Do you feel scared to go to work? Are you afraid that your boss is going to yell at you about something? Have you ever felt dread while being in the same room as one of your co-workers? Are you tired of them taking credit for the work you or for spreading rumors about you?
These are symptoms of workplace bullying. Most people know what constitutes bullying but many more simply do not know what to do. Even when HR is alerted to a bully in the office, they do not always know how to handle things either. The solution is to negotiate an action plan for all parties involved.
The first thing to do is to learn to have courage. No bully ever has any courage themselves which is why they tend to pick on others especially when authority figures such as bosses or HR staff are not around. Isolating their targets is one way they gain power over them and can get away with criticizing them or intimidating them.
The bullying experience is terrifying. You might feel that you are forced to endure this because you need to earn a paycheck or that the person doing the bullying has a higher rank in the office than you have. You may be afraid that you will lose your job if you speak up.
The first step to stopping them is to identify what behaviors are troubling. The person may be yelling at you or they may be spreading rumors about you. Become clear about what behaviors are problematic. Then, lay down some rules.
For example, the next time the bully yells at you, excuse yourself from the room. Let them know that the yelling is distracting you from finishing your work. Offer to return to discuss things calmly after they get themselves composed.
The important thing is not to waste time getting upset even though their treatment is upsetting. You need to remain non-reactive. This shows the bully that their behavior is not doing anything to you. They are wasting their energy and time.
Tell them you will no longer tolerate this type of behavior. Explain why their behavior is detrimental to the entire business, and work on solutions for improving their behavior. Make sure the solutions are measurable. You should be able to meet with the person in a week or a month to review how much progress you both are making and do so in the presence of a neutral third party such as an HR manager.