Even if it has never been an issue for you, it is probably obvious that bullying is not funny at all. The BBC reports on one factor possibly contributing to playground harassment, apparently University of Keele research suggests it is linked to the use of humour.
Correspondent Sean Coughlan reports the University’s Dr Claire Fox’s comments that:
“Children who use humour to make fun of themselves are at more risk of being bullied”
It is as if self-defeating jokes send a signal to the would-be school bully that their potential target is self-effacing and underneath that, vulnerable.
I wonder how many teachers (or managers in the workplace) rise promptly to the challenge of tackling this sensitive area ?
As a start a coach might ask about the wording of any mission statement that the school or workspace has regarding the zero tolerance for bullying. Beyond that, there are a few additional coaching questions that spring to mind:
What resources does a leader possess to promote the confidence and self-esteem of the people around her ?
How comfortable is she with planning what to say in a conversation with the perceived aggressor, making it clear their behaviour is no laughing matter?
What approach has she outlined to support the person targeted, without over-doing her show of concern?
Once the person in charge recognises the sensitivities in the situation, tackling bullying and then raising confidence becomes possible. It might be uncomfortable to open up the issues when they are still raw, but having a clear goal to work towards is the starting point in each case.
- How to: Deal with bullying in the workplace (reed.co.uk)