Do You Have a Bully in the Workplace?

Bullying isn’t just happening in the schoolyard. Bullies are becoming more and more frequent in the workplace, too. But rather than ruining your reputation, workplace bullies can damage your career and impact your income. Do you have a bully in the workplace?

Signs of bullying

Some bullies are outright rude to your face, making antagonistic or mean comments. However, many bullies fly under the radar and attack through passive-aggressive tactics. One such tactic is through email. Have you ever received an email crafted to make you look bad and copied to your superiors? That is evidence of workplace bullying.

Gossip is another sign of bullying in the workplace. If you catch wind of someone talking about you behind your back, that is also evidence that you have a workplace bully. Gossip is generically toxic for the workplace, but bullies maintain their gossip focus on one particular person, with the agenda of making them look bad.

Negative impact of having a bully

You may try to take the high road and ignore the bullying. In some cases, this can work. However, ignoring the bully’s tactics leaves your colleagues and superiors with only one side to a story. Unless you are fully confident that people will dismiss the allegations, find a way to defend yourself.

Left unattended, bullies can impact your performance review and chance at a raise or promotion. Your boss may judge you based on hearing a one-sided story from a bully or your boss may judge how you chose to handle the bully. No matter what, having a bully in the workplace can affect your career.

How to handle a bully

In general, it is best to deal with your workplace bully rather than ignore the actions. You have a few options. You could confront your bully directly and let them know that you want them to stop. You could ask around and see whether this person has been bullying anyone else in order to form an alliance. Or, you could go directly to your boss or human resources person to report the issue.  If you were hired under a temporary arrangement, you would contact your staffing agency as well.   

Many workplaces encourage face-to-face communication. So, it looks good if you have tried talking to the bully directly first. If you do get your boss or HR involved, be sure to take along evidence of the bullying, a witness name, or some other proof that it isn’t just a “he said, she said” situation, as that puts your boss in a position of having to choose a side.

When it comes to workplace bullying, take a calm and factual approach. You will likely have to continue working with this person after the bully is confronted. Leaving your emotions out of the situation as best you can will help it to blow over faster. You may not ever be best friends with your bully, but you could work toward forging a more positive working relationship. 

About Shahbaz Ahmed

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