Many people believe that bullying ends once you leave the childish confines of high school. But in reality, these painful situations can continue well into adulthood and within professional workplaces. According to the 2021 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey from the Workplace Bullying Institute, 30% of Americans say they have experienced some form of bullying at work, while 66% expressed that they are aware it occurs.
Abuse in the office is very much alive and can affect anyone at all levels of the corporate ladder. No one is immune, and you should be prepared to handle such occurrences if they happen. If you are dealing with a workplace bully, here are five critical tips to help you confront their behavior with tactfulness and professionalism.
There is a silver lining regarding bullying in an office environment. You have a window of opportunity to address the issue before it becomes a long-term problem. When a person mistreats you, call out their inappropriate behavior right away. Be assertive but calm and civil. Stand boldly, bring attention to the problem, and explain why it is unacceptable. Never brush off bullying early on; otherwise, it may get worse.
Even if someone is bullying you at work, other people may not believe you, or they might downplay it. As the victim, you might not even realize the severity of the bullying until it is too late. Always document the bully’s behavior, creating a list of their actions to serve as proof in case you need to escalate the problem to a higher-up or human resources.
Workplace bullying can take a toll on your mental and physical health, disrupting your work and personal life. Bullying doesn’t always end immediately, so until it does, you must take care of your health. Combat your negative experiences with positive ones, like hanging out with friends, enjoying your hobbies, or learning a new skill. Do not allow a bully to hold power over you. Stay positive, and focus on the endgame.
If your efforts are not enough to stop the bullying, go to your manager and tell them about the problem. If your manager is the bully, then find another person of authority who can help. Remember, you are not alone in these situations, and there are always people willing to listen and help you to stop workplace abuse. If possible, talk to a leadership figure you trust.
After exhausting all other options, go to the human resources department. HR will ask you questions about your claims and then investigate the matter. Provide your evidence and even consult with witnesses who can testify for you in case they are called in to interview with the HR professionals.
When you feel like giving up, remain firm. Your efforts will ultimately help cultivate a healthy work environment for yourself and your colleagues.
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