One of the many problems with bullying, is that most people don’t report it.
Targets of bullying, know that it is difficult to prove – so do the bullies, who are usually very clever people, able to keep their behaviours covert.
When bullying is reported, it may be investigated, and without “proof” goes unsubstantiated. This creates further harm to the target, who then becomes a victim. The bully becomes more powerful as a result.
When people think they won’t be believed, they hesitate to report, especially if the bully is in a greater position of power, or virtually untouchable.
When they do report and it goes unsubstantiated, the bullying often gets worse, the victim suffers psychologically and/or physically effects, becomes unproductive at work and may leave the organisation. A toxic culture often results.
Effective workplace training for all employees from the CEO to the most junior is essential. Training is not not all equal and it needs to focus on behaviour change, resilience as well as policies and codes of conduct.Training needs to be customised for each group and ongoing.
Bystanders need to be empowered to help and become upstanders who assist when they witness bullying.
Training needs to be part of the induction process and ongoing to ensure workers don’t become complacent.
For really toxic workplaces an independent reporting line like interMEDIATE Dispute Management’s Bully Response Hotline, enables workers to report confidentially, with confidence that their report will be responded to appropriately and effectively.