I know that this is a very "heavy" topic for a Monday...let's face it - Monday's are tough enough without such a topic but it has been weighing on my heart much too long and I really need to get my thoughts on this often overlooked topic out there for obvious reasons. You see - I have recently found myself a victim of verbal abuse in the workplace and this post today is as much to help me recognize it and do something about it as it is hopefully an inspiration to others to recognize it if you find yourself in this situation too!
Many folks in the workforce are faced with verbal abuse each and every day and in my mind...this is just not acceptable! Did you know that 35% of employees report that they have been verbally abused in the job? That number is just staggering to me!
What exactly is verbal abuse in the workplace? Well - has been defined as:
A pattern of behavior that over the long term negatively impacts an employee's performance, home life, and health. Hostile verbal confrontation is yet another example. Verbal and emotional abuse in the workplace can be rudeness, starting lies or rumors, intimidation, yelling or using profanity, name calling, humiliation, setting the employee up to fail by establishing impossible deadlines or withholding pertinent information, or violating the privacy of an employee..and the list just goes on!
What can you do if you are a recipient of verbal abuse? An employee's first line of offense should always begin within their company. Anyone that feels that they have been verbally abused should feel comfortable enough to go their direct supervisor/manager (unless of course this is the person doing the verbal abusing), you can go to your HR department or you can even seek out legal resolutions...i.e. employment lawyers. You may even think about recording the abuser which permits you to gather proof just in case you wish to report him/her. Note specific things the verbal abuser says to you and let him know how much his words are hurting you.
Anyone who is a verbal abuser is a bully. There is much to be read about bullying but no one seems to relate bullying in the workplace. A verbal abuser works hard to distort our reality to make their reality feel safer. They can make us fear losing our jobs or even feel hopeless
I have seen/heard verbal abuse in several situations. I have been in meetings where a colleague just tore another person to shreds in the meeting which made me feel quite uncomfortable. I have also been on calls where a Senior Manager was extremely mad...yelled at those on the call and in my mind tried to intimate everyone on the call.
Folks - this is just not acceptable! No one should be exposed to this type of behavior...EVER!! If you are a victim of verbal abuse - please do not sit back and allow it to continue. Report it!