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According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, more than a quarter of Americans have been the target of workplace bullying.
How do you spot a workplace bully ?
- Threatening, humiliating or intimidating behaviors (i.e. getting up in somebody’s personal space, blocking them from moving through an entry, or a practical joke designed to embarrass, etc. )
- Verbal abuse (cruel comments and teasing---language to undermine somebody’s dignity in a sudden or repeated manner---like a boss that called his team, “morons who couldn’t get a job anywhere else”.)
- Interference with one’s ability to work (for example, withholding resources---like the password to login to a database, or the keys to the work truck)
- Cyberbullying, malicious gossip and spreading rumor are also bullying behaviors
- Bullying may be covert or subtle
- Unlike harassment, bullying is not illegal. Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
- Communicate assertively
- Don’t be passive (doormat), aggressive (like the bully) or passive-aggressive (getting back at the person through indirect behaviors)
- Use I statements and make clear and direct requests
- Set healthy limits and boundaries (i.e. by saying, “no”, or “this isn’t okay”)
- Get support
- From friends, family, therapist, colleagues, boss, or HR
- Develop a plan
- Ask your employer to take action (hand the problem up to the person who can resolve it, focus on the bottom line--too expensive to keep the bully --be ready to leave your job if necessary)