How To Confront A Workplace Bully

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Children are very aware of what a bully is, the correct ways to deal with it and who to talk to because it is explained to them lots and talked about frequently. As adults, we are less aware and less confident in dealing with a bully when we are confronted with one, especially in our place of work. There is no quick and easy answer but there are some things we can do to confront the behaviour of a workplace bully. What are the effects of bullying?

Recognize The Behaviour

At first, if the behaviour is not recognised as bullying then you may feel that you are to blame and want to take responsibility for something that isn’t your fault. Once you recognise that the behaviour you are experiencing is bullying, then you are less likely to feel like it is your fault. Examples of bullying behaviour can be:

  • Spreading malicious rumours
  • Unfair treatment
  • Picking on someone regularly or undermining them
  • Denying someone opportunities

You have the right to have a good mental health in Office environment.

Think About Your Response

Although it can be impossible to change someone who doesn’t want to change, you can change how you respond to them. You must take time to think about how you want to handle the situation you are in. Do you want to report the person? Do you want to be moved away from that person? Do you want a new job? At the end of the day, it is your decision and yours alone to do what is right for you.

Create A Log

Keep a very specific log about what happens and when. It is important that you include the date, time, what was said/done and even the location where it happened. You may want to note how it made you feel at that time or what happened to you. Keeping a log will allow managers or outside organisations to decide what action will need to be taken.

Set Boundaries

Be upfront to the bully about their behaviour and explain to them how you will address their behaviour. You must be firm, confident and also assertive. The bully needs to know that you will not accept this behaviour and that you know what you can do to stop it. For example, explain to the bully that if they continue to sabotage your work you will report them to your manager/human resources.

Report The Incidents

Same as we tell our children, not telling someone what is going on is only giving the bully more power. This is the same as an adult. It is vital that, when you feel ready, you report the incidents to your manager, human resources or a person of authority. When you do report it, try to stay calm and not let your emotions take over too much. You could write down what you want to say before the meeting so that you have something to focus on.

Find Support

You should be supported by your management when you have reported these incidents. If the person you want to report to is a person of authority, then the company will have a policy on who to report to. 

Surround yourselves with supportive people, whether that be co-workers, family or friends. It is important to talk about what you are experiencing with others who you can trust. 

You may even feel like you need to find support in the form of counselling. Bullying can have a serious effect on your mood and self-esteem which can lead to depression. If you are feeling depressed, then you should seek professional help.

Don’t Take It Personally

Although this is easier said than done, it is a very important factor. When someone is bullying you it is more about them than you. They are often acting this way from a place of jealousy or insecurity. It is proven that victims of bullying in the workplace tend to be the high performers that are doing well at work. Practice reminding yourself that it is not about you. It needs to stop to prevent to stop any long term effects of bullying.

Things To Say

It is important to try and stay calm and rise above the bullying behaviour that you are experiencing. Take the higher ground and respond to them professionally and rationally. Address the conflict head-on by saying things such as:

  1. Please don’t speak to me like that
  2. Let’s try and move on from this now
  3. Why don’t we come back to this later

Interested in ensuring you are looking after your employees? Our Mental Health First Aid Training Course is essential for any business that wants to look after their employee’s health.  For more information, please get in touch.

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