Dealing with Bullying at Work
If you have been bullied at work, there are some things you could do. Find the strength and courage to have a face-to-face discussion with the person whom you believe is bullying you. This is not an easy thing to do and for many, it will take tremendous courage. Remember …
- You want to be calm, confident, respectful and professional. Do not try to change them, because you can’t.
- As it is quite likely that you are not the only one who is bullied by this individual, do not make it personal.
- Do not stoop to the bully’s level of behavior.
- Tell him or her, calmly and respectfully, how you feel as a result of their actions or words.
This may be something you would consider doing after discussion with a friend, your spouse, or a counsellor.
You could involve yourself in activities and avoid interactions with the bully if possible. Find co-workers with whom you get along, and work on meaningful projects with them. These co-workers become a part of your support network.
Do your job well, and find personal and professional satisfaction in meeting your work objectives. Find activities outside of work that inspires and motivates you, whether it is a sport, a hobby, church-related, or family-oriented activities.
If the bullying persists or gets worse, speak with your human resource department, or your union representative. Record all bullying incidents that have occurred. Be clear and be specific about the actual incident, the location, and the date and time when it occurred. Be sure to include the names of witnesses. Include how the incident made you feel, how it affected your work, and if you needed professional help after it happened.
If you feel you have been manipulated into acting unjustly or speaking disgracefully against another person, review the role you played in the situation. What is it about yourself that has led you to believe the manipulator? Are you swayed by popular opinion, or have you buckled under peer pressure?
Ask yourself how you might feel if you were the targeted person. Then ask yourself what you might do differently next time. Stand up for yourself, and take responsibility. The workplace is intended to be a respectful and productive environment. How are you contributing to this respectful and productive environment?
If the situation is not something you could tolerate any longer, leaving the job is an option, although this may seem like an unfair and difficult decision. There are many factors to consider before taking such a step. For many of us, ensuring a stable income to provide for our family is our primary motivation to remain employed. Workplaces and employers vary greatly from one to the next, however bullies exist at different levels in all organizations.
Ask yourself, what is the impact of bullying on your mental health? What is your level of tolerance, and are you able to manage the stressful situation at work? Should you remove yourself from an unhealthy environment and work elsewhere?
There are many more questions to work through. A professional such as a counsellor can help you identify your personal goals, work through options that are based on your values and priorities, and work out an achievable personal plan that is both meaningful and rewarding.
A counsellor can also help you build up your resilience, give you tips on how to manage your anxiety, and provide you with relaxation and stress management strategies to calm your mind and body.
In the meantime, know that you are not at fault. No one deserves to be treated disrespectfully, nor be subjected to harassment and humiliation at work. Be strong, and remember, do not stoop to the level of the bully.
Call us at 604-484-2737 if you wish to speak with a professional about any of these issues.