Don't be a bully Don't be these, part 2
In the last Vitals we started on the importance of getting people and ourselves to choose appropriate behaviors at work, more precisely, the importance to share information among personnel to create a unified perception of the reality of the ever-changing risks we endure. However, people in an unfriendly or hostile environment will not openly share information. And to foster information sharing in a workplace, we must eliminate the four "don't be these ways": bad manners, bullying, burnout and blues. This week we will focus on bullying.
Common characteristics of bullying include: rumor spreading, insults, exclusion, unfair treatment, overbearing supervision, unwelcome sexual advances, threatening job security, overloading competent workers, and blocking training opportunities. What about power hierarchy (Doctor> Nurse> Supervisor> Senior Technician> Technician)? Anybody ever pull rank? Bullying is called the "Silent epidemic" and is thought to affect 40% of workers. It is thought to account for half or stress-related workplace illnesses. The saddest reason that bullying is under-reported is the learned tolerance that bullying is a normal part of the culture. There are obvious overlaps between bullying and bad manners. The person who is bullied or treated rudely may experience similar symptoms. Physical symptoms include: sleeplessness, nausea, headaches, palpitations, sweating, loss of appetite, musculoskeletal pain, and lethargy. Where the body leads the mind follows. Emotional symptoms include: anxiety, isolation, loss of confidence, depression, panic attacks, anger, mood swings, lack of motivation, and even suicidal thoughts. Organizations that permit bullying have a culture of abuse rather than a culture of safety. Use the following steps to prevent bullying:
- Look at the organization: Where and how does the bullying occur?
- Create an atmosphere where people can openly raise concerns, before they become a problem.
- Have clear and enforced policies that prevent bullying.
- Make certain that staff members at all levels are adequately trained to recognize and stop bullying.
- Have employee assistance and confidential counseling available.