Bullying is an issue that continues to raise its ugly head, particularly in the workplace.
If you feel as if you’re being bullied at work, here are some things you can do about it.
1. Don’t get emotional
The one thing bullies are trying to get out of you is an emotional reaction. Bullies take pleasure in emotionally manipulating people, and particularly in getting you to react. Stay calm and rational to diffuse the situation.
2. Don’t blame yourself
It’s not you, it’s them. That may sound like a cliché, but in this case, it’s the truth. Don’t lose your confidence, or think you are incapable or incompetent. They are usually beating you at a mind game, not based on your actual work performance.
3. Keep working hard
It’s easier for the bully’s behavior to affect you if you’re down on yourself. Shield yourself with the knowledge that you are putting in extra efforts and doing the best you can. Make sure you aren’t coming to work late, taking long lunches, turning in work late, etc.
4. Build a support network
Instead of being driven into your cube or office by the bully, work on building relationships with your coworkers. That way, you have support in social situations and the bully, who will often single out someone by themselves, can’t pick you out.
5. Document the activities
Keep a journal (on your personal computer or in writing, but never leave it in the office) of what happened when (and who witnessed it) so that if you need to escalate this problem to Human Resources, you have the information you need to make your case. Keep emails and notes.
6. Seek help
If you think you’re being bullied, it’s time to start talking to others who can help you manage this situation. Try a mentor, advocate, seasoned/experienced friend, even a legal advocate who specializes in bullying and inappropriate or discriminatory behavior in the workplace. Your human resources department doesn’t have the luxury of keeping everything you say confidential, so don’t treat a meeting with them like a counseling session where you should share everything you think/feel or assume that they can or will fix the problem for you.
7. Get counseling
Another form of help is professional counseling. It will help you deal with the stress, especially if the bullying is already affecting your physical and mental health. You have to take care of yourself.
8. Stay healthy
Maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle outside of work to help you cope with the madness at work. Work out, get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy diet. Try taking gym breaks in the middle of the day to help get away from it all.
9. Educate yourself
Learn everything you can about bullying, your company’s policies on inappropriate behavior and occupational law regarding this kind of experience. The more you know, the better your chances of successfully dealing with this situation.
10. Don’t expect to change the bully
They very well may not think they have a problem, and won’t react well when they are told they do. You have no control over a bully’s willingness to accept that they have a problem and to work on it. Do your best to manage the situation, but don’t be afraid to speak up. A company should be observant and responsive to the needs of their workers and the general work environment.