A workplace bully is an employee or supervisor who uses aggressive or manipulative behavior to intimidate others in a working environment. If not dealt with, a bully can pose a risk to the mental health and physical safety of fellow workers and affect productivity. The best way to deal with a bully at work is to keep the entire process strictly professional.
Aggressive work bullies tend to use degradation tactics, such as yelling or name calling, to instill fear in other employees and feel dominant. This type of bully at work usually wants some type of reaction that shows that you fear him or her, so avoid defending yourself or displaying responses of emotion. Ignore the bully’s attention-seeking behavior and only interact with him or her on professional issues only. An aggressive bully will typically give up if he or she isn’t getting the desired reactions.
Manipulative work bullies use more subtle ways of intimidating others. They may take credit for your ideas or attempt to force you to do their work. A manipulative bully at work tends to be drawn to timid people who may have a hard time sticking up for themselves. Be assertive, yet still professional when dealing with him or her. Politely tell him or her if a job task isn’t your responsibility and don’t offer any excuses. A manipulative bully tends to rely on sneaky tactics but will stop the tactics if the victim isn’t going along with them.
Begin documenting the inappropriate behavior if you cannot deal with a bully at work on a personal basis. Write down every incident in as much detail as possible with dates, times, and exact quotes. Once you have enough documentation to show a distinct bullying pattern, meet with someone in your company’s human resources department and show him or her your documentation. To make your argument most effective, explain the situation from a productivity viewpoint. For example, state that bully’s behavior creates a stressful work environment that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe and unable to perform your job.
If your company’s human resources department does not implement any action to deal with the bully, continue to stay focused on your work and act as professionally as possible; however, you may want to look for a new job as a last resort. Even though the bullying is not your fault, working in a hostile environment may cause you additional stress and lead to mental and physical problems. If you end up experiencing discriminatory behavior for reporting the bully, you can consider filing legal action.