Don’t Tolerate Workplace Bullies
How many of you have experienced these situations:
- You are in a meeting and one person constantly interrupts and/or talks over someone else. They are the focus of attention and no one can get a word in edgewise.
- You are pitching a new idea to the team and your boss tears it apart in front of everyone and makes you feel extremely small. Internally you are frustrated and have decided to not share any more ideas with the group.
- There is someone constantly making snide remarks in the meeting, sort of under their breath. You can hear these comments which are meant to shut you up, slow you down or discombobulate you altogether.
What do all these situations have in common? These disrupters are workplace bullies and unfortunately, they are tolerated in the workplace far too often.
Because most people, in and out of the workplace, are people pleasers who don’t want to deal with conflict and discomfort. So, what happens? A lot of triangulation, gossip and office drama. A lot of silence by team members. And a setup for workplace violence when someone “cannot take it anymore”.
7 Effective Tools To Stop Workplace Bullies
- Develop a code of conduct for the workplace and post it everywhere.
Have a code for meetings, brainstorming sessions and general workplace interactions. Refer to the code when inappropriate actions occurs. If someone starts talking over another person, discounting their idea or publicly humiliating them, refer to the code.
- Don’t triangulate.
Remember, workplace bullying sets up a natural “bully-victim” scenario. The victim will seek solace with anyone who will let them vent. Ask one question, “Have take your complaint directly to (the bully)?” Chances are they have not and want you to speak on their behalf. Don’t do it and don’t listen to the problems.
- Recognize when a spirited discussion has turned into bullying.
When it does, turn to the code of conduct and if necessary stop the meeting altogether. Stopping the meeting removes power from the bully and says this type of behavior is unacceptable.
- Try to find out what the bully wants.
Without a lot of fanfare, determine what exactly the bully wants. Try to do this over email where emotions are less likely to enter into the picture.
- Set up a “zero bullying” tolerance policy at work.
They have it at school – now it needs to be brought into the workplace. Provide a safe system for employees to report bullying behavior. Leaders then need to act on it with specific consequences if it continues – including termination.
- Read books about ways to avoid this type of rage.
Life Rage is one book that gives you practical solutions to solving problems like this.
- Bring in a trainer to address this issue.
Everyone should receive a minimum of two hours of training per year about ways to recognize and stop workplace bullies in their track. Timothy Dimoff is available do this type of training on a national level.