I was asked a few days ago to give tips on how to deal with bullying at school. This question is troubling especially in America, which is why I decided to write about bullying in the workplace.
Typically, a bully is one who uses superior strength to influence, intimidate or force others to do what they want. Bullying includes manipulation, belittling, harassing, hurting etc
Motive of the bully: Make you feel small so they can gain more superiority.
The traits of an ideal bully in a work place or school includes;
Constant criticism, manipulation and intimidation,
High level of aggression or competition.
It is important to understand if the behavior you perceive is really bullying or if you being overtly sensitive to criticism. Also, does this person do this to you alone? Or to everyone? Is this a regular occurrence or are you just having a bad day? If you truly feel bullied, there are steps you should take to curb this problem. At no point should you take it lightly, you should do something about it.
Etiquette tips to help eradicate work place bullying
Be confident: Bullies usually feed on people with low self-esteem, or people who send out negative body languages. Avoid looking down when walking or during a conversation, hunched shoulders as they show powerlessness.
Make sure you are making good eye contact when communicating at work. Watch the body language you send out at work, ensure you project yourself to be a confident self-assured person.
Rise above incivility: You shouldn't play the game of a bully, that only makes you as uncivil as they are. You need to rise above the behavior. Whenever you react when they get to you, the bully wins. Make sure you are not giving any reaction for bullies to feed on when they upset or hurt you.
Talk, don't shrink: It’s important to approach the bully to let them know their boundaries and you would not tolerate the action anymore.. You can do this respectfully ensuring that you are polite and calm.
Speak clearly against the action/behavior not the person, you want to try and make the point clear without getting into an argument. Watch your tone and volume while doing this, so that your message is gotten across.
Log it: People go to their superiors to report instances of bullying without evidence thus causing your case to be played down. Having a good log of actions to prove you are being bullied strengthens your case against the action. Remember, any report of bullying should be taken seriously immediately, you have to make sure you are logging in the events date, action and witnesses.
The devil or the deep sea? Understand that some companies might be slow to do something about a bully as they are usually aggressive, successful and goal oriented people. If nothing is done about the situation, then you make the hard call to determine if you want to remain in the company and endure the stress that bullying causes or choosing to leave the company.
In conclusion, many bullies exhibit their character because they are fighting their fears; rise above this folly. You might not be in control of their behavior, but you’re always in control of yours. Many bullies will stop targeting you if they don’t get the reaction that they’re looking for from you. Bullying left unchecked can do lots of damage emotionally, physically or psychologically.
All companies should have zero tolerance on workplace bullying and require coworkers and employers to treat each other with respect and dignity.