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Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom

~  Oprah Winfrey


♦ If you are the victim of bullying in the workplace, frankly you want it to just stop.  Now.   You don’t want to deal with it day in and day out.  If you are a witness to the bullying or incivility, you may be unsure of how to help.  You may be afraid you will be attacked next. In either case, solutions, tips, and new tactics are key.

  • What can we do?
  • How can we help affect change in behavior?
  • How can we protect our current jobs – especially if you don’t have the luxury of changing jobs immediately.

Workplace Series:  Actionable Solutions and Practices to Address Bullying in the Workplace.

In this series of articles, we will focus on steps you can take in your current job, role, or position to address and reduce the impact of workplace bullying.

Actionable Step #1 –   When Necessary Give Them Space

When the workplace bully begins to shout or become verbally abusive, if you are bully and there is no witness or mentor around to support you – Exit. Immediately.    It is not part of your job description to allow bullying, or stand there and “take it”.   By removing your self from the abusive scenario, the offensive coworker should also have time to calm down.

Once you have removed yourself, you have things to consider:

  • Is there a true workplace issue that is impacted or needs to be discussed?  What was the cause of the attack and was it related to the business, a customer, a problem that needs solving?  Is it possible to refocus the attention on a business issue?
  • Is this a persistent occurrence with this particular individual?  Does it happen only when it’s just the 2 of you?  In a meeting?
  • If yes, who should attend discussion?  Should it be a mentor, a co-worker, your manager?
  • Do I need to set up a meeting with management or HR to address the issues?  You may want to create an agenda for this meeting, with clear questions, concrete examples and outline your desired outcome of the meeting.
  • Do I have any documentation or witnesses to support my position and/or concerns?

What is my plan to deal with the bully going forward?

  • What does “good look like” regarding this issues and the working relationship with this bullying team member?  After all, no job or workplace is perfect, but you may have a vision and a minimum standard of communication and conduct that you want to experience going forward.
  • What exactly do I want?  Is it possible to achieve in this workplace environment?
  • Are there phases of improvement that I can live with?

Actionable Tip Homework

  • Evaluate and plan your next step.
  • Document every encounter.

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