We think that bullying stops at school. Do a reality check. Your school bully has grown up and entered workforce too. Just like you, your school bully too needs a livelihood but he has not left his bullying traits at school. If you encounter bullying at office don’t think that it’s something unusual.
The first step of solving any problem is the acceptance that you have a real problem at hand. You should be able to differentiate between strong management techniques and bullying. You might think that your office bully is not a bully but following authoritarian management style. But get your antennae attuned. Every kind of management style is interested in getting the work accomplished and goal achieved. But a bully at office will be more interested in humiliating you, scoring over you, ruining your reputation than caring about organizational goals and targets.
Once you have spotted the problem of getting bullied at office, set out to assuage the situation.
- Improve your Body Language: Pay attention to the way you walk, sit, talk to others and conduct yourself at meetings. Look straight into your office bully’s eyes. Stand straight without being threatening or stiff. A bully is basically a coward and suffering from low self esteem. Bullying you at office is a camouflaging technique for a person lacking in self confidence. With your non-verbal gestures you can send a signal that you are being unaffected by the bully.
- Make the Office Bully Aware that You are Aware: Let the bully know that you know and you are not going to put up with bullying in office. Show him overtly and covertly that this is simply not on and you will not take things lying down. Basically bullies are insecure persons and they use harassment to mask their own incompetency. If the office bully is your superior then he can damage your reputation and hold your promotion. So think before you adopt a confrontational approach. Try to gain the confidence of your colleagues and seniors before confronting the bully head on.
- Keep a Record: Keep a record of the ill behavior of your office bully. Keep all the inappropriate mails, faxes, e-mails and smses. If your office bully has harassed you in front of your office-mates, talk to them and try to know what they are thinking. If you are planning to complain to your HR department, will your office colleagues be willing to stay behind you firmly? Keep a record of office bully’s misconduct. Don’t forget to record the time, date, witnesses, what was said to you and how you felt.
- Avoid Staying Alone with the Bully: Don’t go and talk to the bully in private. Take a colleague along with you if you have to talk to the bully. If you can’t take anyone along with you, don’t resort to verbal talks to the office bully but relay on written communication. If it is absolutely necessary to talk to him, wear your self confidence and show him that he can’t unruffle you easily.
- Talk to your Office Colleagues: Talk to your office colleague and discuss the matter with them. Ask whether they too are suffering at the hands of the office bully? How does the office bully behave with others? Try to ask others how they deal with the bullying at office? It will give you a perspective and you can seek help of others to deal with the office bully.
- Approach Concerned Department or Authority: Take help from the concerned person or department from your office to tackle bullying at workplace. Talk to your HR department and check what is your company policy regarding work environment and what options are available to you.
- Resign: Take it as your last option and resort to this step only when you have another job at hand. Don’t consider it as defeat but a step taken for better future. Make your employer know why you are resigning. It might help other employees. Make sure you get legal advice before you design and weighed all the options. This way if you have to make a claim or talk to a tribunal you will be able to prove that you resigned after following due procedure. If you complain to your HR department and still no positive steps were taken you have a legal advantage and you may also be compensated.
Bullying, whether it happens at workplace, at school or even at home is basically a mind game. A mentally weak person is perpetually trying to establish his or her physical authority and this can really work to your advantage if somehow you can show that you are not threatened by his or her tactics.