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Are You Being Bullied?

Sometimes a doctor is not comfortable with the way they are being treated, or with some behaviour that they witness, but it can be difficult to define why it does not feel right. This section considers the different ways that we or our colleagues can damage teamwork with insidious or even subtle disruptive behaviour.

What is your role at work?

Any member of a team, whether the team leader or the least experienced member, can be affected by poor behaviour within the team.

The perpetrator may not be the most senior member of the team, and may be senior or junior to the individual being affected. So whatever your role at work, you can be subjected to bullying, undermining or harassment.

 Is someone’s behaviour towards you bullying or just challenging?

Everyone can have a bad day, when they say something that they regret.

Persistent behaviour which makes you feel intimidated, reluctant to contribute, or inadequate, is bullying.

What are the signs that you are subject to, or experiencing bullying or harrassment?

The situations described below may be your experience, or you may witness a colleague in this situation.

  • You are avoiding a colleague as you know they will make derogatory remarks about you.
  • You feel targeted by one individual, and the rest of the team do not support you when that individual is present.
  • You feel too scared or intimidated to contribute to a discussion or raise a question.
  • You notice that a team member uses an unpleasant or different tone of voice when speaking to you.
  • Your team is not functioning well, and the behaviour of one or more individuals to others in the team is contributing to the problem.
  • When someone in the team often raises their voice or uses bad language, such that the team try to avoid triggering such behaviour, this may lead to concealment with subsequent patient safety issues.
  • If you find yourself treating others badly, so that you are not proud of how you have behaved, you may have learnt this pattern of behaviour from the way you have been treated.

Any of this behaviour should be challenged, and it is your duty to speak up, whether you are the subject or the witness. 

Please visit the What Can You Do page to help guide your further actions.


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