How to deal with bullies in the workplace

Learn how to deal with workplace bullying

Bullying at work, amongst grown adults, is a reality. Unfortunately, it doesn't always get reported and as a victim, it can be hard to know where to turn for help and advice.

Having been a victim of bullying myself, in school and in the workplace, I have managed to find effective ways to deal with it. I want to share them with you. in the hope, it will be of great help. Bullying in any form should not be taken lightly.

Here are some practical ways to identify if you or anyone you know is the victim of bullying at work and how to deal with it.

How do you know you're being bullied at work?

It is always important to remember that bullying comes in a variety of shapes and forms. It could come from a manager, a supervisor, a co-worker or anyone else from around the organisation.

Although this is not a complete list, below are some examples of what bullying in the workplace might include:

- Excluding and ignoring people or any other form of victimisation

- Spreading rumours about individuals

- Unwarranted personal or professional criticism

- Preventing promotion or other forms of professional development

- Insults, rudeness or intentional embarrassment

- Being talk over at meetings

- Credit being taken from you for your work

Excuses for bullying

You might have tried to report the bully, but instead of finding ways to resolve the situation, you are given excuses either by the bully or someone trying to justify the bully's actions.

They may even try and convince you that any wrongdoing or victimisation is simply a misunderstanding. You are then left feeling confused, believing that you may have been wrong all this time. Do not let the excuses get the best of you. Remind your self that there is no excuse for bullying. 

Below are some of the most common excuses.

- That's just their personality

- They are just under a lot of pressure

- They are just firm

Always remember that, despite what anyone says, excuses like the above does not make it okay to bully someone. It does not justify the actions of a bully.

So what can you do?

Below are some steps you can take to deal with bullies effectively. Many of these I have used and others I have learnt from reading books and articles online and getting advice from others.

1. You first need to remind yourself that people cope with their own fear and unresolved issues by projecting negativity on to you. Their behaviour is more to do with their internal struggle than it ever did with you. Once you are able to remind yourself this, what a bully does to you may not affect you as deep and it will give you more courage to speak to someone so that the bullying can stop.

2. Bullies will do anything possible to get a reaction from you. Do not give them a reaction. Try your best to stay calm and professional. If you are able to do so while taking the right steps to find a resolution, then do so.

Do not waste your energy on them. Remind your self of the note above, keep your head held high and speak to someone about it. Letting the bully see that they’re getting to you may make the situation worse.

3. Document the bully's actions. Whenever you are feeling bullied or experiencing bullying behaviour, ensure that you document the date, time and details of the incident. Also, make note if another employee witnessed the incident.

4. Make a complaint to the right people. You may ask to speak with your line manager or someone from your employer's Human Resources department.

Explain how the issue is causing you feel, whether that's feeling unmotivated or affecting your performance in the workplace.

Sometimes, after seeing that there is no change after reaching out to HR, you may want to consider seeking a new job. Understand that the place is not worth it and its no good being in a place that supports bullying. Be sure to treat this as an experience and not a setback.

5. If you've tried speaking to everyone you possibly can at work, and no-one will listen or take actions to resolve the situation, then you could take the matter further by seeking external assistance.

There are many organisations that offer free and impartial advice. Examples include, the Citizen Advice Bureau and the Directgov website.

Have you been a victim of bullying or do you have any advice you'd like to share with us? Get in touch today to speak to us.

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