BULLYING IN ACADEMIA

News

A shocking majority of higher education professionals have most recently reported that they have experienced workplace bullying.

This is significantly higher than the 35% of the general public who, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, report workplace bullying. As discussed at the ACUHO-I annual conference, the consequences of bullying can be costly, both emotionally and financially.

Identifying unhealthy behaviors and learning techniques to manage bullies is critical for employees and managers in higher education.

In many cases, these bullying tactics come from Presidents on down.

Ignore. Don't fight back or sink to the bully's level by exhibiting similar behavior. By engaging the bully, this person has achieved their goal of "getting to you." Either walk away, change the subject or simply disregard the bully knowing that his or her behavior is senseless. Hopefully the bully gets bored and you will no longer be a target.

Confront. There is a chance that the bully may actually not know they are being a bully. This person may think this is normal behavior, and have never been called out on it. You may have to be the first person to address this behavior. Set up a time to talk with this person in a private setting and explain how he or she is making you feel by the bullying behavior. Avoid making "You" statements and try to phrase things in an "I feel" way so the bully won't immediately be defensive. The best case scenario is that the bully will change the behavior after it comes to light.

Prove Yourself. Studies have shown that rather than purposely bullying, some managers sometimes unknowingly place employees into an "in" or "out" group. Make a habit of proving yourself through your work. Show your organizational commitment and go above and beyond what is in your job description. A bully boss could see a different side of you and eliminate his/her behaviors.

Document. If the bully continues to exhibit unprofessional and/or unreasonable behavior, keep a record or log of bullying occurrences noting specifics and, if possible, any witnesses that may have seen or heard the behavior. This could take a matter of months. You may be forced to reference this in the future.

Report. If the bullying continues, you may have to seek assistance from the Human Resources (HR) department. By having the log, it will be much easier to explain the situation and hopefully have HR assist you in the matter to address the bullying situation. If a written anti-bullying policy doesn't exist on your campus, request that your human resources office implement one. The HR department should also encourage each university department to be vigilant in identifying aggressive behavior as well as encouraging civil conduct.

Stay positive. Most importantly, don't doubt yourself, your character or your work ethic. Don't blame yourself if you are a target. Keep your head held high and as the saying goes, keep coll and carry on.

The bullying of academics follows a pattern of horrendous, Orwellian elimination rituals, often hidden from the public. Despite the anti-bullying policies, bullying is rife across campuses, and the victims often pay a heavy price.

"Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence." Leonardo da Vinci

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men or good women do nothing." Winston Churchill.

The bullying of academics follows a pattern of horrendous, Orwellian elimination rituals, often hidden from the public. Despite the anti-bullying policies, bullying is rife across campuses, and the victims often pay a heavy price.

"Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence." Leonardo da Vinci

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men or good women do nothing." Winston Churchill.