Following on from my previous post 'Workplace Bullying Part 1 - Bullying Bosses', here are my top tips for dealing with a bully at work.
- Remember – no-one can make you feel bad about yourself unless you allow them to. Thoughts are just thoughts. That’s all they are. They can’t hurt you. They are closely linked to your emotions, therefore, if you let your chaotic thoughts settle (like the snow in a snow globe), your emotions will settle down too.
- Work smarter, not harder. Working long hours can completely remove your ability to think rationally.
- Nip any behaviour you think is unacceptable in the bud. Sit down with the person (no matter how hard you find it) and tell them what behaviour you will and won’t accept. I know it’s easier said than done, but when I speak to people who’ve suffered at the hands of a bully, they all, without fail, say that not speaking up when the bullying started was their biggest regret.
- Tell a more senior manager, Human Resources or your Union representative what’s happening – whichever you feel the most comfortable with. Jane (the lady from the case study in my previous post) didn’t do that at the time, but she now realises that is exactly what she should have done. She was so frightened of her boss (exactly how he wanted her feel) that she was scared to tell anyone.
- I always recommend that you should try and deal with issues informally in the first instance. However, if it can’t be dealt with informally, then you should raise a formal grievance. It is a legal requirement that every UK company has a formal grievance procedure, no matter how small the company is. Details of your rights under current employment legislation can be found at the ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) website www.acas.org. If you do end up resigning from your job (which should be a last resort) and wish to bring an employment tribunal against the company, you won't be able to do so unless you've first raised a formal grievance and given the business an opporunity to deal with your issues.
- Talk to your friends and family about it. Don’t try to cover it up and pretend that it’s not happening. The old adage “A trouble shared is a trouble halved” is very true. They can help you put some clarity and perspective around the issue, something that we tend to lose when we’re in the thick of it. However, a word of caution - friends and family will tend to just agree with you because they don't like to see you hurt. Sometimes, speaking to someone impartially can be more beneficial.
- Get yourself a professional coach or talk to someone who is completely impartial who can look at the problem objectively with you and help find positive ways of managing the issue.
- Take some sort of inspired action. Be an Owner, not a Victim.
Last year I was asked to cover this topic on a local Radio station. I was only meant to be on air for 10 minutes, however, the station was completely inundated with calls and I ended up hosting a 'call in' which lasted over 2 hours. This topic completely took over the whole Radio show which just goes to illustrate how prevalent this issue is.
In summary, resigning should always be a last resort. You should never feel forced to leave your job. If you feel that you are being bullied at work by your boss or another colleague, always try and speak to someone in authority about it. Don’t suffer in silence. It can affect every part of your life, including your personal relationships and your health and it’s so unnecessary. Don’t brush it under the carpet in the hope that it will go away, in invariably doesn’t.
If you’ve been affected by workplace bullying and would like to talk in confidence about it, please feel free to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation about how we can help you. Alternatively, if you're a business who require help with victims of workplace bullying, please call us about our corporate services.