Friday, August 10, 2012

Banishing the Bullies

Whether the bully in question is a school teacher, a boss, a friend or even a member of the family, if you are on the receiving end it really can make your life a misery.

The constant and relentless barrage of verbal or physical abuse, can wear a person down so much, they can’t even see a way out.

There is no need to live in fear of a bully, and there are many different kinds of initiatives being developed for every type of bullying out there. If you are, or someone you know is being harassed, I give you some examples of how to deal with it...

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Praise them
Secondary schools in Scotland are taking a new look at what motivates bullies to behave the way they do.

They have bought in a system of secondary school rewards and praise methods, recognising good behaviour formally and publicly, so everyone knows about it.

Reward systems are not new as such, and you might be wondering what this has to do with bullying.

Well, research shows that bullies typically have very low self esteem and by teachers paying close attention to the good work and good things that the bullies do, they can be publicly rewarded for these acts and then their confidence in themselves will grow.

This results in a happy ex-bully and of course a great relief to the victims.

For it to be successful, all the teachers must be singing from the same hymn sheet, as it were. So, time spent setting up the system and explaining its function is essential. It will be regularly monitored to ensure consistency is maintained.

Essentially, the praise must be genuine in order for it to ring true with the teenagers, and in a school culture which might say that to be a “swot” or teacher’s pet is bad, and that to be cool and macho is the done thing, you need the praise to ignite some pride in them – not have it knocked back.

Face facts
Bullying in the workplace is unacceptable. No-one wants to have to face their oppressor every day, especially when it starts affecting their work standard and may result in loss of job.

Often, the put downs and intimidation is done in front of other work colleagues, therefore turning them against the victim.

It can take many forms, such as racial or sexual harassment, but can also be covert, such as being constantly harangued, blamed for other peoples mistakes, given so much work that it cannot possibly be completed, thus setting you up to fail, or physically and/or verbally abused.
Maybe these can happen on email or fax, as well as face to face.

Luckily, there are laws in place to cover discrimination and harassment in the workplace. If you feel that you, or someone you know, are suffering in this way, then first of all get advice.
This may be from a Union representative, a Human Resources member, or a manager or supervisor. (Of course, things can get difficult if it’s the manager or supervisor who is bullying you, but if necessary go above them within the company).

Your employer has a “duty of care” when your at work, and safety from bullying comes under that umbrella.

It is advised that the victim speaks to the bully, to make it clear how their behaviour makes them feel. Maybe the bully is really not aware of how bad their behaviour is. Ask them to not do it. If it continues, you will have a case. Keep all incidents written down in a dairy, with dates and details.

Then, if you wish to raise a formal complaint, you will be well armed. Ask for the company’s grievance procedure and follow it to a tee.

Have you ever been a victim of bullying? Perhaps you were the bully and wish to explain your motives. Please share here.

Elise Lévêque is an ambitious freelance translator with a passion for anything and everything social media. She can often be found sipping on a latté, and wandering the city with her Lomo camera on the hunt for the newest piece of controversial art. There are few things she loves more than her freedom, and she loves to blog for Carrot Rewards in her spare time.

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