How to Survive the Workplace Bully

When we are young, a bully at school can make us terrified of going to school. However, as we grow older, we get better adapted at dealing with such people in life and once we enter the professional field, we feel safe and know that the years of bullying are over. Yet, the fact is that we often face bullies at work, the only thing different is that the techniques have changed. There are all kinds of office bullies who can make your professional life difficult and make sure that whatever you do, you do not get a good response.

What Is Workplace Bullying?

The term workplace bullying is used to describe aggressive and unreasonable behaviour at work designed to negatively impact or destroy a colleague. A workplace bully can be anyone; a manager, a co-worker, a subordinate and even a client. The workplace bullies are basically insecure people who make every possible attempt to mask their insecurity by exhibiting control and domination over anyone and everyone they can.

In most of the cases, workplace bullies target people whom they envy, such people have the traits and talents that the bully wishes he/she possessed but does not. So the bully just attempts to harm the skilled and more talented colleague which helps them feel more secure in their employment.

Tactics Employed By Workplace Bullies:

Most of the workplace bullies arm themselves with the following tactics to make sure that you do not make a good career for yourself as long as they are working with you:

  • Intimidating the other person by any means available
  • Interfering with a colleagues projects
  • Sabotaging a colleagues projects
  • Criticising the work or personality of a colleague
  • Undermining the work of a co-worker
  • Constantly finding mistakes in someone else’s work
  • Threatening work status or reputation of a colleague
  • Laying about a subordinate’s performance during the evaluation process
  • Making unrealistic and unachievable demands and deadlines

Dealing with Bullies at Work:

Most of the employees do not report the workplace bully as they fear that the attitude of the bully will further worsen and they might end up losing their jobs.  However, the fact remains that ignoring such a problem will not solve it but it will give more confidence to the bully as he/she will know that you are not going to do anything about it.

If you have been a victim of an office bully, you can handle him by following these tips:

1.  Perform your Tasks Well:

As an employee, it must be your foremost duty to make sure that you are performing all your duties properly and to let others know you are doing your job well. Workplace bullies basically target you so that you get disturbed emotionally and mentally which will inevitably take a toll on your performance. So make sure that whatever he or she is doing, you do not let it affect your output. If you are not performing your tasks properly, he/she can easily get you fired.

2. Don’t Take it Personally:

When workplace bullies criticise and ridicule their target, the main purpose is to make the other person feel bad. The best way to deal with such people is to make sure that you do not take these comments personally and realise the agenda of the bully. If you start taking these comments seriously, they will bring you down and consequently affect your performance.

3. Gather Proof:

When you are being bullied at work, it is best that you gather witnesses, who can be co-workers and friends, who can come up to your defence if the need arises. This part might be easier said than done as most of the bullies are your bosses, you might not find people willing to be on your side when the time comes.

4. Avoid Private Interaction:

A bully might refrain from indulging in bad behaviour openly, especially if you are the only target of his bullying. So if you have observed that the office bully only mistreats you when you are alone with him, try to avoid such interactions at all costs.  Even if he starts insulting you in public, at least you will have witnesses of his bad behavior.

5. File an Internal Complain:

One of the best ways you can get rid of a workplace bully is by filing a complaint against him with your HR department. As the HR department is usually concerned with maximizing the output of the staff members, they will take an action on your complaint. However make sure that you provide documentation and witnesses of the incident so that you can backup your claims.

6. Look for Another Job:

When nothing else works and you can do nothing about the bullying, it is probably time to start looking for a new job. When someone is bullying you at work, he is basically after your job and wants you to either leave or get fired. So if you think you can take the pressure, it is best that you stay on and exhaust the bully so that he/she knows that his tactics are not working. However, if you feel like the pressure is too much for you to handle and your performance is being negatively affected, it is best that you start looking for a new job and get a new start in life.


20 thoughts on “How to Survive the Workplace Bully

  1. Quite informative,
    Being a fresh hiring, it has helped me a lot.
    Thanks for such a nice effort :-)

  2. Really its a 100% true article, awesome article. I face the same situation in job . Finally decided to leave job .

  3. I have no words to thank you for this write up. I find these guidelines very helpful for employees as such situation is undergoing many places.

  4. Am delighted/enlightened to read your invaluable articles /tips related to issues which we commonly confront in working places.
    I am of firm opinion that no matter how much workaholic, creative, objective, organized, well-versed you are, the office politics, bullies and negative environment are great impediments to your success. Your success is usually attributed to the person who is at your back. In my career as a responsible civil engineer, I have confronted such disgusting situations where reasons, rationale, logic, completely fails. I pity those responsible persons /institutions to whom I brought to notice the serious lapses with disastrous consequences with substantial evidence; instead, my son was kidnapped. I was fired and my family was threatened with dire consequences.

    To conclude, the present state of affairs in public and non public organizations can only improve and become productive by streamlining/restructuring with good governance and appointments by merits. No parches, no unions, sects, regionalism, no money squandering mafia, political influences, demagogues, hypocrites and cynics corrupt white as well as blue collared.

    No matter how many ground realities articles you publish, it is just like bhense ke samne been bajane. If one’s efforts are confined or diverted to cleansing the working environment, one can never be productive, creative or useful to the organization/ institutions or country.

    The present global politics priorities are to make Pakistan a failed state. But I’m a firm believer that we shall survive to become Insha Allah a model state as as a beacon to the world, with homogeneous culture. If Almighty gives me 100 more lives, I shall dedicate to Pakistan with hard work, honesty, life, wealth. I love you Pakistan. Pakistan Paindabad.

  5. The key is ‘tolerance and patience and concentrating on your own work for best performance’ then nobody can deter you in any way! and yes, if you still don’t find the fair support from your bosses, just quit after finding a better option!

  6. I have observed that the workplace bullies are coward; they attack more if you keep bearing their bad behaviors. When they are retaliated, they go on back foot. But, you have to be very very prepared about facts when you are retaliating.

  7. Thanks for your scholarly guidance & suggestions.
    I highly appreciate it.

    Keep it up ROZEE.PK, we highly value your contributions!

  8. Interesting reading. Keep on posting on such issues regularly faced by every employee. It really benefits all career level employees

  9. One of the best Articles I’ve ever read. Its gonna help me a lot. The way bully has been described is excellent and tips given are simply the best possible tactics one can do at job place. Thanks to the Rozee team and expecting same good work ahead.

  10. WOW! Nice suggestion! As I am going to enter my practical life, you have given me very fruitful information.

Comments are closed.