It would be nice to believe that bullying is something that goes away once you are no longer a kid. Unfortunately, some people just learn that throwing their weight around got them their way when they were younger, so why not in the workplace too?
Work bullies are even worse since now they could adversely affect your career. But as The Muse explains, you also have more tools as an adult to put a stop to the mistreatment.
Try to Talk it Out
This option might not feel safe for everyone, so if you seriously worry about spiteful retaliation, definitely avoid handling this directly.
But if you feel like this might just be a misunderstanding that can be straightened out, try to have a reasonable conversation explaining how this person’s behavior makes you feel. Just note that the longer you wait to do so, the more ingrained they will be in their ways.
Start Documenting Incidents
It’s easier to substantiate the problem in a complaint with hard evidence. If the bully is being derogatory to you through texts or emails, be sure to save those as evidence.
Perhaps even start directing more of your communication to them through written channels so anything incriminating has an easier paper trail to follow.
Talk to the Manager
Unless the bully is your manager (or someone they are close to) then talking to your boss is a good first step to trying to correct this.
Explain the situation and how it is becoming detrimental to your ability to do your job. It might be the bully will be more open to amending their behavior if it comes from someone with more power than them.
Go to HR
Human resources is the highest you can take things on the chain of command. They are solely dedicated to handling matters like this and will investigate any claims of a hostile work environment. If nothing else has worked, HR should take things seriously to avoid any legal consequences for the company.
And the unfortunate reality is that sometimes none of these options are successful due to a company work culture that facilitates bullying. In which case, you might need to examine the option of just leaving the company.
Do you also want to learn about the different types of bullies you might encounter at work? Learn more on the subject from The Muse here.
In this TED Talk, Kristen Geez offers advice on how to make a workplace bully resign.
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