Bullied in The Workplace? Here Are A Few Reasons Why You Might Be A Target.
No one likes a bully. Their mean, annoying and can cause total chaos. Now bullying has moved beyond the schoolyard and entered the workplace. When you’re the victim of a bully, it can leave you with the question of, ‘why me?’
Here are some of the main reason’s you may be the target of a bully at work.
1. You’re Skilled at Your Job
One of the most common reasons you may be targeted in the workplace is because you’re really good at your job. You go the extra mile and are receiving positive attention for the work you do. This should be a great feeling but can put a huge bullseye on your back. This can be seen as a real threat to a bully, especially if they’re not that great at their job. It can make them feel inferior and jealous, and they will take out their insecurities on you.
2. You’re Non-Confrontational and Introverted
Being a bit reserved or shy is not necessarily a bad thing at work, but unfortunately, it can be an attractive feature for bullies. Research has shown that people who are extroverted or assertive are much less likely to be bullied and that introverts often have a slower response to bullying, which can allow it to escalate.
3. Stereotyping or Prejudice
Bullies like to single out people who are different. It’s usually one of the easiest ways for them to find a target. Studies have also found that many bullies just want to work with people who are similar to themselves. This means that unfortunately people are typically targeted based on their gender, race, age, sexual orientation or religion.
4. Physical Features
As juvenile as it sounds, bullies will target people because of their physical features, much like the days of the playground. If you’re short, tall, thin, overweight or have unique personal style, then you may be targeted.
5. You’re Nice
Research shows that people who are nice, honest and ethical are often targeted by bullies. They see their job as more than just a job and try to get along with everyone. Qualities that make you a great employee like this, are attractive to bullies. The bully may be jealous of the fact you are well liked and have such a positive attitude. They can also see you as easy prey.
What Can You Do?
So you know why you’re being targeted, but now what? You should never feel that you have to change who you are, the way you look or your personality in order to appease a bully. But there are steps you should take.
Make sure you set limits and boundaries with the bully. Tell them to stop the bullying behaviour and try to avoid them. Always ensure your mental health is taken care of, whether that means talking to friends or family about the bullying or seeking professional help.
Try reaching out to a union. Having representation in the workplace means that someone has your back at all times, especially against a bully. Unions have grievance procedures and shop stewards in your workplace to ensure that bullying won’t be tolerated.
Keep a record of the bullying and tell a supervisor or human resources about it. If that doesn’t work seek outside help by contacting Occupational Health and Safety or the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
The most important thing to remember is you’re not alone and there are lots of options to deal with it.
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