How to Deal With a Bully at Work
Surely, most of you admit that working with colleagues is more fun and interesting than working alone. A strong bond often develops among colleagues and they spend their lunch breaks and even leisure time together.
Nevertheless, human nature is diverse and you might sometimes come across a colleague who refuses to be friendly. He might even start attacking you and spread false rumors about you in front of other colleagues or your management. If his effort is systematic and long-term, then his actions must be considered as bullying (or mobbing) and need to be dealt with immediately.
What should you do?
Keep track of everything that has happened. Write down everything your bully told you and who witnessed it. If you have any incriminating documents such as emails, save them on your personal computer.
Don’t try to please
The natural reaction is to please the bully assuming he leaves you alone if he likes you. That’s a mistake. If you play nice and don’t fight back, the bully will think the victim is weak and vulnerable which will only increase his efforts.
Find an ally
Try to establish good relations with the remaining colleagues. This way, you won’t feel like you are alone and the others will have tendency to stand up for you or testify in your favor. Additionally, the bully won’t be able to turn others against you even though he will surely try.
Don’t get emotional
When you finally decide to bring this matter to your management’s attention, try not to make it all about you and your emotions. Instead, try to argue practically and emphasize that such behavior is detrimental to the performance of the department or that the projects fail to complete the deadline, resulting in financial losses. Emphasize that you are asking for an intervention not primarily for yourself but for the good of the company.
And when the revenge comes?
Behavioral change is complex and in some cases impossible. It might happen that bullying won’t stop even after you officially complain to your supervisor. In addition, if there is a retaliation for your action, it will usually be very inconspicuous to make it difficult for both management and HR to intervene. Make sure you don’t stop fighting for your rights, but on the other hand it is really the responsibility of the company's leadership to avoid such behavior in the workplace.
The best advice we can give you is not to let anyone treat you this way. If there is no improvement, just go and take your experience and skills elsewhere. We are sure every other company will welcome you!