We all know someone who has been bullied at some stage in work but it’s not really talked about. I’ve heard it from colleagues, friends and family, I’ve been there myself.
What Can You Do
- Take action. Don’t sit on it and wait for it to go away. You need to take control of the situation, call it what it is and don’t be afraid to say it – 'I am being bullied'.
- Gather your evidence, your examples, time, dates of what happened and how it made you feel. Put it down in writing to help you articulate it, this is difficult but it will help you. The sooner you deal with this the less damaging to you. If you leave it go on, it will break you down, you will lose confidence, self belief and begin to question yourself. Your judgement will become clouded by the emotional trauma you are going through. The longer you stay embroiled in the emotional trauma, the more difficult it is to get yourself out of it. It will take over your life, your conversations, your mind. You will become a shadow of the professional you once were. Only you can change this situation you are in. Blaming others or taking it home is something we all do, but it is not going to change what’s happening to you or help you get out of the suffocating position you are in.
- Try to remember your thinking is being over clouded by emotion, fear, anger and upset right now, which is your right, this is normal and expected. You would not be human otherwise. You are normal. You are not the problem, the bully is. Don’t suppress it but have awareness around it. It is an emotional journey you are traveling, but don't let the travel go too long a distance. Take back the power and ask yourself - how is this journey helping me right now? What needs to change? What do I want?
- Get some support or advice to help you gain some CLARITY. This is the real key. It is what will help you think more logically and rationally on the bigger picture and enable you to make the right decision on what to do next. You need to tease out the options. Find a professional sounding board to help you with this. I found this in a professional Business Coach.
- More specifically, get clarity on what you want to be the outcome of this situation. Take back the power from the bully who is controlling you. Ask yourself what is your end goal, your preferred goal and how will this support you and your career goals into the future? You need clarity on what's important to you to be able to make the right decision on what to do next. Remember you can't change the bully. You only have control over your own destiny and you always have a choice. The action you take needs to benefit you long term and not damage you further or hold you back in your professional career.
- If you don't want to talk to a professional coach to get clarity on your long term goal, talk to your HR department or an internal Manager you can trust, who can explain the options available to you under the internal bullying and harassment policy at your workplace. If this is not possible, get a copy of the policy and discuss it with someone you can trust who will break it down and simplify it.
- If you decide you want to find a way to continue to work with the bully, the informal route available through the dignity at work policy is an option but external mediation I find has always worked better in my experience. It's the most effective route to resolve an emotive conflict and get yourself really heard. Ask your workplace for a professional mediator.
- Mediation is a powerful process that is misunderstood by most business’ and HR departments. With the introduction of the mediation Act last year, I qualified as a Mediator. I am confident we will see more effective use of it to resolve bullying in the workplace. I have learned the earlier a bullying situation is dealt with under this process, the better and more successful the outcome.
- I strongly advise against pulling the trigger on formal investigation which will also be an option available to you through the dignity at work policy. This will result in weeks of statements, investigations, witnesses. The end result is not pretty.
- Remember bullying is hard to prove, you can cite examples and facts but it is based on perception and feelings of how the actions or behaviours of another made you feel – it is often trying to get the other person to listen to you, hear your voice and get them to understand what impact it has had on you. So be aware of going the formal route and what you are getting yourself into and what’s the likely return.