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Sep 21, 2023

Many bullies in the schools do not really know what kind of long term impacts they are causing for the victims. They are often told that “bullying is bad – it is not an acceptable behavior in the school. There will be punishment if the bullying continues”. I think the results will be far better if the school officials made sure that the bullies truly understood the long term impact bullying can have on the victims.

Telling them that it is not an acceptable behavior and even handing out some punishment might be a short term solution, but I believe those things do not bring about long term change. Those steps can act as deterrents for a while, but sooner or later the bully gets back to his or her old tricks. That is why it is important to do something that can create a long term change. And based on the feedback I have received over the years from my presentations, I do believe that it is possible to help them make some permanent changes.

First of all, the bullies really need to understand what kind of long term negative impact bullying can have on victims. Most of the school bullies are not aware of this. They think it’s all for some harmless fun at the expense of others. But they don’t really understand that it is not at all “harmless” like they think it is. If they had a good understanding of the life-long devastating impact it can bring to the victims, most bullies will stop continuing the mistreatment. Also, it is really important to work with the parents of the bullies. If the bullies can have a reasonable home life, their actions while at school will be more positive.

Sep 14, 2023

I continue to believe that it is important for victims of workplace bullying to stand up and fight against it. Most organizations would at least have someone in management who would be willing to listen to you and do something about it. If not, then there are government organizations that one can go to for assistance in these matters.

Most employees within the Human Resource departments across the country are now well trained in dealing with the issues of bullying and harassment in the workplace. They know that it can be a significant issue for the company if reports of bullying and harassment are not handled properly. Most HR personnel are now well trained in establishing processes and procedures to handle complaints of this nature. In fact I have heard about cases where specific employees were told that they might be fired if their behavior did not change.

However, in smaller companies the situation can be very different. First of all, many small companies cannot afford to have an HR department. And when they do have one, it is not always managed by a trained HR professional. In the story in my book titled “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”, the organization I had my problems with had an HR department, but I don’t believe the director had a lot of experience in these matters. I needed to work with my employee union and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to get some resolution.

Sep 08, 2023

As the new school year rolls in, we need to make a firm resolution to continue our efforts to prevent bullying in our schools across the country. There are still many schools out there where bullying continues to be a problem. We simply cannot afford to allow the devastating long term impact it can have on victims.

If you want to stop something you would need to place a high priority on it and put in dedicated efforts in achieving success. Many schools do identify bullying prevention as one of their key objectives, but they don’t really place a high enough priority on this issue. Many schools have programs in place, but they don’t often follow up on identified issues and therefore bullying still continues.

Children become aware very quickly if the school staff is serious about something or not. If the school staff truly wanted to stop bullying in their schools, I believe most students will get the message and adjust their behaviors accordingly. I believe that school staff are still not taking full responsibility in trying to eradicate bullying. And I think that is because of the fact that many school staff members do not fully understand the possible long term negative impact on victims of bullying. That is the reason why school staff need to be trained properly to be able to understand what bullying can do to victims over the rest of their lives.

Sep 01, 2023

Most of the time bullying and harassment in the workplace takes place simply because the manager/supervisor is not well trained in being able to handle the various issues that typically come up when there are a number of employees involved. Some companies do recognize this need and provide the necessary training to the managers and supervisors. However, there are many businesses where no such training is provided.

If you need people to get your work done, then you must know how to deal with people. A manager’s job is to make sure that an employee puts in the best effort possible to get his or her work done in the most satisfactory manner. But at the same time, it is also important for the manager/supervisor to make sure that the employees are happy in doing their work. If employees are unhappy then their work output becomes unsatisfactory and eventually the work environment becomes negative.

One way to keep employees happy and engaged in their work is to make sure their work environment remains positive. That is why it is critical to make sure there is no bullying and/or harassment going on in the workplace. If an employee is having to face bullying and/or harassment either from the supervisor or from another employee, his or her work performance will certainly suffer. Since the goal at a work place is to make sure work performance is the highest possible, it is critical to make sure no bullying or harassment takes place in the workplace.

Aug 25, 2023

After speaking at various schools around the country I am of the firm opinion that children really understand what I talk about. They really get the point that bullying can have significant negative impact on the victims for many years into the future and can get them derailed from their original tracks. I have received many emails from children following my presentations. We just need to continue to communicate with them.

Many kids get into bullying other kids simply because their own lives are not at a good place. Often they feel like no one values them at their own homes – so they need to show at school that they have some power. It gives them recognition that they crave so badly. Many bystanders watch bullying happening, and that adds to the perception of power for the bully. The bullies feel that everyone notices them and therefore they have a solid standing at school.

But most of these bullies do not really know how bad things can be for the victims in the long run. They do the bullying without thinking about the possible long term impact on the victims. When I present to a group of children, I make the point to describe to them the significant impact it has had on my life, and I also make the point that there are many others like me who are still suffering silently. When they look at me, they see someone who has gone through this himself. It is not just another speaker telling them that bullying is not a good thing. I have received several emails from bullies who have told me that after listening to my presentation they have stopped bullying others. That proves to me that with proper guidance most of these bullies can be turned around.

