Do you work with a bully? Unfortunately, we don’t always realize when we are being bullied at work. However, if you fear getting close to a coworker or sitting close to a colleague, then it’s worth looking at why you’re feeling this way. Is it because this colleague makes you feel uncomfortable with the innuendos and sarcasm? Does it feel like you’re in your school cafeteria watching a bully take someone else’s recess money? Only this time, it is yourself you are watching?
The Workplace Bullying Institute said that bullying in the workplace has become far too common that 19% of adults in the US believe they are bullied at work. About 60.3 million workers get affected by workplace bullying. In a survey of 1,229 participants, only 4% said they were never bullied at work. A whopping 96% believed they have somehow been on the receiving end of bullies at work. This is a telling statistic of how systematic this problem has become.
Who Are the Bullies?
A bully at work can be anyone. It can be your coworker, a subordinate, or your boss. A bully is someone who gossips about you and spreads rumors about you. Someone who takes credit for your work is a bully, too. You know you are talking with a bully if this person keeps talking about a mistake you made in front of everyone. During meetings, this person will undermine your ideas and will talk over you.
If you fear going to work because of a coworker who makes you feel uncomfortable, that is a sign that you’re working with a bully. Do you choose to go somewhere else rather than the lunchroom if a particular person is there? That’s a sign that this person is a bully, too. Even if you are not the one being bullied, chances are you feel uncomfortable whenever this person goes on a tirade against one of your colleagues.
What Can You Do With Workplace Bullies?
There are two ways you can deal with workplace bullies. The first one is to raise the issues with your supervisor and the second one is to involve employment lawyers in the issue. The latter is for when the bullying becomes mentally, emotionally, and physically draining for the bullied. If the bullying impacts your work and personal lives, you should seek legal actions against the bully.
But the first step would be to talk to your supervisor about it. Make a list of the incidences when you feel bullied. You can ask other colleagues to come forward and talk about their experiences, too. Your supervisor and the company management should be inclined to call the attention of the “bully.” If they don’t do anything about your complaint and dismiss it, you can then call a lawyer to discuss your legal options.
How to Deal With a Bully on Your Own?
Bringing the issue to your supervisor’s attention is not the first step in dealing with a workplace bully. You need courage. You have to stand up to this bully. Don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you down and battered. This will only fuel their desire to have their way with you.
Stand up and call the bully out. Even the biggest bully in the playground never wants to be called a bully in front of his peers. This is what you should do. Turn the attention to the bully. They love highlighting your mistakes and failures, so why not turn the table on them?
Show the bully that you are documenting what’s happening. No bully wants to see how badly he is acting. Even the bullies know that they’re on the wrong side. They know, too, that what they’re doing can be against the law. Intimidate them by listing the dates and times of the bullying. If possible, take a video of what’s happening and make sure to confront them with the truth.
Bullies will never stop bullying if everyone keeps giving them the chance to do so. You have to stand up to a bully and not hide behind a supervisor. While bringing the management’s attention to what’s happening in the workplace is important, it is also equally important to show a bully you won’t take it sitting down.
Always be open to leaving a company if the bullying gets too much and no one tries to solve it. Your wellbeing is the most important. If there is a culture of bullying in your workplace, aside from getting the law involved in it, leaving might be one of your options.