Usually, the majority of my artwork is based on kindness, wellbeing and empowerment. Despite trying to encourage this in the workplace, I am aware bullying does happen. Many “NHS scandals” I have read have been linked to a toxic culture centred around bullying. Bullying can cause staff to feel demotivated, scared and do things they might not have ordinarily done. It can also mean they don’t speak up, voice concerns or learn from mistakes. This can lead to terrible mistakes and harm to patients.
Kindness is at the heart of the work I promote, but equally, for this to grow, things like bullying need to be addressed. Having said this, many times, it is unintentional and worth addressing direct with the individual. Sometimes, it is systemic, deep rooted and so severe that addressing it direct without proper thought and process could make things worse for the individual. There are people you can go to and options you can explore.
Here is my latest pictorial aimed at helping people know what steps to take when they feel bullied. How we feel directly affects performance and outcomes. Emotions at work are so important. Understanding the difference between bullying and conflict is equally important – you don’t want to accuse someone of bullying when infant it was just a disagreement. Disagreements can be healthy, it’s good to have different opinions and feel confident in sharing/debating them. Bullying is specifically negative targeted behaviour using power, control and influence over others to directly affect them in a negative way.
One last thought, which is important, bullying isn’t just “Manager to Employee” it is important to acknowledge it can be the other way round. Bullying is not limited to someone’s job title or status, it is behaviour related.