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Written by Rolf BaxRolf Bax

How to deal with an office bully

8 min read
How to deal with an office bully
In this guide we'll show you how to handle a bully in the office, according to science and advice from industry experts.

It's a real shame when a perfectly good job is made intolerable by a workplace bully. You don't even have to be the bully's intended victim to suffer the negative impact of toxic behaviour. When one person sets out to ruin another's day, the whole team loses, and unfortunately, bullying is more common than you might think. Every year, people find themselves victim to bullying or intimidation. While some people may find solutions to this problem, many people never speak up and continue to suffer, and some people even end up losing their job to try and escape workplace bullying. Don’t let this be you! 

If you're a victim of bullying, there's evidence that you can be harmed not just mentally and emotionally by these experiences, but physically, too. Victims suffering from bullying can suffer from depression, anxiety and insomnia, as well as lesser known physical symptoms such as fibromyalgia and cardiovascular issues. This isn’t good news!

Fortunately, there is hope. Researchers have discovered effective ways of dealing with bullying and how to find relief. The first and most important step is to talk. Acknowledging the problem to somebody else, such as a co-worker or friend, can be a huge pressure release. It can also help you shift the sense of shame that can come with being bullied. 

Alternatively, you can also consider talking openly about it at work. Naming the bully or drawing attention to his behaviour can tilt the balance of power and puncture the bully’s ability to dominate or intimidate you. When others are aware of their behaviour, it can make it less likely for the bullying to continue. However, for more serious instances of building, it may be best to discuss these issues with senior management or HR. Always know that you have a professional right to disclose these details with a professional from a relevant department. 

On a more technical level, it is essential to start documenting the bully's behaviour as soon as possible. If you have examples of texts, messages or written confrontation, be sure to keep a record of these interactions. Additionally, if you have witnesses that have witnessed you being bullied or abused, it can be a good idea to ask these witnesses if they would be willing to come forward and share what they’ve seen with you. Essentially, you are building a case against the bully, and since bullies can be very manipulative, it can help to have a record of their abuse, including anything they've written to you and the times, dates, and witnesses of verbal or physical encounters.

Remember: if you are the witness to somebody else being bullied, there are different techniques you can use to help the victim, depending on how confident you feel and how safe you feel the situation is. The simplest way to help the victim is to label the bullying in the moment. Calling out a bully can draw attention to their actions and escalate it to the relevant authorities. 

Whether you're the victim, witness, or office manager, or even if you're concerned that you might be a workplace bully yourself: check out our new infographic to stay informed and prepared. 

How to deal with a bully in the office

Don't let an office bully destroy your health, happiness, and career. The power to neutralise your bully begins with you, and it all starts with a conversation. Don’t be afraid to talk. You’ve got this. 

How To Deal With An Office Bully
How To Deal With An Office Bully


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