Five Ways to Deal With a Bully at Work

boxing glovesThere are many things we would love to eradicate from this world forever. Bullying is one of them, especially at work where it’s difficult to escape.

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 28 percent of workers reported they felt bullied at work. In fact, one out of five actually left their jobs due to being bullied! The prevalence is unfortunately among certain minorities and employees with lower incomes, it turns out that employees in management as well as possessing post-secondary degrees were definitely not immune to bullying.

It knows no boundaries or limits, according to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. She explained in the press release:

“One of the most surprising takeaways from the study was that bullying impacts workers of all backgrounds regardless of race, education, income and level of authority within an organization. Many of the workers who have experienced this don’t confront the bully or elect not to report the incidents, which can prolong a negative work experience that leads some to leave their jobs.” 

In many instances the bully was actually the boss! That is, 45 percent of respondents revealed it was their boss whereas 25 percent of participants mentioned it was someone higher up in a leadership position but not their direct boss. Nearly half indicated it was a coworker.

The lack of professionalism, consideration and respect can reveal itself in a variety of forms. It could be intimidation, personal insults or passive-aggressive behavior, for example.

One way to deal with a bully could be to report him or her to your Human Resources department. Guess what though? Per the survey, more than half of the people who actually reported the culprit indicated absolutely no action was taken by HR. Ugh.

So, assuming that is utterly ineffective, another way is to keep records of bullying incidents. Documents dates, places, what happened and who was in your presence.

Next, you can consider talking to the bully. This is where the documentation comes into play — provide specific examples of how you were unfairly treated.

Next up? Stay centered on the resolution. Whether you’re sharing these examples with the bully or a company authority (or in many cases, both simultaneously), focus on how to improve the situation.

And when all else fails and you feel like the only answer involves landing a new job, you can stay centered on yet another resolution: the exit door.