Knowing how to deal with a bully at the workplace is like a superpower because every organisation has them. Some bullies are direct and confrontational, while others are subtle and quite passive. You never even realise they are bullies. Workplace bullying is a prominent menace in work life. Workplace bullying can be described as a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes either physical or emotional harm. Such bullying can occur in different forms. It could be verbal, nonverbal, physical, psychological and can even include humiliation. Dealing with workplace bullying is difficult because unlike the school bully, he/she works within the policies of the organisations and is often your superior. Even after defining in it, some people may still be lost as to what is considered as bullying in the workplace. In every organisation there are laws concerning bullying in the workplace. Examples of bullying in the workplace include physical or verbal abuse, unjustified complaints/criticism, isolation, intimidation, attacks on a person’s appearance, gender, race, family, etc, yelling, humiliation, display of offensive material and more. Some forms of bullying are indirect, they are embedded in the victim’s tasks such as setting unreasonable deadlines, intentionally making work harder, withholding and deliberately denying access to information crucial to the productivity of the victim. There are also different types of workplace bullying, therefore, it is important to know the signs of workplace bullying. Insecure, intimidating, loud, aggressive, cunning, weak and more are all characteristics of a workplace bully.
Here are tips on how to deal with a bully at the workplace.
Assess the situation
Sometimes you may feel bullied but that might not be the case. Assessing the situation will help you evaluate what it is you’re going through. During this process, you can properly analyse your encounters with a workplace bully, how it happened, why it occurred, when it occurred. This will also help you take mental notes in the coming days if you have not been paying mind to such encounters. If you have concluded that you’re being bullied, in assessing the situation you must consider who the bully is, why you are being bullied by this person, and if your colleagues are also being bullied, or it’s just you.
Do not ignore the situation
Do not ignore the situation if after assessment you do realise that there is a situation. Bullying never stops unless you act. Ignoring it will only make you more miserable. Take action, be alert and aware of your situation so as to not be caught off guard.
Record the bully’s actions.
Record the bully’s actions because this will help you have a better memory of his/her actions. As a victim yet to speak up or strike, the bully would think you are powerless. This is the era of social media uproar, you may think you’re alone, but social media is there for you. download an audio recording app to record verbal abuse. Sometimes let your camera be on standby for video evidence. When documenting, it is essential to also document dates, times, and persons present to aid accuracy. Any email or text aiding workplace bullying will be helpful when making your case. Peradventure you need to seek online justice, you’d have enough tea to spill and some more.
Confront the bully with their own behaviour
Bullies never expect you to fight back. They keep bullying you because you haven’t fought back. When confronted and they see they cannot scare you, they lose control and you see that the bully is nothing but an insecure chicken. Bullies always dish out horror but cannot take it. Confront them with their behaviour, sometimes this needs you doing to them what they do to you. In confronting a bully, you have to do it on your own terms, in your own turf. Ask a direct question to a bully that talks over you. Their response will expose their character. When they talk, talk back, and give them receipts (evidence), not all though. Voice out openly in front of fellow workers, but never rant, or throw a fit, simply beat a bully at his own game, but never become the bully.
Set a tolerance limit
Everyone has a tolerance level, a level that varies based on individual relationships. Set a limit to things you will tolerate from a bully, that way a bully knows where to draw the line. When you take in everything a bully dishes out, you will get bullied to the extreme. Limits could be an attack on your gender, background, race, physical appearance, financial capability, etc. Bullying should not occur in a proper world; however, we go through a series of good and bad. Reacting every single time will make you lose your mind, therefore set a tolerance limit and ignore them. A bully can only bully you if he/she gets a desirable result from you.
Inform the management if there is a higher one
At some point, the management will have to be notified about workplace bullying, if they are not the bullies themselves and truly do not condone acts of bullying. This will help when seeking a permanent solution to your bullying situation. Sometimes the best way to get a bully is to have a bully’s superior on your side. If all things are positive, workplace bullies could be queried, suspended, or even laid off, as punishment for their actions. This should and sometimes will serve as a deterrence for bullies in the future.
Get another job
At times getting another job may be the answer. In a country like Nigeria, jobs aren’t readily available to make changes if you wish, hence, some people remain in such harsh conditions until they break or breakthrough. However, once you notice this bullying, don’t wait for it to become unbearable, anticipate the breaking point if nothing can be done to stop it, wait for an opportunity to leave. Apply for other jobs, make inquiries, if the company has another branch find out more about transfers, save up and start a side hustle, do anything legal to sustain you whatever the outcome may be. You must always have a contingency plan.