Sometimes the workplace can be a minefield, especially for those prone to anxiety or perfectionism. Performance reviews, pressure to meet deadlines or deliver in a team, or simply wanting to make a good impression. Emotional stumbling blocks like these can make the workplace feel hostile even when it isn’t.
Unfortunately there are other workplaces where hostility does dominate. It may be overt or covert, and those caught up in this kind of atmosphere will eventually be worn down emotionally. Do they leave to find another job, or stand their ground and try to make things more bearable?
The answer to that depends on the individual, how important the work role is to them, the level of assertiveness they are willing to learn and apply, and many other factors that only the individual, in consultation with their values, can ultimately decide upon.
If this sounds like something you are experiencing, let our psychologists help you sift through the dilemma as you see it, help you identify your preferences, take account of all of your thoughts and feelings you have been struggling with, so that together you can find the best direction for you.
Note that sometimes problems in the workplace can escalate to outright bullying.
Workplace bullying is an endemic problem in some workplaces, where intimidation, shaming, blaming or sexual harrassment can gradually become part of the culture, sometimes without being fully recognised at first – either by the person being bullied, and sometimes even the person doing the bullying.
Often a person will begin to realise their comfort level at work has evaporated, perhaps since a new person arrived or a reorganisation changed the dynamics of inter-personal communications. Incidents may take the form of unkind or targetted “jokes” or taunts, or outright demands or clearly unfair practices.
It is especially difficult to stand up to bullying when it is accepted as part of the general culture of the workplace.
How Can Counselling Help with problems of Workplace Bullying?
Often bullying takes place while others turn a blind eye, or don’t want to “make a fuss”.
For an individual, counselling can help the person see their rights from a more objective perspective, and work out what they want to do about the situation, in a safe consultative counselling atmosphere.
For an organisation, sometimes in more serious or extreme cases, Mediation of Workplace Conflict may be warranted in order to get to the heart of the problem, quickly and effectively. This gives both sides an opportunity to air the problems in a safe setting, and come to mutually fleshed out agreements as to win-win ways to proceed in the future.
Education as to what is OK or fair treatment, and what is not OK can help turn around toxic practices to make the workplace a safer, more respectful place.