Aug 17, 2023

Company owners and CEOs can do a lot to eradicate bullying and harassment in the workplace. This should be a key mandate given to the Human Resources department. If upper management makes it very clear to everyone that this is one of top priorities for the company, then it can be possible to develop and maintain a bully-free positive work environment.

Most professional HR personnel have training and expertise in this area. If the CEO/Owner of the firm gives a mandate to the HR team about making sure the organization creates and maintains a positive bully-free environment, the professional HR team can typically achieve that goal. They just have to put in appropriate processes and procedures in place so employees are able to openly address any issues that might come up.

If the employees know that if they face any bullying or harassment at work they can approach the HR department and if the HR department follows through with appropriate investigations, most employees will feel good about the company. Maybe the HR department will need to put together some mandatory training for all employees and supervisors so everyone is aware of the company mandate and the associated processes and procedures. But the bottom line is that it all starts with the upper management (i.e., CEO/Owner) making it clear to everyone that bullying/harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated and asks the HR department to make sure the processes are implemented appropriately.

Aug 10, 2023

Parents have a key role in making sure that their children are not acting out as bullies at schools. This requires a lot of coordination between school staff and the community of parents. Schools that have a stronger connection with the parents are able to do a better job of maintaining a safe and positive environment for all children.

Parents can be helpful in a number of ways. First of all, it is important for parents to make sure their child does not feel bullied at home. When I had my encounter (in adult years) with my worst bully from school days, one of the things he had said was that he felt bullied at home, by parents and by siblings. Children who feel bullied at home can often turn into bullies at school. As I travel around the country for my speeches, I have now come to know many individuals who had turned themselves into bullies at schools simply because they had felt bullied at home.

Secondly, parents should try to make sure the children do not grow up with the “boys will be boys” attitude. They should not take the issue of bullying lightly and directly or indirectly communicate to the children that bullying is not a big issue. In fact they should try their best to make sure their children understand that bullying can have significant psychological impact on victims for many years of their lives and can cause enormous disruption.

And finally, parents should work closely with school staff to make sure a safe environment can be maintained at schools for all children.

Aug 02, 2023

Bullying in the workplace will continue as long as employees continue to decide not to fight back. If the workplace bullies never face any opposition then they start to believe that their oppressive ways are working and they continue their irresponsible behavior. That is why I had decided to fight back.

Fighting back is hard and there is always the risk of getting terminated. However, the risk is much less if one takes small steps in the process. One of the first steps is to talk to the Human Resources Department about this. If nothing changes and bullying continues, then go back to the HR department again and put in another complaint. And the most important thing is to document all the steps along the way, including copies of email exchanges and other communications. If there are other witnesses who might have watched the bullying, then one needs to make sure to identify those people in the complaints to HR.

If after 2 or 3 such requests to HR, there is still no change in the bullying behaviors, then it will be important to report this to the state’s Human Rights Department or to the Equal Employment Opportunity department. At any of these steps, if the company decides to terminate the employee, that can make their situation even worse with the government departments. It is true that a company can fire an employee at any time, but if there is a trail of documentation that shows that the company has not been taking any steps in correcting the problem and instead decided to get rid of the employee, the company will have a difficult legal situation on their hands.

Jul 28, 2023

Bullying in the workplace happens for a variety of reasons. But it all comes down to the bully (in most cases the manager or the supervisor) needing to feel in full control of the situation. In my case the supervisor clearly had an unpleasant personal life that she talked about a lot at the workplace. She felt that bullying employees at the workplace gave her the power she did not have in her personal life.

It is true that there are many people out there whose personal lives are not always happy and well settled, but they all do not end up bullying other people at work. However, if the person is someone who needs to have control of all aspects of his or her personal life and feels unable to achieve that control, it is likely that the unfulfilled “need to have control” will spill over on to the workplace.

My supervisor used to talk about her ‘not so positive’ personal life issues in front of all employees on a very regular basis. It was very clear to all employees that she was not happy with things at home and needed to have an outlet. By nature she was not an easy person to communicate with – but I believe her personal issues had made things even worse. I believe that if she was getting help from a therapist for her personal issues and if she had received training at the workplace about how to communicate with the employees, she could have been a decent manager without having to depend on bullying others.

Jul 20, 2023

Before the pandemic I had an opportunity to speak at the Utah School Counselors Association conference in Ogden, UT, on the topic of “PTSD from bullying triggers obsessive compulsive disorder”. This was another opportunity to make the point to a group of school counselors that bullying during school years can lead to devastating mental illness for victims.

Many school counselors do understand the possible significant long term impact of bullying. However, I am aware that there are still some school staff members who do not believe that bullying can cause any significant long term damage. They believe that once you are out of school, whatever happened during the school years fade away quickly. Unfortunately that is not the case for many victims of bullying.

Every child has his or her unique personality. There are some children who can ignore the bullying and can move on without allowing it to impact themselves. They are the lucky ones. But there are many others who are not able to ignore it, and consequently, have to live with the long term impact. It’s not their fault that they are not able to ignore the bullying. The responsibility does not fall on them. The responsibility of maintaining a safe school environment falls on all school staff and the parents. It is critical that ALL school staff understand that ALL children deserves a non-threatening school environment.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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