When you become a mature adult with a career and real life responsibilities, you’d like to think that the concept of bullying is something that is left behind on the school playground, but sadly, we know that this isn’t always the case. It beggars belief for many, but the truth is that bullying in the workplace is a very real thing for a lot of people around the world, and it something that can ruin not only careers but also lives. If you sense that something might be brewing in your own professional life, then here is how to deal with bullying at work.
1. Confront Them
In certain cases, a bully isn’t even aware of their unacceptable behaviour until someone picks them up on it. Before you take things to an external level, don’t be afraid to address them at an appropriate moment and ask them why they are continuing to make you feel upset or uncomfortable at work. If they refuse to accept your complaints or acknowledge any wrongdoing, that is the moment to go elsewhere with your problem.
2. Talk to the Right People
When you decide to finally open up about your bullying experience, make sure that you do it via the correct avenues. Go to human resources to report your issues rather than just pulling a friend aside and telling them about it, because in truth that second option amounts to nothing more than office gossip. By telling HR, you are going down an official route that is designed to be able to help you and resolve the issue more quickly.
3. Formal Help
If you think you have reached a point where even a simple HR meeting isn’t going to cut it, then you can always take things outside of the office and seek help from external assistance. Somewhere like ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service is a good place to start, as they can provide free and impartial advice that doesn’t risk politicising or splitting the office. An independent body can sometimes be the most sensible option if your bullying situation is extremely sensitive and delicate.
4. Stay Calm and Professional
It’s the same kind of advice you would give to a bullied school kid: stay calm, stay professional, and be the bigger person in the situation. Bullies do what they do because they are looking for a rise out of a person, so if you don’t give them that rise, they won’t be able to get the satisfaction and thrill they crave. You should still be reporting them, but in the meantime, staying cool and collected can encourage them to lose a little bit of interest.