An eye roll, a glare, a dismissive snort, a nasty remark, a joke at someone’s expense — these are some the subtle tactics of the workplace bully. Such behaviors may not sound like much by themselves. However, that is precisely why they are so insidious and why workplace bullying is so much more common than many people realize.
If you believe that you are the target of bullying:
- Recognize and admit to yourself that you are being bullied and that you don’t deserve to be bullied.
- Recognize that you’re not the source of the problem. Bullying is about control. You didn’t cause the bullying.
- Keep a detailed diary to chronicle each bullying incident. List the date, time, place, exactly what happened or what was said by whom, and who was present.
- Collect evidence. Keep copies of bullying notes, emails, text messages, or other documents. Take photographs of property or equipment that was destroyed or tampered with by the bully.
- Keep copies of documents that contradict the bully’s accusations against you (time sheets, reports, etc.).
- Don’t remain silent. Doing so allows the bully to continue to intimidate you. If you don’t say something, the bullying may get worse.
- Report the bullying behavior to the appropriate person in your workplace, either your supervisor or another designated individual. Present the facts from your diary, documents you’ve collected, and lists of witnesses to the bullying.
- Don’t confront the bully by yourself. If the decision is made for you to confront the bully, ask your supervisor or another person to approach the person with you.
- Expect the bully to deny your accusations. Let the facts speak for you.
- Follow formal procedures if informal efforts are not effective. Make a detailed written complaint to your employer as per your workplace’s grievance policy.
Unfortunately, many targets of bullying feel helpless and don’t realize that it’s possible to take action, or what action to take. Share this information with your colleagues and commit to making your workplace one that’s bully-free. – Dr. Laura Hills, President, Blue Pencil Institute, www.bluepencilinstitute.com