In adult life, people choose their friends. However, most people aren’t lucky enough to choose who they work with. In fact, workplace bullying is a prominent issue in all kinds of businesses and industries, across the country. Unfortunately, most workers aren’t able to just pick up and leave if they’re being bullied. So what should they do?
When dealing with a bully, it can be a good idea to compartmentalize. This means separating how bullying makes a person feel, from how it impacts them in the workplace. Strategies as simple as counting down the hours until the end of a shift can be helpful here. One of the silver linings of dealing with workplace bullies is that it reminds people to separate their work life from the rest of their identity.
The person being bullied must protect their own reputation. One step is to limit involvement with the bully. Making it a point to avoid them can be difficult in small offices. However, with a truly awful bully, it’s likely there will be allies present in the workplace. By banding together and offering support for each other, co-workers can make working with a bully bearable.
It’s unwise to fight back. By engaging with a bully, workers may make themselves look petty and lose face. It’s important to maintain a level of professionalism that supersedes that of the bully. One good strategy can even be to kill the bully with kindness, so to speak. By making it a point to be generous and gracious, workers set themselves up to look good in front of the world. Being generous can expose the bully for being the small-minded person that they are.
Reframing can also be an amazing tool when dealing with a bully. This goes along with the idea of killing a bully with kindness. Instead of personalizing the bully’s actions, center them where they belong. Think how unhappy the bully must be. They must be having a bad day to act this way. Understand that the problem lies with them and no one else.
Even if a bully pushes you to your limits, refrain from physically fighting back. If you want to action beyond the tips mentioned above, arrange a meeting with human resources. Going this route will prove your professionalism and make your rise above the bully.
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