How to Deal with Workplace Bullying

  1. Consider the projections:
    • Bullies will always be bullies and try to invade your life and privacy. No matter how small the issue they know your very buttons to press and egg you on per say. The best method is to realize you have no control over them and there is nothing needed to be said to them. After all, bullies are jerks and if you tell them they are a jerk they will continue harassing you because they already know they are jerks! The best way to deal with a bully is identify the people who you know are and always be on guard. There is nothing wrong with avoiding someone and politely refusing not to engage in a workplace meeting or simple conversation – it is your life and time. The important aspect to remember is the issue is bothering you. Perhaps the issue wouldn’t bother your macho friend but that is not a factor in this song and dance. The point is it does bother you and you are not your friend who handles everything with ease and poise. Depending on the circumstances of your individual case you have to evaluate how serious your problem is and make your move from there. The most important part to remember is its all relative. Your huge problem might be not even a consideration for someone else, but you must remember it is truthfully a huge problem for you!
    • One projection is best summarized and depicted as the projection we have when driving our car down the street and someone, typically the bully, cuts in on us or turns in front of us. With this projection we immediately get angry and put our hand on the horn gesticulating at the other driver with a barrage of verbal obscenities.
    • The other projection is when we are shopping and pushing our trolley along calmly and someone comes into our space, barging in front of us or stopping suddenly causing us to brake to avoid a collision with them. We immediately get angry, let our trolley “bump” the other or we say something.

    Coping with bullies at work...Google Image

  2. Realize that the true projection we should have is one when we are driving along we will expect someone, the bully, to pull out in front of us and we will expect someone to turn in front of us. We should expect when shopping that someone will storm in front of us and stop suddenly. The way we deal with this is to remain calm, saying to yourself “just as I thought someone has come into my space”.
  3. Keep calm. When you know this and expect this and it happens you can react by slowing down and avoid the situation. You can remain calm and continue on your way as you knew this was going to happen and you expected it to happen and it did. You don’t get upset and would not even give it a second thought.
  4. This is the projection we should have because when we expect it to happen we are prepared to take the right course of action remaining calm and in control.
  5. Understand that this is the same with our workplace bully and harasser. We know they’re in the office and we know they are going to upset us. But knowing this we are prepared for them and not intimidated by their actions.
  6. Deal with this in one simple step. When being bullied or harassed by a work colleague put your hand up to them, about one to two feet away, just like a policeman using the stop signal with his hand. You then say to the person, “STOP. You are harassing/bullying me, I do not like the nature of your tone and request you stop speaking in this manner immediately”. Imagine the reaction you will get from the colleague, especially if they continue and you repeat yourself several times.
  7. Understand that no matter how bad the bully makes you feel, give the impression that you feel much worse. They may feel bad and stop. Sometimes they escalate it, in which case continue to escalate the exaggeration of your response. Everyone has a limit when they start to feel bad and stop being mean. You want to speed the bully’s progression towards that limit.
  8. Get assistance. If this is the case, summon immediately a co-worker. With your hand in the stop position, turn to a co-worker and ask them to come to your assistance saying, “Excuse me, could you please come to my assistance, I am being treated unfairly and I would like a witness and a person to provide me with support as I feel very uncomfortable in this situation”.

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