How to Deal with Workplace Bullies
Workplace bullies are everywhere. Whether one is working in a multinational corporation, or in a small enterprise, office bullies always seem to be around. You may attribute this occurrence to the natural tendency of some people to “fight” with others who are potential competitors for the same position one is eyeing. Yet, there are times when, the workplace bullies attack for no reason at all!
Bullying is quite infuriating, and is one of the major reasons why employees resign from their jobs. Although most people are good-natured, there just seems to be no way of avoiding working with backstabbing colleagues, rumour-mongering subordinates, malicious assistants, and even bratty bosses! The truth of the matter is that you must learn how to live with them in order to be successful in your career.
You must have a plan for dealing with workplace bullies. If you opt to do nothing, there is a big chance that they will succeed in controlling you. Learn to develop a long-term strategy. This is crucial if you are to achieve your ambitions.
You may not like dealing with workplace bullies, but since it is inevitable, you must act assertively to save yourself from anger and hypertension. Here are some suggestions for dealing with workplace bullies.
• Know who the workplace bullies are. It helps to know who your enemies are. Identify people who are being complained for being overly sarcastic, backstabbers, manipulative, and abusive (either verbally or physically).
• If you are already being bullied, talk to the bully in private. This will show that you are not intimidated by his/her tactics. Always remain calm, and refrain from yelling or shouting invectives. Also, avoid showing weakness by crying or looking helpless. Talk to the culprit in a professional manner, and demand reasons why you are being harassed. Try to work out your differences.
• Gather evidence. Remember, bullies are scheming and have the ability to manipulate others. Make sure you have proof to back up your claims. If your work has been sabotaged, be able to provide confirmation for that. If you have been verbally abused, you need to have support for those claims too. Later on, when you complain, the bully, who is excellent in lying and deception may try to twist the story, and that would not work to your advantage.
• Review office rules on workplace bullying. If there is none, you may talk with your HR officer to learn how bullies may be reported and punished. Bullying may fall under the rules covering harassment, or conduct that may instigate fights or violence in the workplace. Know if the bully may be suspended, transferred, demoted, or probably terminated for inappropriate conduct. Know too how you may legally protect yourself.
• Tell your boss that you are being harassed. Let your boss know the situation; at least this will make negative statements about you coming from your foe less credible. Oh my, this is a bit harder if your immediate superior is the one who is bullying you! If this is the case, then tell your boss’s boss.
• Excel at your work. As the bully’s objective is to make you fail, make it your concern to do your job well. Your superiors will not be inclined to side with your tormentor if they know you are an asset to the company and hard to replace.
• Be kind to your boss and co-workers. This way, if someone tries to bully you, there are others who would be willing to back you up. Also, the bully would be discouraged to attack you, if he or she knows you have a lot of allies.
• Conduct a self-analysis. Never let the bully have a reason to annoy you. Assess yourself. There may really be something funny or weird with the way you dress, walk or talk. Study reasons why you are being the object of bullying. Bullies usually study the vulnerability of their target, and most often would want to exploit it. You never know, in the end you may want to thank the bully for being instrumental in making you change for the better.
To sum it up, if someone tries to bully you, do not just let it be. It would not resolve the problem and it would only certify that you are a wimp with no leadership potential. Running away to another company will just draw a new set of bullies; weaklings will always attract the abusive. Bullies everywhere will only respect people who know how to fight back!
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.