Dealing with Bullies at Work

 According to a nationwide poll by the Employment Law Alliance:

  • 45% of American workers say they've experienced workplace abuse.
  • 40% of workplace bullies are women, and women bullies pick on other women more than 70 percent of the time.
  • Being a target of a bully not only affects your work life, but can also affect your health.

Psychologist Dr. Michelle Callahan has an article out this week with 10 tips for dealing with a workplace bully.  Consider these steps:

  1. Don't get emotional. Bullies take pleasure in emotionally manipulating people. Stay calm and rational to diffuse the situation.
  2. Don't blame yourself. Acknowledge that this is not about you; it's about the bully. Don't lose your confidence, or think you are incapable or incompetent. They are usually beating you at a mind game, not based on your actual work performance.
  3. Do your best work. The bully's behavior will seem more justified if you aren't doing your best work, or if you do things like come to work late, take long lunches, turn in work late, etc.
  4. Build a support network. Instead of allowing the bully to make you retreat into your office, work on building your relationships with your coworkers so that you have support and the bully doesn't turn them against you as well (although she will try and may even be successful).
  5. Document everything. Keep a journal (on your personal computer or in writing, but never leave it in the office) of what happened when (and who witnessed it) so that if you need to escalate this problem to Human Resources, you have the information you need to make your case. Keep emails and notes.

For the rest of her notes, see the full article.