The frequency of workplace bullying is usually underrated by most of us. This is because the signs of workplace bullying are generally subtle and often times feel like dealing with normal work stress. Most Managers want to believe that their workplace is free from bullying, but a report from Yourerc says at least one among four workers is dealing with workplace bullying. According to WBI, over 60 million U.S. employees were affected by workplace bullying in 2017, with 61% perpetrators as bosses.

Workplace bullying is a persistent mistreatment pattern from others in the workplace. Its effect is either an emotional or physical harm, and the patterns may be physical abuse, verbal or nonverbal, humiliation or psychological.

The level of authority possessed by managers usually blindfolds workers from identifying when a boss is bullying. And sometimes deny managers the access to knowing when they overstep their bounds. Co-workers may also become bully usually when there's a rift or some sort of jealousy. Below are 10 signs of workplace bullying; all can result in emotional reactions and anxiety. These signs will be useful in identifying when one is dealing with workplace bullying.

1) Ignoring, isolation and exclusion

This happens when someone is excluded internationally from meetings, discussion, conversations, decisions or work-related activities. And purposely ignoring or avoiding someone's contribution to a team, making the target to feel the isolated purposely.

2) Undue criticism

Constantly raising unreasonable criticism on the target, imposing a feeling of guilt or shame, and making the employee feel s/he is always producing unworthy jobs. This form of bullying is also to give inadequate appraisal to ensure the employee is criticized.

3) Projection of blame and taking credits

Always shifting the blames to one or more employees each time there's a failure and taking undeserved credits when things go right is a workplace bullying. Workers who are always used as scapegoats during misfortunes even when they are part of the failure are bullied.

4) Creating a feeling of uselessness

Constantly making an employee feel underused when they always get unfavourable responsibilities or tasks or least assignments. Reluctantly communicate with employees about their progress or work.

5) Deception

Deliberately withholding information or providing the wrong information. Not telling the truth to get ones way. This workplace bullying may also surface in form of issuing false hopes and abusing information to play down on employees.

6) Undermining work

Repeatedly and intentionally blocking or delaying employee's success, progress on an assignment or project and betraying them. Giving others projects you have already promised an employee, undermining and alternating your support for them.

7) Creating hostility among colleagues

Creating conflict between two or more employees and encouraging backstabbing. Supporting an employee to take revenge on minor issues they may have overlooked. Publicly ranking of employees and having underperformed employees stigmatized.

8) Minimizing

To constantly dismiss employee’s works without standard reasons or any significant issue. Playing down on an employee's challenges or failing to address it appropriately.

9) Setting impossible expectations

Workplace bullying also involves asking employees to establish targets not possible if evaluated using viable simulations. Some dumb office rules are also subtle forms of bullying at workplace.

10) Role manipulation and inconsistency

Changing employee's responsibilities or duties without any justification, or changing guidelines for a task without reasons are part of workplace bullying.

2 Responses

  1. Kathy Stirling

    I recently had to take early retirement from the NHS as a person I worked with had been bullying me for two years. I couldn’t take any more of her comments. eg. “Is that all you’ve done” you are useless” also “think yourself lucky you still have a job” I reported this many many times to the manager with no effect. I now believe I have PTSD. I can’t get a job because I have panic attacks, heart palpatations, anger and fear issues, isolating myself from my family. I lost all my confidence. All because one person didn’t like me. What can I do.

    • Yvonne

      Hi Kathy,
      How awful to hear of what you went through, you are not alone, bullying in the NHS is rife, I am going through a situation where my colleague of 8 years has stabbed me in the back because she wants my job, she has told lies all of which I have proved her to be wrong, but HR would rather believe her, this has been going on for 18 months now, I am the type of person who digs in my heels and I am determined that I will fight against this injustice and not let her get away with her vile lies.


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