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How to Deal with Workplace Bullies

Each and every one of us has likely encountered a bully at work. Someone who overlooks or belittles your work, makes backhanded comments about your personal life, spreads gossip, humiliates you in public, withholds critical information in order to sabotage you, or blames you without any justification or proof.

So the big question is, what can you do about it?

First, try talking to the person. Gently say something like, We must have gotten off on the wrong foot because the feedback I’m getting is that you’re really unhappy with my work, or I’m rubbing you the wrong way.” This probably won’t work, but at least you tried.

Document EVERYTHING. Get a notebook (don’t use your computer), and start making a log. Keep your emotions out of it. Don’t write, “I was feeling very upset,” or, “They made me feel bad.” If you have to bring this to HR or an attorney, you don’t want to sound like a neurotic, unstable wreck. Instead write,Thursday at 3 p.m., Mary came in and said…” State the facts - only the facts.  

Before you share your log, consider your options. Talk to people who have been at the company for a long time to get a sense of what happens when someone files a complaint. Is it taken seriously? Is the person paid off or fired? Can you ask for a transfer? Can you apply for a different job within the company? What happens? Know that information in advance because at some point, you’re going to have to report this to HR. Your only option may be to look for another job, but at least you can be prepared.

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Tags: Attitude, Behavior, Character-Courage-Conscience, Job, Personal Responsibility, Stop Whining, Start Living, Stress, Tips
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