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Gaslighting in the workplace is when an employer or employee behaves in a way that’s aimed at distorting their co-worker’s view of reality or their sanity.
This can occur in many forms. Our previous blog post highlights the signs and examples of gaslighting. In it, we identify the most common sign as lying.
For example, a gaslighter might make derogatory comments to or about a co-worker but deny ever making it when confronted.
In this piece, we’ll focus on how to deal with gaslighting. We’ll highlight the effects of gaslighting on wellbeing and office culture. We’ll then suggest some way to combat this behaviour in the workplace.
However, if you’re currently dealing with this issue at work and would like immediate support, contact the Health Assured team today on 0844 891 0352. Our experienced counsellors are on hand to guide you and support your staff.
The effects of gaslighting can be detrimental to the wellbeing of your staff. This can then lead to negative effects on the business.
In terms of mental health, gaslighting is said to induce cognitive dissonance and self-doubt in the employee on the receiving end. This usually involves conflicting attitudes, beliefs and behaviours and questioning of one’s memory, perception or judgment.
As a result of this, you’ll potentially see:
All the above creates a culture of discomfort and distrust in an environment that should aim to encourage trust and support.
Before getting into how to deal with a gaslighter, it’s important to be able to identify one.
When we imagine a bully, we imagine someone who goes around physically harassing people and making their life unbearable. However, gaslighters, especially in the workplace will amongst other things:
It’s important to know how to approach a gaslighting employee at work. There are several things you can do to address this issue.
Firstly, you’ll need to consider an HR policy on gaslighting. It should reflect your business values and highlight its commitment to promoting positive relationships between co-workers.
Remember you have a duty of care to your staff. Your duty extends to taking reasonable steps to prevent victimisation, harassment and bullying. As gaslighting behaviour constitutes bullying, it should be covered under harassment and bullying policy.
This policy should highlight the complaints process as well as the remedy for resolving it. Your staff should be aware of the organisation’s stance on this behaviour as well as the implications for not adhering to company policy. This includes verbal warnings and other disciplinary measures.
Consider including it in contracts, as part of the onboarding process, on the company intranet and if possible, around the office.
You should also consider training managers and supervisors to recognise and support staff. While it can be challenging to manage gaslighting behaviour, with training, they can learn how to deal with someone who gaslights and how to support the victims of gaslighting.
Other tips on how to deal with gaslighting abuse include:
Remember, by recognising and learning how to deal with someone who gaslights, you’ll be able to address other issues at work. This includes those relating to:
Remember, by recognising how to deal with someone who gaslights, you’ll be able to address issues relating to performance, productivity, negative or toxic workplace culture, stress, anxiety and even depression.
If you’d like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on 0844 891 0352
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