Unfortunately, some people who were bullies as children become bullies as adults. Since they encounter too many people who are afraid of them, they might be able to bully their way into a good job. These people poison companies, but they somehow manage to stick around. Luckily, you don't have to put up with them.
What is the difference between a bully and someone who is just aggressive or assertive?
A bully regularly picks on peers or those she supervises. She will never, ever act that way around her own supervisors. An assertive person who is passionate about her job is simply that way with everyone. An assertive person also focuses on making your company's product the best it can be.
A bully does not care about the company at all. What the bully cares about is you and anyone else she can get away with belittling. A bully will get personal and call you "stupid" or "idiot."
What if a workplace bully tries to pick a fight with me?
Stand up for yourself. Tell her to go away and come back when she can speak to you like a real human being. Whatever you do, do not cry or yell. If you are facing a true workplace bully, she knows how to use your emotions against you. Bullies have that gift. Instead, keep your voice even, and look the bully in the eye. The bully wants a reaction, but staying focused on the project at hand will confuse her. If the bully keeps on going, simply say you will discuss the matter later and walk off. You cannot reason with a bully.
In many cases, the bully will stop once she sees that she cannot get a rise out of you. But, if the bully continues to cause problems for you, call HR. When speaking with HR, do not get too emotional. You don't want them to think the issue is just about you and the bully. Make clear that what you are doing is good for the workplace as a whole, and tell HR that the bully is disrupting the workplace and is harming the bottom line.
What if the bully is my boss and there is no HR?
In a small business, you might be in close quarters with a workplace bully. While she bullies, cultivate alliances with other colleagues. Many of them will be sick of your boss, too. The only way to escape is to help each other out. Gain as much experience working for this bully for as long as you can tolerate it, get a reference from a colleague who appreciates your work and apply for other jobs.
What should I say about working with an office bully in interviews?
Badmouthing a former employer in interviews only leads to trouble because, even if your complaints are legitimate, potential employers might think you are negative or embittered. The best thing you can do is take the references you have from your colleagues and move on. As for the bully, the bad karma she has developed will cause nothing but trouble for her in the future.
A victim of workplace harassment may not feel comfortable speaking to a supervisor, but there is no reason to be nervous when it comes to protecting your rights. By not reporting harassment, you are giving the harasser even more power.
Several types of harassment are prohibited by United States laws and regulations. Although sexual harassment is the most common, managers and companies must also watch out for any other forms of workplace harassment.