Anyone who has been bullied in the workplace knows how distressing it can be, particularly when you're not in a position to defend yourself. But it can be equally as distressing for those having to witness the bullying of a person you care about, whether it's a loved one or a work colleague.
Or, perhaps you're only seeing the aftermath of the bullying as a friend or relative comes home and recounts the day's worst moments.
Karen Gately, leadership and people management expert, told The Huffington Post Australia it's a good idea to remind the bullying victim that they don't deserve to be treated badly. You should also encourage them to stick up for themselves.
"Bullying is a reflection of other people's conduct. We do not bring bullying upon ourselves. Bullying is behaviour that's targeted and has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. It's dangerous for the victim to start contemplating whether they've done something wrong," Gately said.
"As a friend, you need to encourage professional support and advice, reminding them that it's not their fault. They need to set a clear line in the sand as to what behaviour they will or won't accept from other people."
Rowdy McLean, international keynote speaker, business and leadership consultant told HuffPost Australia we should never let bullies get away with their behaviour.
"If we let them get away with it, it will undoubtedly repeat itself and can show up in more serious forms. You must support your colleague. Let them know you have got their back. Then, let someone with the authority to fix it, know about it, even if your friend doesn't want to do anything about it," McLean said.
"Let your loved know that they have your support. Report the bully, there are numerous channels both in the workplace and outside the workplace to report bullying behaviour. Do not let it continue. Do not let your friend or loved one let it continue."
Gately advises bullying victims to say to the bully, "I don't appreciate that behaviour, please stop."
"You need to let them know about the impact they're having on you. But, if it persists you go to your boss. If they're not willing or able to hold the bully accountable ,then you need to go to Fair Work. But, sadly, a lot of people before they get to that point, choose to walk away as it's incredibly stressful and impacts on overall health and well being," Gately said.
But what if the boss is the bully? If that's the case, McLean advises people to walk away.
"It's not a place you will want to work long term anyway. The old days of command and control are long gone and if you are in an organisation that still practices this style of leadership, you're in an organisation that simply will not survive in the future," McLean said.
"While the leader is power tripping on their ego, the business is burning. However, if you get out you should still go through the channels of reporting her or him, both internally and externally. It might just be the straw that breaks the camel's back and inspires someone to act to stop others being bullied."
McLean has a final word for any bully that might be reading this:
"You can be sure that somewhere, sometime someone, bigger, stronger and smarter is coming to get you, and the result will not be pretty! Time to change your game, before the game gets messy."
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