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How to Handle a Bully at Work

When you think of a bully, you may think of the big kid that would take your lunch money and torment you on the playground during recess. Since then you’ve definitely moved on, I mean it was grade school, but it’s still a tender spot under the blanket of your adult ego. That’s why, when there is a bully in the workplace, you had better make sure you know how to deal with them. Whereas grade school bullies resorted to mild physical violence and name calling, workplace bullies will try and mess with the integrity of your work, your work ethic and your attitude at work.

Much like grade school bullies, workplace bullies will use words to hurt you, but they won’t be synonymous with stupid head or dumbo. Instead, they can use their words to spread lies about you, talk down your work to superiors or worse, talk you down to your boss. Perhaps your boss is the bully. Either way, if you are experiencing some kind of bullying at work, then you should consider talking to your human resources department about it. If you are being threatened with physical violence, then you shouldn’t delay reporting this person for a second. If, however, this bully’s form of bullying is more subtle but still makes you feel uncomfortable, then take a look at a few of these things you can do to make sure they do not mess with your job and your work. If they continue, it would be in your best interest to contact your HR department.

Confront Them
If you feel you are being bullied, then your first step would be to confront this person head on. Perhaps they are the kind of person that likes to make snide jokes, but doesn’t quite understand that what they are saying can be hurtful. Perhaps they do know and won’t stop until you call them out on it. It’s important that when you confront them you keep your composure and maintain a professional attitude. Don’t ever get heated or angry and start an argument or fight with them. After all, this is probably what they want. Instead, stay calm and tell this person that they are offending you or making you uncomfortable and if they don’t stop you will take action against them.

Don’t Get Emotional
It’s important that you don’t let this person get the best of you. In other words, don’t show them that you are upset. Yelling, crying or being overly emotional is what they want. Don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you like this because of them. Instead, simply say what it is they are doing to anger you and if they don’t understand then move to the next step. If they do, then your problem is hopefully solved.

Don’t Involve Others
Don’t try and get other workers on your side. This will only create drama and make your workplace a big, gossip-rich mess. Keep this to yourself and if others take notice, they will see how you react professionally to this unprofessional bully and form their own opinion.

Know Your Worth
It is likely that his bully will try and test your confidence in your work. They may ridicule you on the work you are doing or tell you that you are insignificant, etc. Make sure you don’t feed into these words and make sure you know your worth. Don’t let this person intimidate your or mess with your integrity and passion for what you do. Make sure you stay on top of your work and don’t allow this person to bring you down.

Your Boss
If this bully is not your main manager or boss, then make sure your superiors know the work you are doing. It is likely that this bully will try and make it seem like your work is suffering or is not up-to-par. Make sure you keep your work at the same high level and make sure your superiors know what you are working on and what you are doing. Even if this bully tries to compromise your work, your superiors will see you working hard and getting your work done right.

If these tips don’t work for you and you are still being bullied by this person, then you should really consider reporting them. No one wants to be unhappy at work, especially if it has nothing to do with the work you are doing. When someone else in your workplace starts to bring you down, you need to take care of it right away.

Have you ever had a bully in the workplace? Did they compromise your work or your attitude at work?

SOURCE: About.Com
IMAGE: Courtesy of NY Employment Law Attorneys

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter