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Tips for Dealing With Workplace Bullies

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Tips for Dealing With Workplace Bullies
Would you believe that one in three working adults have been bullied on the job – mostly by their boss? According to a recent survey we found in USA Today, it’s common for bullying managers to belittle, isolate, intimidate, and sabotage their employees – often by screaming or sending out scathing emails. However, a lot of bullies use subtle, easily-covered-up behaviors, like purposely leaving them out of the loop so they can’t do their job, mocking them during meetings or spreading malicious gossip.

According to workplace consultant and bullying expert Catherine Mattice, even the smallest insults can build up over time. Bullied workers often feel anxious and depressed, can’t sleep, and are at increased risk for health issues, like high blood pressure. Bullied employees also take more breaks, more sick days, and are less likely to help coworkers. Studies show that workers who are bullied are less creative, less able to focus, and less productive than workers who aren’t bullied. In fact, some employees feel so overwhelmed by the bullying, they feel the only way out is suicide. Mattice points out that bullied victims often keep quiet – either because they’re embarrassed, or they’re afraid of being punished if they speak up. If you’re a victim of workplace bullying, what can you do?

First, if a bully insults you, don’t insult them back. That’ll just make things worse. Instead, repeat their comment back, like, “Did I hear you correctly when you said (blank)?” It may shame them into changing their behavior, and it shows you won’t be intimidated.
Also, skip the emotional outburst, and stick with the facts. For example, calmly say: “In today’s meeting, you cut me off and said my idea was worthless.” Then, go on to explain why it bothered you. Bullies often back off when they’re faced with resistance and logic.
Finally, report the incident to your supervisor, the bully’s supervisor, or Human Resources. It’s important to make an official report. For more information, check out the website BullyingInstitute.org.
 
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