A dear friend in the Bay Area clipped this article written by Gwen Minor and Margaret Lavin (Elementary, My Dears column: Honest talk about bullying) from the San Mateo Times, 9/15/08, and sent it to me in the mail. These days everyone I know sends me anything “bully” they come across.
The article offers tips for parents who’s children may be getting bullied at school. But interestingly enough, it absolutely applies to bullies at work. So here you have it, 4 tips for dealing with bullies at work: 1: First and foremost, tell someone, preferably an adult (at work). If you get no help, tell someone else, and keep telling until the bullying stops. 2: Keep people around you. Bullies pick on (people) who are isolated… Remember, there is safety in numbers. 3: Help others who are in need. If you witness bullying, refuse to join in. Walk away and report the bullying. Speak out if you feel safe and, if possible, get a friend or two to help you. Just standing beside the bully’s target or inviting him to join your group can relieve the situation. Chances are the bully who picks on you also attacks some of your peers. You may be able to prevent future suffering from happening. 4: Get active. (Competent and confident employees are safe from bullies. Continue to do your work and do it well. This will ensure no one can come down on you for that. You should also find ways to get more involved in work too (I’m not saying take on more work load). For example, your department might be seeking volunteers for a special project, or HR may be seeking event planning help for the company holiday party. Get to know as many people in the organization as you can in order to maximize your support system.) With these strategies, (you) will be safe from the harm of bullies and may even help change the climate at (work). The most important strategy for all of us is to be kind. Kindness, more than anything else, is the death of bullying. One act of kindness may be enough to lessen another person’s pain or give someone hope.