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Avoiding the 7 traps of not recognising bullying behaviour

My previous post discusses 7 reasons why we fail to recognise some behaviours as bullying behaviours. So below is some things that we can do about to avoid these traps.
To recap the 7 traps were:
  1. Our definition of what bullying behaviour is.
  2. If the user of the behaviour is a friend.
  3. How the target matches our expectation about how targets present and react
  4. Is the target seen as being responsible for the way they are treated
  5. Empathy for the target
  6. Is the behaviour characterised as normal
  7. Users presentation and features

The first thing to do is learn about bulling behaviour and what behaviours are bullying behaviours. Ideally this learning is shared with everyone in the organisation so that there is consistency amongst everyone about what is and is not okay. (Addresses items 1 & 6)

While hard to do you need to forget about personalities in making the decision. You should aways focus just on the behaviour when working out if the behaviour is acceptable. Once that is decided how you respond in an effective way will require you to think about the context including their personality. So avoid considering the behaviour and who the people are in the same step - do it separately. (Addresses items 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7)

If you ever feel like someone deserves what they get, take that as a warning sign. Bells should start ring because what you are thinking or feeling is that two wrongs make a right. The target has done something wrong and so it is now okay to do something wrong back at them. This is not how it should work. If someone does something wrong they should be made aware of it in a civilised way and be given the opportunity to make amends. Do not accept bad behaviour triggered by other bad behaviour. That simply is the start of a cycle of payback after payback and does not solve the issue. (Addresses item 4)

We tend to see others behaviour as being triggered by something within their personality. This bias makes us forget that the situation has lots to do with how people act. Try and see the situation from their perspective and get a good understanding of the situation, history and context. This helps build empathy for those concerned. (Addresses item 5)

Think about all the subjects you learnt at school, university or the workplace. Was there a subject called building character through being bullied? I doubt it and teachers in training do not study courses in how to bully others so as to build they resilience. There is no studies showing being harassed by bullying behaviour is helpful in the development of a child or anyone for that matter. All it does is lead to misery and social learning that promotes the use of bullying behaviours. Learn what bullying behaviour is and continually remind yourself that it is not an effective character building strategy. (Addresses item 6)

If someone fires a gun at you trying to kill you and misses, would you be happy if they don't receive any punishment? I would suggest any normal person would think it is attempted murder and there should be punishment. In this situation we concentrate on the behaviour and not on the outcome or whether it was successful. Same with dealing with bullying behaviour, it should not be defined by whether the result of the behaviour hurts someone or how they react to it. If the behaviour occurs it is bullying behaviour and so deal with it. It is inconsistent to only deal with it is someone gets upset as it does not set an effective boundary on what is acceptable and what is not. (Addresses item 3)

It can be difficult to overcome our stereotypes and bias. All we can do is practice and try and guard against them interfering too much. Always be thinking about the behaviour first and is it okay.
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