THE HORROR OF BULLIES
By Debra Yearwood
As October opens we’re probably all being inundated with fall and winter-themed decor and decorations. Nothing is quite as incongruous as scowling jack-o lanterns and fall garlands sitting alongside Christmas trees and smiling elves. If you’re in business for yourself, you are no doubt knee-deep in planning your Christmas campaign even as you start to wrap up your fall promotions.
My own focus has been on Halloween and horrors of a more professional nature. For some reason, the fall always brings bullies to mind. Perhaps all the scary content on television reminds me of how horrifying it is to work with a bully. While I’ve been lucky enough to escape my old nemeses, I thought the following tips would be useful for business leaders and entrepreneurs who manage others. READ MORE HERE
For employees dealing with bullies, I have these tips from experience and human resources professionals.
- Tell them to stop. Make it clear you would like the behaviour to stop. Explain how their behaviour, tone or comments make you feel.
- Keep a cool head. Bullies are looking for a reaction. If you have a screamer, don’t respond in kind. Keep your tone neutral. Not only does it allow you to stay in control of the situation it also denies the bully a target and has the added benefit of making them look hysterical.
- Keep track of bullying. Keep inappropriate or threatening emails. Send them to a personal account or place them in a personal folder. Make a note of inappropriate comments including the date and time.
- Stay Connected. Don’t allow a bully to isolate you from friends or colleagues. Give yourself the opportunity to have fun. No one wants to be around a bully and others will often avoid them if their behaviour is disruptive.
- Rephrase. Rephrase aggressive language so that the person delivering them can hear the true nature of their comment or request. “Old dogs can’t learn new tricks.” Could be rephrased as, “So you are suggesting that experienced professionals can’t learn?”
- Walk Away. You don’t have to engage bullies, walk away from inappropriate discussions. If that’s not possible and you have exhausted other avenues such as asking human resources or a supervisor to intervene, your best bet is to make a run for it. No job is worth the constant erosion to your mental health that comes from bullying.