Counselling for Workplace Bullying and Harassment
Gain Insight - Gain Support - Gain ConfidenceBullying can be described as:
-A destructive process, characterised by a series of hostile acts, which taken separately may be seen as inconsequential, but when repeated may have pernicious effects" - Heinz Leymann 1996
Yes, it is those subtle "hard to put your finger on" experiences that often define workplace bullying.
Bullying is subtle and it can often be hard to identify because it builds up slowly over time. It may start as an occasional put down or it may be a snarky comment but the frequency and intensity often increases over time.
Harassment, is "unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual" (ACAS 2012). Harassment will focus on a specific characteristic such as sex, sexuality, race and religion (protected meaning that it is covered by law).
Workplace bullying is an insidious and destructive process that has a detrimental impact on the mental and physical health of the target. It is an expensive process for an organisation as it results in loss of productivity and stifles creativity, and may possibly damage the reputation of the organisation.
It has no place in the modern workplace but sadly it persists because people struggle to identify it and then instigate a solution.
Are you experiencing workplace bullying?
- Do you dread going into work particularly are you dreading working with a particular individual?
- Are you in a state of anxiety throughout most of the day such that you find it difficult to focus on your work?
- Are you aware of avoiding particular people at work?
- Do you think nobody will believe you if you were to tell them what is happening to you?
What does workplace bullying involve?The typical hostile acts include being given an excessive workload or given work beneath the individual’s capabilities or beyond their capabilities (without training). Acts of misinformation and omission that prevent the employee doing their job effectively and excessive criticism of their work.
Other bullying behaviours that impact the person will include isolation of the individual from others, being ignored, being spoken over, having opinions ignored. There are also provocative behaviours which include being ridiculed, insulted and humiliated and acts relating to the target’s lifestyle and personal appearance, such as being the butt of jokes and criticism.
Finally, there are those acts which are also directly threatening and intimidating, such as verbal and physical assaults to the person or their property.
A key feature of bullying is the occurrence of many small incidents that taken in isolation might appear inconsequential, but over time the accumulation of these negative acts has the most destructive impact on the target’s health,
Getting help and supportIf you are dreading work, or if you have been signed off with stress as a result of events at work then you might consider counselling.
I offer a confidential counselling environment where you can be safe in the knowledge that the content of what you tell me will not be passed on to any member of your organisation.
My counselling approach is designed to help you understand what might be going on in this toxic process, e.g.. why you are anxious and and how to get your confidence back. My approach is based on up to date research and I have a substantial knowledge of the subject. I use the concepts of Transactional Analysis to explain the nature of the interaction.
When you understand what is going on you will feel more aware of the situation and you will be better able to respond to the perpetrator.
With regard to the clients who have come to counselling, many have reported feeling better and more confident and ultimately they felt able to make helpful decisions about their situation.
When you work with me, you will gain insight and knowledge of your situation (the two things a bully lacks) which will empower you and help you to effectively tackle the problem.
This is a safe space to explore your situation so please don't suffer in silence. Bullying is a horrible toxic process which will not get better on its own. Do not be put off if you have signed a confidentiality agreement with your employer; since I am required to maintain confidentiality I will not reveal the content of our sessions. In fact I do not even need to know the name of your organisation.
(Please note I offer a counselling service and I am not qualified to offer legal advice regarding workplace bullying).
What people might say to you?
If you contact HR or another line manager or union representative, they should listen respectfully and offer constructive support to help you? But sometimes they might not be so helpful; here are some common excuses you may be given:
1. That's just your perception, nobody else has a problem with X: Are you sure you aren't just being oversensitive?
It is irrelevant if you are oversensitive or not. If you feel intimidated - you feel intimidated. If they want your perception to alter then the other person will have to change their behaviour.
2. Oh don't you think it's just a personality clash?
Again don't accept that as an excuse; lots of people have clashing personalities some of them even end up happily married to each other!
Bullying is about BEHAVIOUR; everything you list will be either something that has been said or done (or not said or done.) Negative Behaviour can be changed and Personality has nothing to do with it. Many organisations have difficult people working or them but they do not bully others.
3. Perhaps [the bully] is under a lot of pressure just now – we all are.
Actually this could be a fair comment: The bully is probably under a lot of pressure and they are responding to that stress by acting abrasively; frequently some people go on the attack if they are being pressurised by the organisation, it's no excuse but you can express sympathy and understanding but perhaps they should be helping the bully too.
In fact there is a solution! Check out my Executive Coaching Website aimed at tackling the issue by coaching the abrasive manager