How To Handle Bullying At Workplace With Ease-The Samurai Way

workplace bullying

Workplace bullying is harmful. It is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could mentally hurt and isolate an employee in the workplace. It might be offensive or intimidating and it can be directed at one person or a group of people.

Bullying makes you feel uncomfortable, less respected, and emotionally hurt. It is quite common in the workplace and it can take many forms- verbal, nonverbal, physical, and worst psychological. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. workers experience bullying in the workplace and 19 percent witness it, according to a national survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute. The most common bullying behaviors at the workplace take the shape of mistreatment and verbal abuse. Bullying does not come necessarily from a line manager, it can also come from a colleague, collaborator, or an external partner.

In this article, we share tips on how to handle bullying at the workplace.

Most common bullying types at the workplace

The bully boss

The most common and repetitive bullying types at the workplace come unfortunately from a line manager or a boss. Of course, in an ideal world, senior leaders would immediately fire people who are toxic to a workplace but rarely that happens. Some of the behaviors that bully bosses could consider ”normal” can seriously harm an employee mentally.

Let us look at the bully boss signs:

1. A boss who is reminding an employee of mistakes previously done just for the sake of criticizing.

2. Rediculizing an employee in front of other workers, in a meeting or even individually.

3. Playing with the responsibilities of an employee such as degrading the employee’s tasks or giving tasks below the level of competence or role.

4. Giving impossible tasks to an employee is intimidating or avoiding tasks that should be the employee’s responsibility.

5. A boss can intimidate a manager by dealing with the manager’s subordinates directly.

6. Ignoring an employee or just not respecting an employee's opinion.

7. Spreading false rumors. This type of bullying can damage an employee’s reputation in the company, and amongst peers.

8. Pushing indirectly or directly an employee to resign.

9. Throwing jokes on an employee. (This can be teasing, intimidation, or racist remarks).

10. Looking for mistakes to trap the employee.

11. Verbal abuse like shouting, using inadequate words.

12. Physical abuse which is considered the extreme type of bullying.

How To handle a bully boss

The number one reason people leave their job is that they don’t like their boss. If you feel frustrated going to the office because you are ignored and cut down, you are dealing with a bully boss or working in a hostile work environment. Handling a bully boss can be challenging, however, below are some of the most important tips to follow.

Tip 1: Move your focus

The best thing you can do to handle a toxic or a bully boss is first to move your focus to your work, when you focus solely on the tasks of your role, you stop giving off the vibe of fear and anxiety from your boss.

Tip 2: Set limits

You should set limits and boundaries by being strong and showing your bully boss that you are not an easy-going person. You must let your boss understands that you do not tolerate the negativity, lack of respect, or how you’re being treated. If your boss argues or starts acting out, leave the conversation and escalate to the person above your boss. If your boss is not able to communicate rationally, address your concerns to the official channel.

Tip 3: Get support

Get people to support you. These can be either co-workers, management of the same level as your boss, or even top managers to whom your boss reports. The more people involved, the stronger the case you give to human resources to intervene and possibly seek to further investigate your toxic boss. The more evidence that is brought into human resources from multiple people the clearer the pattern of abuse.

Tip 4: Build your case

Get as much information as you can about your boss’s wrong decisions. Typically, bully bosses are power hungry, they love to control and thrive for power. This can make them lose control instead or take wrong decisions. Keep track of such incidents and add them to the grievance you will raise. However, ensure 100% that your boss’s directions were completely wrong.

Tip 5: Raise officially your grievance

If you feel that your bully boss is not considering formal or informal conversations with him/her, file a formal complaint and allow human resources to investigate. Focus the conversation on how your bully boss is hurting your productivity. Talk about how it’s affecting your morale and performance.

Your boss will definitely know and don’t be intimated because of that. Bully or toxic bosses are cowards, you will see a slight change in their behaviors but don’t stop there. Ensure that your case is taken seriously.

How to handle the bully coworker

When you feel intimidated to meet certain colleagues or avoid having lunch or break depending on who is in the room, take a look at your interaction with a particular coworker. You may find that he or she is bullying you.

First, try to understand if there is anything wrong you are doing with that colleague and solve it informally. If the situation does not change, get an alliance at work whether it’s simply confirming your perspective or speaking on your behalf. If you think that the bully coworker is deliberately trying to be mean, don’t be afraid to call out the bad behavior when it happens. You need to be strong in making immediate corrections. You can either correct the behavior on the spot or after the incident. The main message here is to stop the bullying behavior.

Last Thoughts

If you are an HR professional, you need to ensure to have formal procedures for dealing with bullying at the workplace. There are various tips out there about how to deal with bullies, but swift justice is the best remedy. If you are an employee who has been bullied, I advise you to be brave and remember that bullying never has to do with you, it is the bully who is insecure.

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