How to be a helpful BYSTANDER in bullying situations:

  • Make it clear to your co-workers that you won’t participate in bullying behaviours
  • Never stand by, watch and do nothing (ask yourself: what if it was me?)
  • Never encourage bullying behaviour – this makes you a co-bully
  • Report bullying incidents to management ASAP; waiting doesn’t help anyone but the bully
  • If the bullying is so serious that you feel the victim’s life or personal safety is in danger, report it to the police
  • Never respond to messages, emails or photos that might be upsetting or offensive – this includes ‘liking’ or sharing a social media post that denigrates a co-worker
  • Don’t spread office gossip; for some, this is like suggesting ‘don’t breathe’ because the habit is so second-nature but spreading rumours, half-truths and ‘juicy drama’ around an office is a type of bullying no less harmful than standing over someone’s desk and yelling in their face
  • Do everything you can to support a bullying target in asking for help or reporting the incident(s)
  • When assisting a victim in reporting a bullying incident, remember that well-documented facts trump emotion and opinion every time.

Bystanders come in two categories: harmful bystander and helpful bystanders.

Which type of Bystander will you be?

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Jessica Hickman is a professional member of these associations: