What are you feeling when you walk through the door of your workplace in the morning?
Next time you go to work, try pausing a moment before you walk through the front door, or even in your car in the parking lot. Try to examine your feelings.
What are you feeling?
Is it a feeling of distant dread? Muted anger? Slight-though-noticeable disappointment?
Sadly, none of these negative feelings would be unusual at all. It’s true that work is work, and shall forever be something we ordinarily wouldn’t choose to do. That’s why we get paid to do it. It’s work.
But that reality shouldn’t add up to a creeping, or overwhelming dread.
If that’s how you’re feeling, it’s possible you are getting bullied in the workplace, and you might not even know it.
The Invisible Bully
Oftentimes, bullying comes in very subtle ways. Your work is negatively compared to that of others – some of whom might not even work there any longer. You’re assigned a task that has proven deceptively challenging to everyone who’s taken it on, but with the expectation that it’s a “piece of cake.” You get nasty stares when notifying coworkers and superiors that you will be taking paid time off to tend to an important personal or family matter. You feel rules are selectively applied to you – rules you know favored employees ignore with impunity. You hear stray comments about the way you dress, or other elements of your personal style.
All of these should sound very familiar to most who have spent years in the workplace. They are manifestations of aggression; statements of dominance. They destroy the collaborative atmosphere that should inhabit every workplace. They cause absences, sickness, poor performance, and retention problems. Eventually, the customer is affected, because everything in a workplace eventually affects the customer.
It Starts with Awareness
Thus, it’s your duty to be aware of bullying in its various forms – even the invisible ones. It starts with asking yourself that simple question at the start of each day, just before opening the door.
“How does this place really make me feel?”
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Be Confident, Be Bold, Be You!
Dr. Christi Monk is the founder of the Workplace Leadership Institute which helps organizations build a culture of “connectedness”. She is also the founder of The Confidence Suite which teaches women how to tap into their core value system so they are more effective, confident and productive contributors in the workplace and their communities. She received her doctoral degree in Management of Organizational Leadership Studies and is certified in Conflict Resolution and Workplace Mediation. Her published work is entitled Workplace Bullying – In Search of a Clearer Definition. Dr. Monk is a certified trainer from the Workplace Bullying Institute.