Bullying is abuse that needs to be stopped. However, most individuals and organizations are unsure of how to tackle it, which is why we have provided a step-by-step guide to ensure zero bullying in your organization. These must be carried out on two levels:
- At the level of prevention (pre-event)
- At the level of cure (post-event)
Organizing talks and lectures for employees and staff on what bullying is, its forms and degrees, and most importantly, why it is unacceptable in your organization and the ways your organization plans to tackle it, is the first step. However, it is important to have these conversations in a manner that does not make silent victims feel ashamed, small, or judged.
After making everyone aware that bullying is a big no-no in your organization, it's time to form an official and public no-tolerance policy for bullying within the organization. Instead of putting out a vague, one-line statement, your organization must draft a comprehensive no-tolerance policy that explains what constitutes bullying, its various degrees, and how bullies will be dealt with as part of this policy. This policy must be revised from time to time.
Set up an anti-bullying cell
An anti-bullying cell that ensures zero bullying and accountability at every level within your organization is necessary. Make sure this cell is equipped with professionals with the correct knowledge of legal and technical procedures to support the victim both, during and after the abuse has taken place. The procedure of reporting an incident must also be simple, and easy, and confidentiality must be maintained to ensure maximum reportage.
Carry out a survey
Often, the victim refuses to come forward and report the bullying for various reasons. This gap is filled by conducting an anonymous survey to gauge how many persons would identify as victims of some form of bullying within the organization. You could also focus on areas such as the regularity of bullying, the areas, degree, and suggestions to tackle. Of course, this survey would not be foolproof, but would provide important insights that will help you to proceed.
Generally, there are four degrees of bullying:
- Light or passive bullying involves the passing of subtle remarks or jokes that sound disrespectful, sarcastic or off-handed, and cold.
- Intimidation involves mocking, targeting an individual from amongst a group, passing openly derogatory remarks about one’s background, race, qualifications, or abilities, light physical shoving, etc. The aim here is to permanently intimidate the individual.
- Threatening is when the victim begins to feel threatened by the bully's behavior due to repeated harassment or feels a bigger impending physical or mental danger that may be likened to torture.
- Aggressive bullying is when the bullying behavior is outrightly physical, involves threats, and may border on/violate the rights and dignity of the victim.
Organize an anti-bullying month and speak-up initiatives at your organization during which talks and lectures or nukaad nataks, a popular creative form may be performed to tackle bullying. You could invite survivors from outside the organization to share their stories.
Your organization’s anti-bullying month should not be the only time of the year when bullying is addressed. Organize regular assertiveness training sessions. According to the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, “Assertiveness can be defined as communication in which one expresses oneself directly and honestly in interpersonal situations, while simultaneously respecting the dignity of others.”
Business as usual?
All of the above initiatives are ultimately useless if your organization shrinks back from actually taking action. When a complaint is filed, make sure it is thoroughly investigated and if the bully is found guilty, strict action must be taken against them. This is necessary and cannot be compromised, because any leniency on the part of the organization will serve to strengthen the bully.
Set up support groups within the organisation
Support groups are the best way to let victims know that they are not alone and that help is available. Support groups would also help to mobilize collective support in fighting bullying, something which bullies are often afraid of since they tend to look for ‘easy targets’ such as loners. Support groups be maneuvered by a professional to ensure maximum benefit for each member of the group.
Therapy for survivors
Often survivors of bullying are unable to find or afford the correct support they need. Your organization’s anti-bullying stance would be strengthened even more if it went the extra mile and provided therapy and counseling services to survivors via in-house mental-health professionals.
Bullying can take a mental and physical toll. If you are a victim of bullying or if you know someone who has experienced bullying in the workplace or otherwise, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. We, at Manah Wellness, offer counseling and therapy services through our team of expert mental health professionals. In addition to that, we provide tools such as the Manahverse that provide access to a variety of self-care tools and resources so that you don’t have to navigate the path to recovery alone.