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5 Ways to Deal With Bullies in the Workplace

5 Ways to Deal With Bullies in the Workplace

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

More by this author

Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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