How to Deal with Workplace Bullies

Workplace bullying is more common than you might think – according to a survey from job-search site CareerBuilder, some form of bullying has been experienced by 28% of U.S. workers. (Link:] This bullying can range from verbal abuse to other actions that are harder for the victim to understand – such as purposely not being invited to a meeting or project, being gossiped about, or having different sets of standards and policies applied.

Now that more study is being done on the causes of workplace bullying, it’s also becoming easier to find resources to deal with workplace bullies. According to many experts, the most obvious tactic – confronting the bully face-to-face – is also the tactic that you most want to avoid, especially with your career and reputation on the line.

Instead, the Workplace Bullying Institute recommends a three-step target action plan for dealing with workplace bullies. [Link:]

The first step is coming to grips with the fact that you are being victimized. This means ignoring all of the colorful terms usually used to gloss over workplace bullying – such as the term “difficult boss” – and recognize bullying for what it is.

Once you have accepted that you might be a victim of workplace bullying, the second step is to begin taking steps to ensure your physical and mental health. This includes consulting a therapist or other health expert who can help you with the strong emotions you must be feeling.

It also means doing a check of your physical health, since instances of workplace abuse often lead to physical problems, such as hypertension and chronic headaches. These physical ailments are brought on by the stress of dealing with a bully.

The third step involves a more active phase in dealing with the workplace bully. If you have decided that you wish to remain at your workplace and not find a job elsewhere, then you must begin building a case against the workplace bully that involves specific documentation of what happened and when. It also means researching specific federal and state statutes that might cover workplace bullying under laws dealing with discrimination.

Finally, suggests the Workplace Bullying Institute, you need to build the business case against the workplace bully. Bullies are often effective in wooing others over to their campaign of bullying – usually by forms of subtle intimidation – so you will need to appeal to strict, bottom-line analysis of the problem.

In short, you will need to prove that the workplace bully is simply “bad for business” – he or she is someone who negatively impacts the running of the business or, in extreme cases, is responsible for the loss of clients and revenue.

The risk in all this, however, is that your employer may find grounds to fire you rather than deal with cases of workplace bullying. This is the same problem faced by victims of other bullying – including domestic abuse, in which the veiled threat is that a relationship will end if the bully (the domestic abuser) is exposed.

However, with this three-step approach to dealing with workplace bullies [Link:], you can optimize your chances of dealing successfully with a bully and restoring your work life back to normal.


When Your Boss Wants You Gone So Bad He or She Can Taste It

You thought at one time you could really get along with an employer, but unfortunately over the past weeks or years, you realize that the relationship is steadily taking on an ugly turn.  This shift is causing you stress at home and at work.  You don't smile much, are often intense, and don't enjoy performing your job as much as you once did.  It seems every time you look up, your boss is saying or doing something that is making you angry.  You know that he or she would love to see you walk out that door, but you know you can't budge at this time.

So what might you do in the meantime until a new opportunity comes your way?

1.  You will avoid unnecessary conversations with your leader.

If it isn't anything important, why share your personal issues, feelings, weekend experiences, etc.?  He or she isn't your friend.  Be brief, stick to the point when discussing business and excuse yourself if you feel the conversation is becoming personal.

2.  Keep away from his or her buddies.

Sometimes bosses want to see what your next move might be so they will enlist the help of others to pay close attention to what you say and do.  Make sure you are doing your job to the best of your ability and keep personal criticism to yourself.

3.  Find the time during your workday to sit still and meditate your next move for that day.  For instance, if you are supposed to update your boss on something which requires going into his territory, prepare your mind mentally and spiritually prior to the meeting.  Stretch, perform breathing exercises and stare at a motivational image before meeting with him.  Walk confidently when you head toward the board room or other meeting place.  Watch your speech and remain professional at all times even when you are tempted to curse or throw something.  Exercise self-control if you should notice your boss is acting unprofessional.  Remember, he or she wants you gone, so don't give him the excuse or power to end employment on his or her terms.  If you know you have some tasks that must be completed, be sure to organize and complete them sooner rather than later so that your boss isn't following up with you about them. (Note: As much as you might not like your boss, don't come into work tardy, drag your feet when it comes to getting things done, and most of all don't lie or exaggerate accomplishments just to irritate him or her--these things will backfire).

4.  Job search whenever you have free time and avoid using the company computer.

Doing this daily keeps you motivated so that you will not get comfortable nor be blind-sided by your boss one day when he or she says, "Thank you for your service, but I must inform you..."  Keep in mind, companies nowadays terminate employment at will.  So you can have a job one minute and then without reason be escorted out the door in an instant.

5.  Converse with relatives and friends about private matters related to your boss not co-workers.

The more open you are with loved ones, the more supported you will feel and the sting of the workday with a troubled boss won't be so bad.  Express how you feel good, bad or otherwise.  Cry, yell...get some things off your chest so that you don't indirectly explode on them or one day get physical with your boss.  Most of all, pray if you have a faith.  God isn't only in the church or with a holy person you might know.

6.  Focus on the future and not your boss.

When you do this, you are better able to manage your situation.  Negativity gets you nowhere so don't look so closely and so often on the one causing you grief, redirect your focus on to the people, places and things that provide you with hope.

7.  Write future plans down.

Know what you want.  Create a business plan for you!  What is your mission?  How much money do you have to fund your next career move?  How much money do you want to bring in?  What are the gains, risks, etc.?  What are current expenses and how might you cut back? 

There are brighter days ahead, my friend.  Keep the faith and know that learning experiences like the one you are currently in with a mean-spirited boss develop you.  Workplace challenges also remind you to love and appreciate those individuals you should value the most, but sometimes the lust for money and opportunity get in the way.  Go give someone you love a hug!

Nicholl McGuire is the author of many books, see here.


If You Are Unhappy on a Job then Does Money Really Matter?

For some workers, it doesn't matter how much they are paid if they aren't happy where they work, they don't complain or bad mouth management, they simply look for new employment.  But what do most employees do?  They continue to go into workplaces deeply resentful or their disappointment shows up on their faces.  Yet, they love that money.  Payday is the only time you see some smile.

Only you know how much personal happiness means to you as compared to money.  If all that matters is money, then you most likely will keep suffering, wishing and hoping that things might one day be different.  You will continue to look forward to your paycheck and then once the bills are paid it is back to the scowl, the deep sighs, etc.

Take a moment and pen all the things you like about your job and all the things you don't.  Then begin to check out the classifieds for positions related to what you really like to do.  You may not be ready to leave your current place of work, but at least make an honest effort to see what is out there at least once or twice a week.  Next, talk to others to find out what they like about their jobs and how they cope when things arise that they don't like.  You may find some wisdom in what they say that you can use until you are ready to seek different employment.

Money really shouldn't dictate your happiness when it comes to a job, rather the contentment should come from being grateful that you are able to do something you sincerely don't mind doing.  Too many people have wasted their lives chasing after wealth and in the end were filled with many regrets.  Your self-worth is far greater than your net-worth!

Nicholl McGuire is the author of When Mothers Cry and other books.

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