‘Gaslighting’ – the term in itself is quite scary. It becomes even scarier when you see it happening regularly within your office space. Though it is a very common problem in the workplace, standing against this practice is of utmost importance. As a company concerned about the welfare of its employees, you should take things in your own hand and try to go to the very source of such issues.
Here lies some suggestions on what you should do to handle such situations:
Keep proper documentation:
No matter how much an employee might try to explain a particular situation where he was gaslighted, things would be taken up seriously only if he has substantial proof to support his statement. So, encourage all your team members to document everything to have a valid standpoint when speaking against the perpetrator.
Have a detailed discussion:
Be direct and try to have a serious discussion with both the parties. Schedule separate meetings with them and try to understand the situation from divergent perspectives. Analyse the situation objectively and avoid being judgemental towards any one viewpoint of the same situation. Behave strictly and cut down on beating about the bush. Focus on clear and concise communication.
Regroup employees and experiment:
Though a gaslighter would seldom behave differently when placed in a new team, but still, you can consider regrouping your employees and experimenting a little. It might happen that an alleged gaslighter changes his or her behaviour when he or she needs to interact with complete strangers or lesser acquaintances. Monitoring the behaviour and actions of such people closely would also be helpful to keep them in check.
Educate your managers and team leaders:
Proper training regarding the issue of gaslighting at the workplace needs to be imparted. Consider conducting regular sessions and workshops for all your employees so that no one develops humiliating or shaming tendencies, hampering the very rhythm of the workplace. Give special attention to the team managers and leaders and involve them in activities leading to a more friendly work atmosphere.
Have emergency numbers:
While employees feeling gaslighted can definitely report against the gaslighter to their immediate boss or the HR, creating a hotline number for them to communicate their grievances real time can also be beneficial. Make it a point to share this number with your entire staff so that anyone can reach out to you at any time if they feel threatened by someone at the workplace. This will not only help you to take immediate action but will also aid in decreasing the overall number of gaslighting situations.
It is very important that both the concerned employee, the alleged gaslighter as well as the company, maintain professionalism at all times. During the investigation of a particular gaslighting situation, it is crucial that all the parties are able to communicate in a respectful manner. Maintaining proper decorum is very important while dealing with such sensitive issues at the workplace. So, remember to sound and act maturely and not take any decision solely based on impulse and assumptions.