This is one of the recommendations from the ‘individual’ section of the RCOG/RCM undermining toolkit.
What to do if you’ve been accused of bullying
There is no quick fix, and an individualised approach is needed to deal with people who have been accused of bullying. One or more of the responses below may be appropriate:
- Try to find out the reasons for the accusation. Reflect on the interaction(s) and determine whether it has come from an individual or a number of staff.
- Gather evidence. Do you have any written documentation relating to the incident(s)?
- Talk about it with peers.
- Talk about it with your line manager or educational supervisor.
- Discuss it with your mentor.
- Discuss it with your relevant educational lead, e.g. College Tutor, director of medical education or supervisor of midwives.
- Discuss it with heads of department, e.g. labour ward matron, head of midwifery, obstetric lead.
- Offer to meet the accuser in the presence of impartial witnesses. Allow them to express their viewpoint and facilitate discussion to clear up any misunderstandings or misconceptions.
- Offer to make reasonable changes if required. If the problem has arisen due to departmental culture or excessive workload, discuss this with your line manager and try to make positive changes to the working environment for both you and the accuser.
- If you are suffering physical or psychological effects as a result of the accusation, consult with your GP, occupational health department or local counselling service.
- Consider your behaviour and reaction to your perception of undermining. Are other factors affecting your performance and your ability to deal with feedback? How resilient are you compared with your peers? If in doubt, ask for support.