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How can you beat the workplace bully?

by Ricky Nguyen

Victims of bullying can develop problems with self-esteem and confidence that, if unaddressed, can result in problems forming relationships with other people, as well as anxiety and depression. While bullying is most commonly associated with those difficult high school years, it is by no means the exclusive domain of the teenager.  In fact, bullying in the workplace is all too common – the dynamics of adult power and money can make workplace bullying something very hard to contend with. If you are suffering at the hands of an office bully, there are some things that you can do to regain control and not let the person beat you. This is how you beat the bully:

Consult a counsellor. Somebody picking on you and taking your kindness for weakness is not your fault. By signing up for counselling services, you will be able to gain some perspective on the situation in order to realise that the way you are being made to feel by a workplace bully is not who you actually are and it's not who you have to be. By understanding this, you will be able to reclaim power over your own psychology and be in a more confident and clear state that allows you to stand up to whoever is bullying you.

Tell your line manager. Bullying is not acceptable in the playground, the office, or anywhere else for that matter. And when a bully strikes, you have to tell somebody about it so that something official can be done. Your line manager should have your best interests at heart, as well as the interests of the company – and workplace bullying is harmful for both you and the company at large. It's true that this isn't easy, so rehearse the situation with a friend who is sympathetic to your situation before calling the meeting. And if your line manager sides with the bully, it is time to take this higher up in the organisation.

Build an internal support network. One great way of tackling a bully and the feelings that come with being bullied is by being supported. Locate your allies within the organisation and share your problems with them. This will enable you to feel stronger about your situation and more capable when interacting with the bully. If the bullying seriously escalates, these people will also be able to back you up when documenting your workplace bullying experiences to human resources.