Fresh Spotlight

Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom

~  Oprah Winfrey


If you are the target of bullying in the workplace, frankly you want it to just stop immediately.   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.

Let’s focus on steps you can take in your current job to address and reduce the impact of workplace bullying. Learning what has worked for others can provide answers as well.

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, then you may need to exit immediately.   

It is not part of your job description to allow bullying, microaggressions, or stand there and “take it”.   By removing your self from the abusive scenario, the offensive coworker may calm down or move on.


Once you have removed yourself, you have questions, including:

  • 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 two of you alone?  In a meeting with witnesses?
  • If yes, who should attend the discussion to observe and support you? 
  • 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?  If yes, you may want to create an agenda for this meeting, with clear questions, concrete examples and outline your desired outcome of the meeting. Bring any documentation or witnesses to support the position and concerns.

Future Plan

What does “success look like” regarding these issues and the working relationship with this bullying team member? No job or workplace is perfect; however, you may define a minimum standard of communication and style that you want to experience going forward. Ask yourself:

  • What exactly do I want? 
  • Is it possible to achieve this 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 – discretely.

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