Most people agree that we have a bullying problem in the United States. Bullying can occur at school, work, home, or anywhere in between. Often, the media covers bullying that takes place in schools because children are viewed as more vulnerable and the bullying can be hard to escape.
For many bullied school children, they grow up, leave their school behind only to face new or continued bullying in the workplace. Bullying is a very serious matter that can have lasting effects. According to recent research, 60.3 million U.S. workers experience bullying in the workplace. That is approximately 1 in 5 U.S. adults.
With numbers that high, it's well-worth considering how bullies chose their victims and what the effects of bullying are on those affected.
What personality traits do bullies look for in their targets?
The Workplace Bullying Institute conducted a survey where they asked Americans what victims of bullying are like. These are the top 3 answers:
- Compassionate and kind
To understand why a bully would target people who are so enviable, it is helpful to remember that most people who bully suffer from low self-esteem or trauma. Targeting someone who is compassionate and kind and easy to work with is one way a bully can feel superior.
What are the effects of bullying?
Often, those who are great at their jobs or stand out in some way are the ones bullied. Victims are excluded, criticized, ostracized, belittled and intimidated. The effects of workplace bullying can have wide-ranging and devastating effects, including:
- Reduced productivity
- Increased absences
- Undue stress
- Heightened blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Loss of appetite
Victims often feel helpless because bullies are experts at hiding evidence. In instances where the bully is in a heightened position at the company, they may feel so emboldened as to bully in plain sight.
What you can do
Bullying is a serious matter and should not be tolerated. If you are a victim of bullying at work, talk with someone in your human resources department. If that does not help, legal action may be required.