I’m finding that more of my clients are asking me to address workplace bullying. Bullies are really 2-year-olds disguised in adult clothing. This article will give you 3 ideas on how to deal with workplace bullies.
A few questions for consideration:
• Were you bullied as a child?
• Did you fight back or just take it?
• Is there someone at work who is a bully to you or others?
• Does your organization deal with bullies in the workplace?
These questions are ones that are coming up more and more when I talk to clients. They see an increase in bullying and they don’t know how to stop this conflict in the workplace.
Workplace Bullying Idea #1: Fear and Intimidation at Work
The mean boys or girls grow up and become even meaner as adults, especially if no one has ever confronted this negative behavior. Fear and intimidation become part of their daily routine even if they are in leadership roles. Yelling, swearing, ignoring, and demeaning others in front of employees are all ways for bullies to control others. It works because most people don’t know what to do. I’ve been researching this subject lately and have been finding new data to share with my clients.
Workplace Bullying Idea #2: An Actual Example from a Client
A client, Debbie, called me for help in dealing with someone on her board who was bullying her. Debbie’s boss appreciates her and is pleased with her performance because she steadily raises money for the organization. Her boss knows about Sean, a board member who continuously demeans her, and Debbie called me on the suggestion of her boss. Debbie has 100% support from her boss, who wants her to take care of Sean on her own terms. Sean also micromanages Debbie. Debbie and I worked on a few techniques.
Workplace Bullying Idea #3: Examples That Worked for Debbie
Below are some sample statements to use on bullies.
“I don’t want to be belittled. I do want to maximize and collaborate with our different skill sets, connections, and experience in raising as much money for our organization as possible.”
“I’m overwhelmed when I don’t get things done in a timely manner because it is not a professional reflection on our team.”
“I’m frustrated when I’m micromanaged, especially by someone other than my boss because I have a proven track record of success.”
Sean folded his arms at first and did not respond. However, the next board meeting his behavior changed and Debbie left a message on my voice mail at midnight because she was thrilled that she was able to turn things around.
It’s a risk to speak to a bully. At times things actually get worse, especially when they are narcissists! But with practice and support we can all discover ways to resolve these issues. Make sure to send me your own experiences because believe me, you are not alone!