Freedom Week: What Can Coworkers Do?
Our many years of immersion in workplace bullying convince us that co-worker witnesses have the best opportunity to stop bullying, second only to employers. However, the chances are passed by.
- Don’t give in to the “F” factor. Stop the fear — of being the only one who comes to your bullied colleague’s assistance, of daring to provoke the bully with an indignant stand, of being the next target, of being called insubordinate if you talk or work with the target person, of losing your job.
- Your bullied friend may be too ashamed to ask for help. So, offer it without having to be asked.
- If all co-workers stood together and immediately confronted the bully AS A GROUP about interfering with work of the target, he or she would most likely back down, if only temporarily. Truth is that this happens in less than 1% of incidents. (see WBI research). And if you stick together, you can’t all be fired (thus overcoming the greatest fear of all).
- Bullies are liars and cowards. They need you to side with them. Don’t agree to do it.
- Comfort the target by sharing your experiences as a former (and probably future) target of the same bully. In the beginning of the bullying, targets believe they are alone and this never happened to anyone before (because co-workers are silent and do not share experiences).
- Provide emotional support if tactical support sounds too scary.
- Reinforce the target’s humanity. While being bullied, targets come to believe the bully’s lies. The group can counter the lies. Be there for your friend. It’s the social compact among human beings.
- Honor humanity; dare the bully to act humanely toward all of you. Read more about why groups do what they do in The Bully At Work.
- Make Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week the excuse to try something different. The results will please you. It will be something you can be proud of. And your targeted colleague will thank you.
Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week sponsored by the Workplace Bullying Institute, is a chance to break through the shame & silence surrounding bullying. It is a week to be daring & bold. Here are different ways to celebrate Freedom Week: