Our experts weigh in with the best way to deal with a bully on the job
- Nip bullying at work in the bud
- Don’t personalize this
- Establish your boundaries
- Be courageous
- Engage assertively but carefully and professionally
- Document everything
- Remind the bully about workplace policies
- Stand up to the bully
- Escalate when necessary
- Contact police if necessary
- Seek support and get counselling
- Encourage education at your workplace
- Companies: Deal with bullies promptly
Bullying at work is a big issue.
Nip bullying at work in the bud
Here are 12 tips from our experts
Bullying overall has been a big issue in the past number of months, so Globe Careers asked our experts Eileen Chadnick, Eileen Dooley, Bruce Sandy and Katie Bennett to give advice on how workers can deal with a bully on the job. Here are their top 12 tips.
Don’t personalize this
Realize you might not be the only one being bullied by this person at work.
Bullying is usually the issue of the bully but unfortunately if you are a recipient of this inappropriate behaviour you need to be alert and recognize the signs. Depending on the situation, there are different ways of responding to bullying.
Know your boundaries at work.
Establish your boundaries
If you feel like you're being bullied, take action
You need to be aware of your own boundaries so you know how when a line is crossed and can choose to take appropriate response.
Lions often symbolize courage. Manfred Angermayr
Don't let a bully intimidate you.
Do not let the bully intimidate you. Their behaviour is wrong and you need to muster up your own courage and conviction to deal with this effectively. Sometimes reflecting this courage with professionalism and restraint can deter the bully if they think you won’t ‘buy in’ to their tactics. Unfortunately, they may move on to another target.
Engage assertively but carefully and professionally
Let a bully know their behaviour is unacceptable.
Have a direct conversation with the bully first and let them know when their behaviour is unacceptable. Sometimes standing up confidently and professionally might deter further bullying (but they may seek another target). Never stoop to their level – do not ‘bully back’!
Videotape or write down all bullying incidents so you have a record of these events.
Write down all bullying incidents
As much as possible keep a written record of communications, events, e-mails and so on. If necessary, pull out your iPhone or other video or tape recording device in a meeting with the bully and record any threatening interchanges. Take notes after the meetings including time, date, incident and witnesses. When it’s time to escalate the situation you will need to show the history. And if the bully does something to put your career in jeopardy, your records will help protect you.
Remind bullies about the company's policies. Jupiterimages
Remind the bully about workplace policies
Let the bully know about the company's policies against bullying
Remind the bully that the organization has anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and if they do not stop their bullying behaviour that you will make a claim to the organization officials.
A kid confronts a bully. Scott Griessel
Stand up to the bully
Sometimes a bully will back down when someone stands up to him or her
Like bullies in the school yard, bullies in the workplace will usually stand down when confronted by someone they are trying to bully. Bullies usually only pick on people that they think that they can get away with it. Directly confront the bully, but not in a way that addresses how it makes you feel. Assertively and very directly, tell the person to stop with the negative language. Tell them their behaviour offers no value and to stop. An assertive, boarding on aggressive, approach can stop a bully in their tracks. Staff should not hesitate to say no to the intimidating behaviour and state that they will not tolerate such behaviour.
Talk to human resources if a situation is getting out of hand. Adam Gregor
Escalate when necessary
If the bullying continues, report the bully to the appropriate organization officials – HR or anti-harassment officer and your boss (only if he/she is not the bully). Know that you are likely not alone. The bully is likely bullying other staff in the workplace.
If a bullying situation is bad enough, then call police.
Contact police if necessary
If it's bad enough, let police know.
If the bully is threatening bodily harm or attacks you then report it to the police. Fill out an incident report that will also go to company officials.
Get counselling if you've been bullied at work.
Seek support and get counselling
You don't need to deal with bullying alone
If you notice others being bullied by this individual reach out to support each other and stand in unison. Encourage staff members who have been threatened or bullied to seek support from counsellors from the company’s EAP (employee assistanct program) or EFAP program if they are having on-going anxiety or mental health issues as a result of the incidents.
Educate your work force about bullying on the job. Comstock
Encourage education at your workplace
Educate your work force about workplace bullying
Encourage your organization to provide seminars on dealing with bullies in the workplace including education on the appropriate company or organization policies and procedures – for example, anti-harassment and anti-discrimination. If the company does not have the policies encourage them to create them and bring in guest speakers and experts on bullying and/or creating a respectful workplace to speak to the organization/company.
Companies need to deal with bullies promptly.
Companies: Deal with bullies promptly
Companies need to be on the lookout for bullies at work
Organizations and companies need to deal quickly with bullies in the workplace. Bullies need to know that their actions will not be tolerated and if they continue then they will be in jeopardy of losing their job. They also need to know that their interactions with staff and clients will be closely monitored until they can display appropriate behaviour and interaction with others. Bullies should also be referred to anger management and respectful workplace seminars. They need to learn the impact and the consequences of their inappropriate behaviours. Referral to an EAP/EFAP counsellor is often appropriate since bullies often have been bullied themselves and have a number of confidence and mental health issues to resolve themselves.