Holding Bullies Accountable

by Jul 21, 2012

Bullies are people who seek power and control over others. They look for ways to dominate the people they deal with, and they use their evil bullying tactics to overcome you. But who allows the bully to dominate? You do.

Bullies behave as badly as they are allowed to behave. Most often, other people you work with are too scared to say anything to the bully, and managers and HR don’t always see the bullying happening. If they do, they choose to ignore it because they don’t know how to deal with it, and they don’t know how damaging it is to you and the organization. So bullies are left to run rampant – but they only run over the people who lay down flat in the street.

So it’s up to you to get out of the street and put a stop sign up. You must protect yourself. You must hold the bully accountable for his or her actions.

Point out the bully’s behavior to him or her, and do it in front of other people. During the next staff meeting try: “Why don’t you try to talking to me with a less harsh tone. That statement came out pretty sharply, and I’m sure you didn’t mean to speak to me like that.” You can also try a more assertive tactic: “You need to speak to me with more respect,” or, “From now on, when you speak to me try to be more polite.” Again, be sure to do this is front of other people – so you have witnesses, and so you have protection. More than likely, the bully will not retort.

The key here is that while we normally tell people not to use the word “you” when addressing others, the bully needs to hear it.

For example, “You make me feel…” is not the proper way to talk to a loved one. It causes us to shut off our ears and stop listening, because it’s evaluative and accusatory. “I feel…” is much better and has a much greater likelihood the person you are talking to will continue listening.

But, when talking to a bully, if you say, “I feel like you take advantage of me,” the bully will say, “That’s your problem.” If you say, “You are taking advantage of me. From now on I will not cover you on your extra long lunches,” the bully is likely to take the information in. He or she may not like it, but too bad. You are standing your ground.

Do you know how much money chronically bad behavior costs your company? Spoiler alert – it’s a LOT higher than you want it to be. Download our data and worksheet to see how it’s costing your organization and what you can do to fix it.

 

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

Can a Wage Increase Make Employees More Productive?

In California, the upcoming minimum wage boost for fast food workers to $20 starting April 1st has ignited discussions about its potential influence on worker productivity.  Currently, the median hourly wage for fast-food workers in the U.S. is $13.43, while in...

Why Every Leader Needs to Worry About Toxic Work Culture

Employees quit their jobs for different reasons, and a major one is because of a toxic workplace environment. In fact, researchers discovered that between April and September 2021, toxic culture was the main reason why employees decided to leave their jobs. A toxic...

Civility Partners at 15 Years!

2024 marks an incredible milestone for us—our 15th-anniversary celebration! Yes, you read that right—15 years of making a positive impact on over 270 organizations served, thousands of employees, and millions of people worldwide! Thanks to the vision of our founder...

Driving Organizational Success Through Behavior Change

How can you make your workplace more exciting and successful?  Organizational success is not solely dependent on strategies or cutting-edge technologies. Instead, the key driver of success lies within the organization itself—specifically, within the collective...

How Much is Your Culture Costing You?

Creating a positive workplace culture isn't just a nice-to-have; it's a key player in the success of any business. It goes beyond token gestures like wellness days and promotions; it's fundamentally about how you treat your people, the support you extend to your team,...

Are you bamboozled by your company’s culture?

Your first day at a new job is a lot like embarking on an adventure. You step through the doors, eager and optimistic, your mind filled with expectations set by the promises of the company’s values and mission. For some, these principles are more than just words on a...

The Brave Leader’s Edge: Vulnerability in Leadership

How many times have you cried in front of your team? How many times have you admitted to not having all the answers or feeling unsure about the direction ahead? In the traditional realm of leadership, these instances might have been considered taboo or signs of...

3 Organizations that are Combating Technology-Facilitated Abuse

The reach of technology is astonishingly broad. It's awesome how it brings us all closer, but when it's not handled well, it can cause some serious problems too. From monitoring phone conversations to tracking someone's every move through GPS, access to emails, texts,...

Five Essential Tips for Effective Workplace Communication

Effective communication is like the secret sauce that makes a workplace go from good to great. Whether you're a team player or steering the ship as a leader, honing your communication skills is a game-changer. According to Grammarly, poor communication in the...

Craft a Thriving Culture for 2024 and Beyond!

The turn of the year often marks a time for personal resolutions, but what about resolutions for the workplace? According to Gallup, employee engagement in the U.S. saw its first annual decline in a decade -- dropping from 36% of engaged employees in 2020 to 34% in...