Back off, bully! How to stand up to office bullying
There are times when a supervisor or a co-worker intentionally makes you feel intimidated or inferior. The stress of dealing with it can cause you to lose focus from work and feel anxious about bumping into them again.
Workplace bullies thrive from seeing the pain and discomfort of others. They especially like to power-trip and use their rank or position in the company to make other employees feel lesser than they are.
What constitutes office bullying?
Office bullying tends to be directed to one person or a group of people. It includes verbal, physical, social, or psychological abuse that often focuses on gender, race, ethnicity, or disability. It can happen anywhere: from offices to shops, restaurants, cafes, workshops, government organisations, and community groups. Some signs of bullying include:
- Constant hurtful remarks and condescending jokes
- Sexual harassment
- Excluding you from working with people or taking part in work-related initiatives
- Playing mind games
- Ganging up on you
- Verbal abuse
- Changing your schedule to make work life difficult for you
- Physical threats
Read more: How to handle a toxic boss
Bullying in a remote setup
It’s easier to bully people when you don’t see them face-to-face. Bullies hide behind chats, emails, and text messages. Because it’s more difficult for employees to log off from work in a remote setup, they might get swept up by the emotions triggered by the bullying.
Unfortunately, some types of remote work bullying include the following:
Messaging sexist or discriminatory remarks
Creating embarrassing social media posts
Sending threatening messages
Talking over someone during video calls
Types of workplace bullies
According to Monster.com, there are different types of workplace bullies:
The jerk. Some people can be mean by nature. This person brings a toxic attitude by bringing condescending or angry remarks to co-workers. These remarks constitute aggressive tone, language or emails.
The mean-spirited prankster. This person plays practical jokes on co-workers. Some office pranks can be harmless, but others can be humiliating and embarrassing.
The saboteur. This person’s goal is to sabotage your every move and prevent you from succeeding at your job. Peers are viewed as competitors, not collaborators.
The harsh and constant critic. Constructive criticism is essential to improvement, but this person talks down to you and picks apart your work ruthlessly.
The gossip. Every office has someone who gossips about others behind their backs. The consequence of gossip is a tarnished reputation.
Read more: Red flags of a toxic hybrid workplace
How should you stand up to office bullies?
Check if your company has a bullying policy. Make yourself informed of the policies of your company, particularly about complaints procedure.
Record everything that happens. Document instances of bullying, such as the time, date, and the people who have seen it happen. This can help you file a complaint.
Get support from someone you trust. You can reach out to a trusted supervisor or higher-up and tell them about the bullying. You can also talk to co-workers who may also be experiencing the same thing.
Confront the bully. You can approach the person who is bullying you by including a witness, and telling the bully that their behaviour is not acceptable.
Report the bullying. File a formal complaint and talk to Human Resources about the proper procedures to stop the bullying.
Dealing with workplace bullies can cause undue stress and anxiety. You are not alone. Make sure to reach out to the right people to help you address it head on.