Typically, when we think of a bully, we think of bullies on the playground or at school. Bullying is not limited to growing up and children, teens or young adults. Unfortunately, bullies exist, and intimidation does not end after school. Bullying happens even to adults.
Adult bullying targets an individual intentionally with the purpose of degrading, undermining and intimidating. Bullies gossip, exclude, shame, sabotage and do whatever it takes to obtain their desired results. Victims of bullying are hurt deeply, lose self-esteem, and can even lose sight of themselves.
Battling Adult Bullying Tips
Don’t doubt yourself
It’s important to remember that the bully has an ulterior motive. Don’t doubt yourself or blame yourself for their behavior. You didn’t do anything to deserve or invite bullying into your life. Even though it doesn’t seem like it at times, the bully must have a miserable life lacking something they need since they resort to belittling someone else.
Call them out
Most bullies expect you to take it. If it is the first time, or one of the first few times and their bullying isn’t a horrible habit and problem yet, imagine their surprise if you call out their unacceptable behavior. As they say it, then and there, call it out in public and calmly. Don’t go to their level and don’t make a joke of it. Even if you feel nervous, don’t let your nerves or vulnerability be noticeable to anyone. You are the best person that can state what you want, expect and stand up for yourself.
Don’t give the bully any rewards
Never let the bully know they are getting to you and pushing your buttons. Confronting a bully isn’t always the best thing. Most bullies have thought out their strategy. It’s not a mistake. It is a plan. A confrontation lets the bully know that they are pushing your buttons.
Don’t let the bully hurt your health
Exercise, meditation and being intentional about spending more time with family and friends is a healthy way to take care of yourself and battle adult bullying. Isolation doesn’t help, and self-medicating makes things worse. Bullying often leads to destructive behavior for children and adults alike. Most adults report disengaging from family and friends and taking a path of drinking or overeating was the results of being bullied in the workplace.
Bullying is a serious problem
Bullying is not acceptable and should never be tolerated. Often, you will need to go several levels higher as bullies know how to work people and manipulate situations. They most likely have their boss wrapped around their finger. Bosses often turn their head to bullying. If you decide to report bullying, keep your feelings and emotions out of it. Stay calm and collected as you discuss the problem of abuse and harassment which the bully is doing to you. Abuse and harassment have legal connotations and cannot be so easily dismissed. The term bully sounds juvenile and is less likely to be taken seriously by executives or an HR department.
The Bottom Line
Discuss how the bully’s behavior is hurting morale, performance, adding stress, distraction and discord, and costs the business money and time. If you know other employees that are being bullied or have changed jobs because of the bully, bring up the expense of turnover costs, training expense, and lost productivity. If you know the numbers or can research them, the bottom line will speak very loudly and get attention quickly.
Mediation is a fail
Mediation has been proven to be an ineffective solution in workplace bullying. It is excellent for resolving conflicts when both sides desire to see the conflict resolved. A bully does not see a battle and has nothing to gain from mediation. Transferring the bully, disciplinary action or an investigation to protect you are solutions that should be explored.
Set yourself up to win
It may be time to plan your exit so you can put yourself in a winning situation. If the company doesn’t see your point, support you or offer you a reasonable solution, it most likely will never become a winning situation to continue working alongside the bully.