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Susan M. Heathfield

You Can Deal With Bullying at Work

By October 30, 2013

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Need help with bullies and nastiness at work? My recent post about what constitutes a hostile work environment prompted several comments and notes from readers.

They all asked the same question. What, they asked, should people do about bullies and other mean, nasty work behaviors when they don't meet the legal definition of hostile which usually involves discrimination.

How to address bullying at work is one place to start. Writing about bullying at work evoked a number of memories of workplaces over the years.

I don't believe I was ever bullied but I witnessed several instances of bullying. I have also heard bullying stories from so many readers that the figures in my new article about bullying seem reasonable. If 72% of bullies are bosses, reading through the bad boss stories on my website is enlightening. Many of the bad bosses do exhibit bullying behavior.

How to Deal With Bullying

My focus is identifying the extent of the bullying problem and then, focusing on how to address the bullying. I make one caveat; if you feel physically threatened or were physically threatened by a bully, report the behavior immediately to your manager, Human Resources, and probably the police, too. The tips and approach I advocate for dealing with bullying are not for situations that are escalating towards violence.

These tips are for your more run-of-the-mill bully who thinks he or she becomes more important or more competent if they can take confidence away from someone else.

If you are experiencing bullying, or witnessing another employee with the problem, I encourage you to address the bullying. There is nothing a bully likes more in his or her target than to find someone who acquiesces to the treatment by doing nothing.

At last count, 174 readers have shared their stories about bullying and I hope to see some more good ideas for dealing with bullying. If you have experienced bullying or witnessed bullying, please share your story.

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Image Copyright Alina Solovyova-Vincent

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