How to handle the Office Bully

Bullying happens everywhere, including the office. People who are bullies may act that way out of habit or to feel powerful or look important. Learn how to handle the office bully as you improve your work environment and decrease your stress.


Review Your Actions


You never want to blame yourself for a bully's behavior. The individual alone makes the choice to act unkindly toward you. However, you can consider if your attitude or actions could make you a target. Do you show gratitude to everyone for their contributions, share credit for team projects and check your aggression? A trusted coworker can tell you honestly if there's something you do that increases your risk of being bullied.


Stand up for Yourself


When you're the target of a bully, you may be tempted to fight back or become a doormat. In the office, it's important to maintain your professionalism. Resist the urge to get in a shouting match or act in a passive aggressive manner. These actions only fuel the bully and reduce your chances of finding a solution. Instead, take action and make clear "I" statements that show that you will not be pushed around.


Ask Allies to Stand With You


Your trusted coworkers or teammates will help you keep a level head as you deal with the office bully. They will also help you organize your evidence and stand with you as you confront the bully or talk to HR.  


Talk to Human Resources


If your actions don’t achieve results, talk to your HR manager. Remain as emotionally neutral as possible and avoid "he said/she said" statements. Do calculate the cost of the bullying. Because a bully can affect office morale, performance and productivity, the company can suffer. Be prepared to share these costs when you report bullying behavior.


Report Violent Behavior Immediately


When the office bully threatens you in any way, report it immediately. Do not wait! Record the dates and times and what was said or done.


Prepare to Switch Jobs


Despite sanctions or warnings, the office bully may not change. In this case, you may need to move to another department or leave the company. If you absolutely cannot switch jobs, look for ways to survive your situation, which may include working different hours or eating lunch off premises.


The office bully can make your work day miserable. However, these tips help you handle the situation and find relief. Discover more ideas when you talk with your Human Resources manager and work together to create a safe and productive work environment.

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