Suck it in or say “stuff them”? The solution to workplace bullying is not that simple. You need a plan and you need it now.
Bullying is not specific to any one industry, nor sector. Bullying occurs between staff, contractors, volunteers, freelancers, small business owners – anywhere people are working together.
Surveys such as YouGov and other independent surveys show between 29% and 37% of people working in the UK are bullied. That’s about 3 in 10 people – that’s about 3 too many in my book. We spend most of our waking lives at work, having a healthy work environment is essential for wellbeing. The sad fact is, we all know at least one person who has suffered bullying at work, and that has to stop. Now.
In previous blogs we have discussed1) what bullying is, 2) how to manage the stress caused by bullying and 3) how to manage bullies at work.
In this the last blog of the Healthy Transitions Out Of Workplace Bullying series, we are looking at getting your transition plan in place so you can come out the other side healthy, whole and ready to be your best self yet.
What is a transition plan?
Simply put a transition plan is a realistic strategy to help you get through a toxic situation like bullying safely to the other side. Once you’ve realised you are being bullied you will need to take some form of action, the question then becomes what action to take?
A transition plan matters because it gives you the space to not only manage your wellbeing, also allows you to manage your time and resources more effectively, giving yourself the confidence, clarity and motivation you need to get into a better work environment.
How to get a transition plan in place in three steps:
Step 1 – First decide: To Raise a Grievance or Not
The moment you think you may be bullied, you probably are. Speak to you Human Resources team and find out what your organisations policy is on bullying and harassment. Your HR team will guide you through the policies and procedures. Remember to ask them for details of your Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) mentioned in previous blogs. An EAP will give you free access to counselling and other useful support.
At this point it’s best to keep a diary of the bullying instances – record the ‘what, when, who and where’ of the instances. Not all details will be needed but they will be helpful during more formal proceedings. Be mindful as well of your own perceptions and how you would like the issue resolved.
Try remember that not everyone is a determined bully and you wouldn’t want to accuse someone unnecessarily, however unwanted behaviours are not acceptable. Try an informal route first, more often than not that helps ease the tensions, talking is a powerful tool. When you are certain this is determined bullying, then continue on to the formal route.
Formal outcomes could include counselling, mediation and conciliation to help you manage the situation at work and create a framework for what is expected going forwards. You may find these outcomes resolves the issue. If not and you feel there is no other way but to leave, you may also want to get a solicitor, they can advise you through the legalities and help with a tribunal claim if you decide to go all the way.
Whatever you choose is ok
Always think about what you can realistically manage while balancing your own health and wellbeing. Whichever choice you make, you will need a way forward and you will eventually be ok. If you decide to follow the formal grievance route, have a strong support team in place. Make sure you have an accountability coach like me to support you through and to hold the process together for you, totally fair, safe and independent without bias or input from a company or family. Like a guide at your side, just for you, whatever you choose.
Whether you decide to stay, to go or do something else, the tips in this series of blogs will inform your transition plan and coupled with my support, will help you into a safe space.
Step 2 – What options are there?
Remember you will have options and to boil them down into the simplest forms your options are:
- Do nothing (and keep getting the same)
- Stay and deal with the bully
- Leave and find a new job
- Leave and start your own business
Each of these options has its pro’s and con’s. You’ll need to be clear on each.
Whichever of these options you take, you will need to plan your next steps. Upping and leaving your job with no plan is a knee-jerk reaction that could land you in even more disaster than you are in now. The point is to get you safely out of this situation into a better one.
A previous blog mentioned what the stress of bullying does to you – this is why having an independent coach supporting you is crucial. Even if you leave and go to another job, you will take the stress, trauma and anxiety of this bullying experience with you. That is not helpful and may impact how you cope with your new and subsequent jobs.
Have you thought about what your next job is? Have you thought about starting up your own business and showing the world what a good employer looks like? How will you cope?
These are huge questions and trying to manage them on your own is overwhelming, confusing and downright difficult. This is where accountability coaching brings out the answers that are a best fit for you.
Step 3 – Putting your plan together
A bully’s primary goal is to separate you from the safety of the herd. On your own you may feel like gas lighting is happening. You may also feel alone, vulnerable and any other feelings that are less than great. Having your plan in place helps you empower yourself.
Based on the work I have done over the years, each plan is individual to the clients I have been working with, however these six areas (among others) tend to come up the most. I would strongly recommend you look to having as many of these in your plan as possible.
We work together tailoring your plan to your needs, no two plans are exactly the same. Some people may need other techniques, especially with prolonged bullying. These six areas will be a great starting point for you:
- Write your own first aid kit
- Think about your family needs
- Understand your transferable skills
- Set a personal vision, mission and values statement for yourself.
- Think about your finances
- Set a roadmap to success and keep it visual to remind you.
When you create your strategy remember: Accountability coaching keeps you focused on taking consistent and regular actions. Accountability coaching is the magic ingredient to get things done and get you out of toxic situations.
Remember, friends don’t let friends get bullied. If you, or someone you know is being bullied at work, get help. Don’t let a bad situation linger longer than necessary. Support is out there, whether it’s reading all the blogs in this series, listening to our podcast or getting the support you need. Do something and do it now.
Positive change begins with you.
Three things you can do right now to help yourself:
- Leave a comment below with your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you.
- Want to know about having a guide at your side? Book a call with Cheryl-lya to see how she can help.
- Listen to the podcast here: https://anchor.fm/liza-collins/episodes/Episode-6—Healthy-Transition-out-of-Workplace-Bullying-with-Cheryl-lya-Broadfoot-e12270r