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Handling Office Bullies Like an Adult

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Business TeamWhen people think about bullying, the schoolyard is likely what comes to mind. However, there could be issues in the break room as well. Adults can be just as big (if not bigger) of a bully as children and these issues may come to light in an office setting.

The most important thing for you to realize is that the bully is likely the most scared person in any setting. Their attitude is a façade. In some ways, their front of aggression and belittling of others is the best shell for them to hide in. However, it isn’t a great idea to call them out on this, as that isn’t likely to make the situation any better (and may instigate them further).

In a work setting, men and women both need to remember that they’re in a professional environment, not a middle school lunchroom. Joking around is fun to a point, but many instances may make someone else feel like garbage without the offending party realizing it.

If you are being bullied, go have a conversation with the person who you feel is tormenting you. Instead of blaming them with phrases like “You shouldn’t be.. “or “You are..,” try using phrases such as “I am uncomfortable..” and “I feel..” This should help them realize that what they say is having a negative impact on you, something they may not have known. Some people joke around and take things too far without realizing it.

When a discussion fails to have a positive impact, go talk to the human resources department. If that doesn’t work, talk to your boss about the situation.

If the bully is really bringing you down after all this, the best way to go may be to start hunting for a new job. Life is too short to spend it in misery. Work is a huge part of your life that you should not dread; find another work environment that you will be comfortable in.

Other things you can do:

  • Be confident in yourself; what other people say doesn’t have to affect your mental health to the point where it makes you feel unhappy
  • Don’t react to a bully’s nonsense; the more you react, the more they want to see a reaction
  • Never attack back; if you let them do their thing and move on, bullies will often get bored and move on to another victim

Are you an office bully?
It’s always important to be aware of how we are acting and making others feel. If you’ve been reading through this article and certain aspects sound familiar, perhaps it is time to ask yourself whether you’ve been (or are) an office bully.

Do you make fun or someone to a point where they seem uncomfortable? Do coworkers tend to avoid you or seem nervous around you? Are you making fun of people to make others laugh and bolster yourself? These are all signs that you may be an office bully.

The best thing to do is ask people in the office how you are perceived. Be cognizant of what’s funny and what may make people nervous, self-conscious or just flat out make them feel bad.

Even jokes that you believe are well meaning could make someone else feel picked on. It’s especially important to watch what you say at work if you are a boss or manager in a position of power. Sometimes, people may simply be putting up with what you are saying due to your position of power.

Be courteous and aware of how you make others feel; ensuring those around you are comfortable will likely create a much better office environment.