Most people associate bullying with recess and school cafeterias, but unfortunately, some bullies don’t outgrow their horrid habits when they move on to the workplace.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2017 National Survey, almost 20 percent of Americans continue to experience bullying in the US. Around 61 percent of bullies are bosses, while 49 percent of bullied targets suffer adverse health effects and nearly a third of them don’t speak up about their experiences.
It can be tricky to figure out how to address bullying in the workplace. Bosses can bully staff in a variety of ways such as demanding ridiculous results, blaming others for their own missteps, and taking credit for the work of the staff. They may isolate and exclude people on their work team to make themselves feel stronger and keep staff on their toes by being nice and sweet but turning toxic without warning.
Sometimes, your boss’s bullying is encouraged by the culture of your workplace, especially if they tout a “tough love” kind of attitude. However, the mindset that believes “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” has been proven to undermine productivity.
If you are having the unacceptable experience of being bullied at work, don’t feel helpless because there are courses of action at your disposal.
The first option is to stand up to the bully. The best-case scenario is that your superior will realize that they should not make you a target of their bullying and will leave you in peace. The worst-case scenario is your bullying superior finds a way to fire you.
If this option doesn’t seem very appealing to you (which is completely understandable), then you can try to take a stand through small but decisive actions. Be sure to act confidently to ensure that your superior knows that you are not intimidated by them. If your boss is on a bullying streak, then take the high road and be the bigger person by responding in a professional manner.
If you are being yelled at by your boss, the best reaction is to not yell back but calmly request that they lower their voice while still making it clear that you are listening to what they are saying. One of the most difficult interactions is treating someone with respect when they are not doing the same for you, however, in the long run, your boss will probably be more receptive to this approach as long as they feel like they’re being heard.
If this method doesn’t work, then contact your human resources department for a chat, or set up a meeting with your boss’ superiors to report their behavior.
If the company sides with your boss, then perhaps it’s time to change jobs or at least ask for a different manager. Remember that choosing to leave your job because of an abusive superior does not make you a failure. According to the research from the Workplace Bullying Institute, employees who are targeted by bullies have a 66 percent chance of losing their employment, so remind yourself that you are not alone in this plight and that the situation you find yourself in is not fair nor healthy. Your health and well-being should take priority over your job, so you should be proud of yourself for either standing up to the workplace bullies or choosing to leave your current employment in search of a more supportive and positive job.