Two weeks ago we talked about adult bullying and we’ll be continuing this discussion this week. In these posts, I’m referring to bullying that takes place in the work environment.
First of all, though, before being too quick to label a boss or co-worker as a bully, take time to think it through. Some bosses are tough and demanding but they are fair—they don’t belittle or humiliate colleagues or subordinates. Also, colleagues and bosses may have prickly personalities or serious, no-nonsense attitudes but that doesn’t make them bullies. Additionally, co-workers may be going through a difficult time in their personal life and that may make them snippy. Keep this in mind as you think through your interactions with the person(s) in question before jumping to conclusions about them.
When you are dealing with a bully, the most important thing to keep in mind is to get out. You are never going to change them, convince them of your worth and/or your expertise, and over time you will not be able to withstand their onslaught.
There are two ways to get out:
~You or the bully can be transferred to another department or division within the company;
~You or the bully can leave the company.
Perhaps you work in a large enough organization that has a separate HR department and perhaps your company has clear policies regarding bullying and other behaviors that can create a hostile work environment. And perhaps the HR department actually has some backbone and will take appropriate and effective action when complaints are brought to them.
I wouldn’t count on this, though.
I have heard a number of instances where the HR department as well as the higher-ups and executives are well aware that bullying is going on but they ignore it—they don’t do anything about it. And then they scratch their heads and wonder why morale is so bad and why the good people are leaving in droves….
My recommendation is to leave the company. You may like many of your co-workers and you may enjoy the work you’re doing, however, the toll to your career, your self esteem, your mental well-being, and your physical health is not worth it. As I said earlier, you will never convince the bully to change their behavior toward you. No matter how many awards or how much recognition you receive, they will never think well of you. They will only re-double their efforts to tear you down.
You must leave.
You may be thinking that it’s fine and dandy for me to recommend that you leave the company, however, your financial situation requires that you stay employed. Then what do you do?
We’ll be talking about this in upcoming posts. Check back next week.
Your Friend and Pep Pal,