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Dealing with Intimidation and Bullying at Work
If you are being bullied at work, it can be a total nightmare. You can feel trapped in the situation, because you need the money and you like the job.
Bullying at work is far more common than you might have realized. It’s not only bosses who use bullying tactics at work, many people are intimated by co-workers.
In a 2017 survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 19% of Americans say they have experienced bullying at work. 29% of victims of workplace bullying do nothing to stop the intimidation.
When you are at work, you have the right to be safe. Workplace safety is not only about the physical dangers. Workplace bullying can have serious mental health implications. So, if you are being intimidated at work, read these tips on how to deal with intimidation and bullying at work.
1. Don’t Blame Yourself
The first thing to understand about workplace bullying is that it is not your fault. Whatever you may or may not have done at work, there is never any excuse for bullying. The problem is the bully, not you.
2. Think About What You May Have Done to Provoke the Bully
Having said that you shouldn’t blame yourself, you should still take a moment to consider if there is anything that you have done to provoke the situation.
In most cases, victims of workplace intimidation have done nothing at all to provoke the bully. But it’s still worth thinking about if there is anything you could do to solve the problem.
3. Try Not to Get Emotional
Like school bullies, workplace bullies thrive on the emotional response they get from their victims. Try to stay calm and rational. Deal with the problem in a logical way.
4. Act Before the Bullying Has a Serious Impact on You
Lots of people are afraid of speaking up about workplace bullying. Especially if the bully is a supervisor. Repeated bullying, though, can have a serious impact on your health, so you shouldn’t put up with it. Put yourself first and start working on an action plan to deal with the bully.
5. Don’t Let the Bully Impact on Your Work
Try not to let the bullying impact on the work that you do. If the pace or the quality of your work slacks off, you will be handing the bully a victory. If you start turning up for work late, or taking long lunches, it will give the bully more ammunition.
6. Don’t Take it Personally
Remember the first point we made. This is not your fault, so don’t take it personally. Although it’s small consolation, if the bully weren’t intimidating you, they would turn their attention to someone else. There’s no need to feel like it’s all your fault. Lots of people get bullied at work.
7. Build Your Support Network
Don’t retreat into your office and stop talking to your co-workers. Instead, build relationships with your colleagues and form a support network at work. It is possible that you are not the only victim of the bully’s intimidation. If that is the case, you may be able to work with your co-workers to put an end to the abusive behavior.
8. Start Documenting the Intimidation
Start keeping a journal of the intimidation. Keep a note of the dates and times that the bullying occurs. Keep your journal straightforward and to the point. Don’t embellish it and don’t go into too much emotional detail. Your journal may be used later if any action is taken against the bully.
9. Stand Your Ground and Tackle the issue Head On
Although it’s not always easy to do, confronting the issue may resolve the problem. Remember, you don’t have to put with intimidation at work, so ask the bully to not to talk to you in an aggressive manner. Or, walk away from a confrontation and suggest that you talk about it later.
10. Report It
If you do not like the idea of confronting the bully, you should report the intimidation. Either to the HR department, or a senior manager. When you report bullying, explain the impact that it is having on you. Also explain the impact it is having on your productivity and workplace morale.
11. If It Can’t Be Solved, Leave
Unfortunately, there are no federal laws that deal with workplace bullying. If the bullying is racial, sexual, or discriminatory in any other way, though, you may be able to take legal action.
The bottom line is if the bullying is affecting your health, and you can’t see any way of stopping it, you should think about walking out the door. No job is worth more than your personal well-being.
If you do quit your job over bullying, be sure to be honest in your exit interview. It could help stop this happening to someone else.
Thanks for reading our tips on how to deal with intimidation and bullying at work. We hope that it helps you deal with this very difficult situation. If you do find this post helpful, please feel free to share with your friends on social media.
If you are the target of workplace bullying, or you know someone who is, this book may interest you. It is a book written by the founders of the Workplace Bullying Institute. The book explains the strategies that you can use to deal with a workplace bully.
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