We’ve all encountered a bully at some stage in our lives. Someone who is intimidating, threatening and just downright mean.
While most of us will picture a child on the playground when we think about bullies, they exist in our workplaces too.
Here’s what you should do if you encounter one in your office.
Bullies will automatically look for people that they can boss around and intimidate. To counteract this practice being more assertive in the workplace. Speak in an authoritative tone and practice positive body language. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel particularly confident you can fake it.
Call it out
Bullies thrive on silence. Don’t be afraid to call out their negative actions. You don’t need to stoop to their level, instead the next time they raise their voice or become threatening simply state what they are doing and then leave the situation.
For example, ”I am not going to continue this conversation when you are shouting” or ”Come back to me when you have calmed down”.
If you feel personally victimised by one of your coworkers then you need to start recording their actions. Keep a diary of every incident that happens. It can just be a simple written note of what was said (or done) and when.
Keeping track of their behaviours will help you to see patterns and give you solid evidence in case you need to take the matter further. Do not keep the diary at work where someone could stumble upon it. Leave it at home.
Talk to trusted colleagues
Is this negative behaviour solely directed at you or are your colleagues in the same boat? It’s reassuring to know that you are not facing this alone.
If they have not been targeted by the bully perhaps they have witnessed some of the negative behaviours? Their evidence will prove useful if you need to escalate a complaint.
Remember to only talk to coworkers that you trust so that your issue doesn’t become idle gossip.
Arrange a meeting with your boss
If the issue persists over time you need to talk to your boss about it. Plan a meeting in advance and book a quiet room away from the main office floor.
Before the meeting jot down a few notes that you want to cover. This will make sure that you hit your key points and don’t get caught up in the emotion of it all (which is totally understandable).