Workplace Abuse; A Major Contributor To Mental Health. Every day, someone somewhere is being abused by the same people who promised them a fair wage as payment for their services. Far-fetched as it seems, many professionals are constantly abused by their employers every day. They live under this terror pretending everything is fine just to secure the next paycheck to support their families and send their kids to school. I for one, have witnessed this inhumane act on numerous occasions, and I can tell you that it is not a pleasant thing to see in an organization.
What is Abuse?
Abuse can come in different forms. For the outside world, it is often limited to these two; physical abuse and emotional abuse. But there exists a third and a far deadlier one. Unlike the physical and emotional abuse, this is one is more hush-hush and talking about it can remove you from the good graces of your employer. But it is very real and it exists in organizations. It is so real that, because of it many employees are now battling mental health issues.
As a corporate coach, I get around; Executives hire me to help them address issues within the organization. When duty calls, I answer. But as I strive to resolve their organizational issues, I stumbled on something else. A parasitic worm that has been devouring the workplace culture for a long time; causing anxiety and depression amongst the career men and women. We all know it, but the fear of losing our bread and butter won’t let us talk about it. That parasitic worm is workplace abuse. Left unchecked, it can cause mental health issues for diverse professionals.
It is with a heavy heart, I choose to speak for those people who cannot speak for themselves; who shed secret tears, enduring their bosses’ spitefulness; who show up every day to work at a place where their services are no longer appreciated; left to wither away without a promotion, while watching there undeserving peers get promoted to their rightful positions.
Different types of abuse
As you already know, there are different types of abuse. But to buttress our concern for the injustice that is happening in most organizations across the globe, we are going to narrow it down to two. While it is almost expected that you’ll be baffled by the proclivity of employers in our modern-day society, to control the people working under them.
Organization abuse: This is the maltreatment of employees due to the poor systematic practices that affect the organization itself. In my opinion, people involved in this type of abuse are known as corporate bullies. In some cases, they are powerful, but not impossible to handle. One of my podcast episodes addresses corporate bullying and I went extra miles there to empower you with the tools needed to tackle these corporate bullies.
Workplace Bullying: is a tenacious pattern of mistreatment, and it is as old as the world itself. Even if you put a million laws in place to alleviate this abuse in an organization, you’ll still have a hard time dousing its fire. This is because most laws addressing workplace bullying aim to arrest managers alone. However, the main perpetrators of this wicked acts do not reside amongst the management alone, but with the employees.
Why does workplace abuse happen?
Workplace abuse happens when an employee’s needs, wishes, and desires are trumped or sacrificed to bolster growth and smooth running in an organization. It typically comes in these popular forms; a delayed promotion, an unpaid salary, or a denied benefit. But what I want to address is the abuse that is not so blunt; that kind of abuse that is set out to make your life miserable until you quit. A special kind of abuse that secretly sets out to make you so uncomfortable, that you have no choice but to clear your desk and leave the building on your own free will. Unconsciously, what most employees end up doing is walking away silently leaving the door open for someone else to take their place at the center of the abuse. Regardless of the form, workplace abuse will have serious implications on an employee’s state of mind. I should know because I have had firsthand experience in such matters.
How Workplace abuse influence employee’s mental health
Shocking as it seems; that renowned organizations, would stoop so low to enact their anger and frustration on innocent employees, it is even more surprising that no one in management is paying any mind to this disdainful act. This nonchalant attitude on the part of the organization management can make employees feel unwanted and unappreciated. At the end of the day, it can lead to anxiety and depression amongst employees.
What to do?
Unless the people working within the scope of an organization get in tune with who they are, workplace abuse will not stop. The sad part, however, is that the scope of this text will not permit us to dig deep for effective solutions for these disdainful behaviors we may encounter in the workplace. I encourage everyone to look within first and discover your authentic voice. Gaining an understanding of self will allow you to find peace in your every day obstacles. The process starts with you and becoming more emotionally intelligent and not with your employer or the people that work with you.
For employers, here are some helpful ways you can get the process started on eliminating such abuse in your organization, I recommend the following solutions
1. Implement open-door policies for all management team, especially your HR department
2. Offer quarterly intimate professional development trainings for staff
3. Conduct emotional intelligence team-building exercises (side note: we offer a great emotional intelligence training, call us : )
4. Provide mental health activities on site
5. Develop and incorporate a “SPEAK UP” policy