Did you know that 50% of all people in the workplace will be bullied at some point in their working careers? How to deal with these difficult people is a matter that is gaining increasing attention by employers and HR departments and certainly by those who experience the crafty side of this destructive phenomenon. Dealing with the bully can literally be a matter of life and death.
Here are ten points to consider if you feel you are being bullied in the workplace:
- First, trust your inner voice which tells you that you are being targeted. The bully by nature is an insidious creature who needs control and is very skilled at not going too far so as to look innocent and not get caught. But make no mistake, the bully intends to injure and will strike again and again slowly depleting your sense of self. This process is insidious and often goes undetected by the target destroying their trust in themselves.
- Targets often feel embarrassed or even childish in raising their concerns and want to stuff their feelings, hoping that everything will go away. Admit this and talk to someone about it.
- If you think you might be a target of bullying, talk to a trusted friend and see if they smell a rat too. If so, proceed to explore the issue.
- It’s a good idea to keep a journal of all incidents between you and the bully. This enables you to see a pattern, reinforcing your confidence in the fact that you are being bullied. This process will also provide solid documentation should you decide to solicit legal help.
- When considering how to deal with difficult people, remember that a bully is very insecure. Sometimes the bully will leave you alone if you stand up to him. It’s important to weigh the situation, however to see whether this is advisable or if it will serve to further escalate their destructive tactics. Some bullies will back off while others will become more obstinate. Trust your instinct here and don’t act recklessly.
- As a target you may manifest a variety of symptoms that are confusing to you. Here are a few of them: sleep loss, fatigue, loss of self confidence, loss of appetite, nausea, dizziness, depression and even your primary relationships may suffer. Even though you like your job, you find yourself resisting going to work. If this is happening to you, trust your intuition and don’t ignore these symptoms; they are telling you something.
- As a target you may want to approach your HR department for help. Be aware however, that HR departments are not always helpful as they sometimes do not have solid awareness of ‘bullying’ or ‘how to deal with difficult people’. They may tend to treat the problem as ‘your problem’, refusing to see its larger systemic implications. Test the waters gently to see if your company representatives are ready to go to bat for you or turn a blind eye to your plight.
- How to deal with difficult people has also come to the attention of the legal community. When legislation is passed employers will be forced to address the issue. The working establishment has not yet fully recognized the gravity of this matter and in many cases seems content to turn the other way. In fact, many corporate structures promote aggressive and bully-like difficult people!
- The cost of bullying and working with difficult people in monetary and human capital is beyond comprehension. Job changes, sick time, legal bills, stress leave just to name a few, cost the employer dearly each year.
- It is important to take charge if you feel like you’re a victim of bullying. You cannot afford to ignore this pattern as it will slowly destroy you. Trust those closest to you and open yourself to their help during this difficult time. Also trust your hunch about bullying in your life. Be proactive and protect yourself.