as threats to the perpetrators: A co-worker bullies you because you are closer to the boss or you are more knowledgeable or skilled and your co-worker is jealous of you. You may not even know you are being bullied until you start to suffer some of the effects. Read more