You may think that bullying ended when you finished your studies, but bullying in the workplace has become a widespread problem. This includes intimidating, humiliating, and criticizing someone. When it comes to criticism, we are not talking about constructive criticism, but criticism with the ultimate goal of humiliating someone.

Other forms of bullying behaviors include sabotaging one’s success/work, taking credit for other people’s work, excluding one person from meetings on purpose, and spreading false stories about a person. This kind of psychological abuse is passive-aggressive and shouldn’t be tolerated. Bullying in the workplace is a serious matter, and if you are experiencing it, you must stand up for yourself. Here’s how to deal with it.

1. Build self-worth and define your boundaries

You need to know who you are. This will help you build your character. If you don’t have self-esteem, then you should work on it. Start with a little positive self-talk and write your qualities on a piece of paper. Start exercising, or do a few different things that make you feel better and happier. Even if you are in a lower position in your company, you should not put up with bullying from your peers.

Define your boundaries and tell them where the line is. You can start by telling them that their humiliating tactics won’t make you quit or go crazy, and if they want your help, they’ll need to act properly. Be calm; don’t raise your voice.

If this doesn’t help and you don’t solve your problems through communication, then it is time to contact your HR and manager.

2. Speak up as soon as you see a problem or feel uncomfortable

The worst thing you can do with bullies in the workplace is to sit quietly and wait for the problem to magically disappear. It won’t happen, so don’t be silent. Speak up about your problem. Your superiors will certainly want to know what’s going on, as having a bully in the office leads to poor teamwork and lower productivity.

One person can be the best in their field, but if they are ruining a team of 10 people, the company doesn’t need them. So, if you notice one or two bullies going around the office and intimidating you or your coworkers, then you should definitely talk to someone.

3. Keep your own emotions in check and stay professional

When someone is passive-aggressive or even verbally aggressive, you shouldn’t let your emotions get the best of you. If you are a highly-sensitive person, it can be very hard to stop yourself from crying and sobbing from a few hateful words. You want to confront bullies in the workplace, but not by throwing a temper tantrum.

Don’t yell and don’t show them that their bullying affects you. Show them that it is not professional and that it doesn’t suit the company’s standards. When someone humiliates you or yells at you, it is hard to keep your emotions in check, but practice makes perfect. Stay professional, talk to them in a calm voice, present to them the cold hard facts, call them out on their BS, and they’ll eventually stop.

If not, contact management and calmly explain to them the nature of the unacceptable behavior, without resorting to name-calling or vague accusations.

4. Write down clear and concise facts about their behavior and performance

When submitting your complaint, know that there is nothing to be ashamed of. All companies should do all they can to put an end to bullying. So, don’t think that informing the HR team will make the whole thing worse.

Write everything that the bully did down. Sometimes, it can be truly hard to talk about the things someone did to you, but they need to know everything. Just keep it concise and use facts concerning their inappropriate behavior and poor performance.

This way, the HR team will know how to solve the problem, as they will know how this person affects the whole team and their overall performance.

5. Turn to other co-workers for support

Some of your coworkers might not notice that you are being bullied. Don’t be a hero. Ask them for support, and they will certainly help you out. Ask them for help when dealing with the person who is humiliating you. If you are unable to stand up for yourself alone, ask them to be there for you whenever the bully is around.

Bullying is a serious matter, and as such, it shouldn’t be ignored. If you are experiencing it, use these five ways to deal with the problem — it will certainly help not only you, but will make the whole team better and more productive.

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