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How Emotional Intelligence Can Prevent Workplace Bullying

Written by: Maureen Chiana, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

This year's Anti-Bullying Week theme is ‘Reach Out’. This is to encourage children to speak out about bullying to a trusted adult or a peer because challenging bullying is a great way to change it. It is equally essential for organisations to nurture a ‘Speak Up’ culture now more than ever before.

An industrial warehouse worker being the target of bullying.

Recent studies show that over 75% of employees have been affected by workplace bullying, and it receives little attention or effective action, which can negatively impact an organisation’s culture.


What is bullying?


Bullying is the persistent exposure to negative and aggressive behaviours, which could be psychological, verbal, or emotional.

Bullying involves a power imbalance where a child or adult is persistently devalued and demeaned.


They tend to be insidious incidences, where it’s not always evident to others, such as microaggressions, a rude comment, or being laughed at. Other instances of bullying can be work-related, such as setting unachievable goals, difficult to achieve deadlines and unmanageable workloads.


Impact of Bullying


Bullying can impact mental health and wellbeing, where you constantly second guess yourself and question your capabilities. The culture of the organisation or institution will determine whether people that observe or notice bullying stand up to the bullies, support the person being bullied or even join in and whether they feel confident to report it.


The unwanted, deliberately or unconsciously repeated actions and practices that are directed at individuals cause mental health distress, may interfere with job performance, and can cause an unpleasant working environment.


Organisations are faced with ever-changing pressures, such as adapting to and managing hybrid working, global competition, technological change and economic recession. This creates a need to increase and sustain high performance and growth by maximising its utilisation of human resources, causing many leaders to use bullying techniques to reach their goal.


The personal consequences of bullying include low self-esteem and negative emotions such as anxiety, stress, fatigue, burnout and depression.


Bullying, especially by leaders or managers, negatively affects organisations. For example, employees take days off work, have reduced job satisfaction, decreased performance and commitment to the organisation, and low work motivation resulting in poor retention.


Luckily, science can offer insights that companies can use to become highly resilient to unwanted behaviour in the workplace.


Emotional Intelligence


Emotional Intelligence can successfully mitigate the adverse effects of stressful situations such as workplace bullying.


Leaders with high emotional intelligence are equipped to work effectively under pressure by adapting their leadership style to different situations, lead people differently, regulate their emotions, enabling them to respond intentionally to challenges rather than being reactive.


Workplace bullying affects people differently and it is not just a cognitive process but also an emotional one, because the impact on performance varies according to how an individual perceives the bullying event.


Peoples’ emotional intelligence influences how they deal with stressful situations and the impact of the bullying incident may vary according to the level of emotional intelligence that an individual possesses. for example, people with high emotional intelligence cope better with workplace bullying and harassment, while those with low emotional intelligence are impacted more negatively, especially their mental health.


Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, assess and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. It is about recognising how your own behavioural pattern is affected by different emotions, and recognising the emotional states of others.


Emotional Intelligent leaders and individuals can process information efficiently to make informed decisions and manage themselves because they have learnt how to communicate effectively and manage interpersonal relationships as well as decision-making and behaviour adaptations.


Bullying is deeply rooted in a lack of emotional intelligence skills. These skills can and should be taught to leaders and even children at school.


Emotional Intelligence enables leaders and individuals to understand the causes of emotions and their consequences on thoughts and behaviours. It helps people express emotions in socially appropriate ways and regulate emotions effectively.


Emotionally intelligent people have an insight that helps them to form stable, supportive relationships and enjoy greater wellbeing and academic or job performance.


Emotional Intelligence helps to shield people from depression, anxiety, and aggression. In addition, it equips them to overcome bullying by managing their emotions, and building the confidence to reach out for help.


Emotional Intelligence empowers leaders to increase their self-esteem, which ultimately helps build resilience against life challenges.


Understanding yourself and taking time to work on yourself is crucial. Developing leaders with emotional intelligence has to be a whole organisational approach to ensure a culture transformation occurs.


Learn More About Our Training on - Leading With Emotional Intelligence.


Follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, and visit my website and Academy for more info!


 

Maureen Chiana, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Maureen is the CEO and founder of The Mindsight Academy and host of Lead To Excel Podcast. She is a NeuroCoach, delivering Performance Enhancement Treatment [PET] by rewiring the brains of leaders to perform at their optimum.

She is a High Performance Coach, Corporate Consultant, Neuro-Leadership and Emotional Intelligence Specialist, an Award Winning Speaker, that leverages on Neuroscience insights of how the brain works, to empower leaders, executives, female founders and business owners to perform optimally and transform how they lead, work and live.


Maureen is passionate about helping people mitigate the biases that negatively affects them and their decisions, and her framework focuses on the Human Central Processing Unit – THE BRAIN, which helps leaders make better decisions ‒ especially under pressure ‒ thereby improving their overall or targeted performance.

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