How to Handle Bullies at Work

It’s a nice thought that bullies go away after you leave elementary school, but the truth is that bullies can show up at any point throughout your life, no matter how old you are. Here’s how to handle bullies in the work place.

1. Acknowledge that you’re being bullied. Understand that it’s simply not acceptable, even if the bully is a manager who you report to. No successful person, like Ian MacKechnie, ever got where they are by being walked on by others.

2. Don’t deal with it alone. Find a trusted friend or co-worker to confide in. Tell them what’s been happening. Allow them to support and guide you. Even better is if you can find a mentor or someone in a senior position at your job to talk to. If you notice that others are being bullied in the same way or by the same people, reach out to them. Together, you can come up with a plan of action.

3. Take care of yourself. Being bullied can have a major impact on your health. If your stress level has been high, you’ll need to find ways to soothe yourself. In order to deal with a bully, you have to have energy and confidence. Make sure to stay healthy in your day to day life. If necessary, take a personal day to clear your head.

4. Prep your case. By writing everything down, you’ll remind yourself of what’s really been going on. You’ll be clear on the events so that it’s easier to explain them to someone else. Be clear about what’s been happening and when it’s been taking place. Document events with as much detail as possible. If other people witnessed the bullying, document this as well. The more of a case you have, the more likely it is that something will be done about the bully.

5. Know when it’s finally time to take action. Don’t put yourself or your job in danger, but respectfully and with a level head approach the problem. Confront the bully and be direct. If they exhibit bullying behavior during the confrontation, point it out. Even if nothing changes, you’ll at least know that you tried to deal with the problem the best way you know how. Then, you can move on to finding other solutions.

6. Report the behavior to your boss or the Human Resources department. If your boss is the person who’s bullying you, talk to their superior.

7. When nothing seems to work, consider finding a new job. If management is responsible for the bullying, there may not be anything you can do to stop it.

Bullies make life more difficult than necessary for their employees and even their co-workers. If you’re being bullied, you don’t have to put up with that kind of treatment. Even making a huge change, like leaving your job, is better than being mistreated every day.