"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." If only that were true. As it is, words can be extremely hurtful, whether they're delivered by a surly schoolmate when we're young or a cocky coworker later in life.
According to a 2007 Zogby International survey, nearly 37% of workers (or about 54 million people), have been bullied or repeatedly mistreated at work. What’s worse, bullying is on the rise. ValueOptions®, an independent behavioral health and wellness company, reports a spike in people accessing the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) due to on-the-job bullying and other aggressive behavior.
“At work, bullying can be less obvious [then on the playground] and occur over a long period of time, resulting in extreme stress and anxiety for the employee,” says Rich Paul, vice president of Health & Performance Solutions at ValueOptions. The ongoing stress can lead to physical and mental health problems, a drop in job performance and more sick days away from the office.
The top five tactics used by workplace bullies are:
1. Falsely accusing someone of errors that weren’t made
2. Staring, intimidating or otherwise showing hostility
3. Discounting a person’s thoughts during a meeting
4. Using the silent treatment to isolate
5. Exhibiting unpredictable mood swings in front of a group
As with other forms of harassment, employers are responsible for taking a zero-tolerance position against bullying and just as important, educating employees on the words and actions that can get them in trouble. Prevent workplace bullying with Harassment-Free Workplace – Take Control, an engaging, easy-to-use, four-module DVD training program.