Bullies back down when you punch them right? Be stronger than the bully and they’ll leave you alone… what other myths are out there? A lot and none are true.
Hollywood is known for having ‘boss-zilla’s’ (dw.com). In fact. I’m not entirely sure one can make it in Hollywood without being a bully… That doesn’t make bullying right nor give any of us a license to perpetuate bullying.
Workplace bullying is rampant across the world not just Hollywood. Think of the #MeToo movement that highlighted sexual harassment a couple years ago, so many brave woman stood up and spoke out empowering themselves as well as those unable to speak. It’s time for those being bullied to know there is a way out and how to get out of a toxic situation healthily.
Just because you finish work at 5 pm, doesn’t mean bullying is finished with you. Bullying affects not only you, also family, friends and colleagues around you. The buck stops here.
The third of four blogs in the Healthy Transitions Out Of Workplace Bullying series, will give you some tips on how to manage bullies at work, why beating up a bully is bad for you and what you can do to get out of this toxic situation.
You’ve recognised you are being bullied, now what?
You may leave work at 5 pm, but the bullying doesn’t leave you. Taking home the anxiety and stress spills over into your family and social life, sucks joy from all you do and leaves you feeling bereft and small. You really do need to do something about that sooner than later for your own health and wellbeing as much as your family’s.
Previous blogs have explained what bullying is and how you can manage stress and anxiety from bullying. We’re now looking at how you can cope with bullying at work while keeping your cool and not giving the bully what they want.
The first thing to note is that under UK employment law everyone has equal rights, that includes the bully. It sounds really unfair, however, bullies are employees too and everyone’s needs are to be taken into account. The second thing to note is that it’s unlikely a bully will be sacked because you asked for that. Remember validation and justice may not happen either.
That’s ok, you got this, there are other actions that can be taken to support yourself. You don’t have to push on locked doors.
You may be feeling like there are no alternatives and your only options are to put up and shut up. Whilst you can’t beat up bullies, there are things you can do and we’ll walk through these together.
Seven ways to beat bullying at work
Remember to always ask for help in the first instance, always. Don’t try going it alone, you will only make matters worse, the idea here is to help yourself until the cavalry arrives:
- Know the difference between an accidental bully and a determined bully.
An accidental bully means you no harm and if you spoke to them about their actions, they would be mortified and take actions to make sure you were treated well from that point on. The determined bully is the one who will continue with unwanted behaviour, often gas lighting or by stealth. The determined or stealth bully is relentless and this is why you do need external help to give you the peace of mind you need to make the decisions needed.
- Speak to your Human Resources team
Your HR team will be able to guide you through the process on what options are available to you in-house, those covered by your organisations policies and procedures and be able to advise on how to get access to Employee Assistance Programme and/or Trade Union Representative. Your HR team will likely advise you to start by taking the informal route. You will have to decide whether you want to raise a formal grievance or not. At this point having a coach or mentor to help you through is incredibly useful: a coach is independent of you, your organisation, your family and able to help you navigate pitfalls and get back to a healthy version of you more quickly.
- Keep professional boundaries at work at all times
While you are still employed and going through this trauma, remain calm and professional at all times. You are more than enough as you are, you have the skills and abilities to do fantastic work, no one can take that from you. Avoid gossip, keep your distance from the bully where possible, make sure conversations are followed up and be the better person. Use the six techniques mentioned in the second blog to help you.
Make sure you have some-one at work you can talk to if things get to much, find a safe space to retreat to so you can refocus, rebalance and find your feet again. Respond to the bully rather than reacting.
- Take emotion out of the equation
Losing the emotional charge is probably one of the hardest things you can do, practice and keep trying though. By letting go of the emotions attached, you are giving yourself space to stand up for yourself as well as taking some of the ‘reward’ away from the bully.
Having an accountability coach will ensure you are clear on your outcomes, focused and approaching bullying in the most healthy way you can. Your coach will be the guide at your side, the glue keeping all the fragments together until you are ready to decide how you will transition out of this situation.
- Know your personal value
One of the key thigs you will forget is that you are awesome! Write a list of your skills, attributes and 100 things that make you an amazing person, a wonderful employee and valuable to the organisation.
Keep this list somewhere you will be able to look at it everyday, add to the list anything you may have forgotten and know this is really you – no one can take these from you. If your bully starts, hold your head up high, be proud of who you are and those taunts, ommisions or whatever will run off like water on a ducks back. No one can penetrate empowered people.
- ‘Don’t attend every drama you’re invited to’
Despite the bully creating drama and trying to suck you in to get a rise, remember you have options and those lead to a plan out. When you feel everything fall in, rise above it all – remind yourself of these wise words, ‘Don’t attend every drama you’re invited to’
Look at your personal values skills list and know your coach is on your side, keeping you accountable for healthy transitions through this mess.
- Have a transition plan in place
Try refrain from knee-jerk decisions, we’ll be discussing a transition plan in the next blog. Speaking to your HR team from the outset will help you determine whether to stay and fight (you’ll need a lot of support through this option) or to move on and leave it all behind you. Moving on gives you a couple more options: “get a new job with an organisation aligned to your values or start your own business and show yourself how a good employer operates” says Cheryl-lya Broadfoot of Soul’s Compass
To make your transition smooth, make sure you have an independent coach to guide you – recovery can take years – a coach helping you can make recovery much easier for you.
Remember, friends don’t let friends get bullied. If you, or someone you know is being bullied at work, get help. Don’t let a bad situation linger longer than necessary. Support is out there, whether it’s reading all the blogs in this series, listening to our podcast or getting the support you need. Do something and do it now.
Positive change begins with you.
Three things you can do right now to help yourself:
- Leave a comment below with your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you.
- Want to know about having a guide at your side? Book a call with Cheryl-lya to see how she can help.
- Listen to the podcast here: https://anchor.fm/liza-collins/episodes/Episode-5—What-is-Harassment–with-Cheryl-lya-Broadfoot-e11dnfg