It can be defined as the mistreatment of others motivated by the bully’s personal agenda and is intended to strip down the target’s confidence to have them conform or comply with the bully’s intent. It may sound pretty formal but really, bullying is a form of manipulation and is about control. And just like with school bullying, workplace can have a long term psychological impact on the target and it involves repetitive, aggressive behavior meant to intimidate and control the victim.

It’s also something that can be difficult to talk about or address, but not doing so can cost employers more than they may realize. An article on the Canadian Women’s Health Network states A 2007 survey of bullying targets conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute in the United States found that 45% of the respondents experienced stress-related health problems, including anxiety, panic attacks, sleep problems or depression.

Prolonged exposure to stress in the workplace can lead to other serious health concerns, such as problems related to cardiovascular, neurological and immune system health. Also, targets often decide to quit their jobs and end up trading the stress of bullying for the stress of being unemployed.”

As an employer, I want to ensure that I know what signs to look for so that my employees can feel safe and remain focused on their responsibilities, while enjoying a healthy workplace. When we start to count the costs, both from a monetary and a morale perspective, it is too great to tolerate any form of bullying. We don’t accept it at school and we shouldn’t accept it in our workplace.

Check out my May 20th entry for more information on our upcoming free seminar about workplace bullying.