Bullying isn’t just something that happens on elementary school playgrounds. It can happen anywhere and to anyone. Bullying in the workplace may look or feel different than what happens with children. In the workplace, bullying could include from threats of violence, but more commonly include gossiping, manipulation, or false accusations. Having bullying present in your office can be detrimental to the mental health and productivity of all employees, even those that may get along well with the bully. Here are ways to deal with workplace bullies whether you are the victim, witness, or leader:
Dealing with Bullies as a Victim
- Speak Out: Staying silent and hoping the bullying will just stop won’t do any good. If someone is bullying you, tell them respectfully to stop. Also, report the bullying behavior to your supervisor so they can investigate and appropriately discipline the bully.
- Take Care of Yourself: Being bullied can take a toll on your mental health. Make an effort to set aside time after work to decompress whether that’s by venting to a loved one or exercising.
Dealing with Bullies as a Witness
- Speak Out: If you see bullying taking place, say something. Address the bully and ask them to stop the behavior. Bring up the problem with your manager in case the victim is too scared of repercussions to report the issue.
- Offer Support: For bullying victims, it can become easy to feel alone. Offer your support to the victim as someone to talk to and as someone who will be there for them in difficult situations.
Dealing with Bullies as a Leader
- Address the Issue: Ignoring reports of bullying will frustrate your employees and allow inappropriate behavior to continue. But you also don’t want to take only one person’s side of the story. Similar to the procedure for dealing with claims of harassment, make sure to meet with the accused bully and a member of HR (or senior leadership) to understand what is happening from their perspective.
- Set Rules: If you do not currently have a policy against bullying, create one. If you already have a policy, reiterate it for your employees understanding.
- Reach out to Helpside: Sometimes dealing with a workplace bully can seem like too much to handle on your own. If this is the case, reach out to one of Helpside’s professionals to help you get a hold of the situation.
Create a culture where respect is a priority and keep bullying behaviors out of your workplace.