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Rediff.com  » Getahead » 7 tips to deal with an office bully

7 tips to deal with an office bully

August 11, 2014 10:09 IST

Image: If you feel you're being bullied at work, you must find a way to fight it.
Photographs: Sivaram V/Reuters

Workplace harassment is one of the most common issue that hinders growth, eventually urging people to quit large organisations.

If you feel threatened at work, here's what you must do to come out of it.

According to a recent survey, a shocking 75 per cent IT professionals have admitted to being bullied at work.

In most offices, bullying at work may not necessarily mean a colleague physical threatening or manhandling you.

It could be as naive as trying to impose their individual responsibilities on you, or making the workplace environment unfit for growth and motivation.

For most of us, who are victims of similar situations, it takes a lot of courage and conviction to be able to survive the situation.

Here are some ways you can deal with it.

1. Learn to say no

Bullies are attracted to people who cannot say no.

So if you've struggled to turn down a 'request' from your senior or your colleague on more than a couple of occasions, chances are you are going to be the next target (if you aren't one already).

The next time someone tries to palm off their job on to you, turn them down.

Be polite but be firm.

You will realise that saying 'No' is empowering in itself.

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Note: All pictures used here are only for representational purpose

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2. Don't get intimidated

Image: Don't let the bully win over you by succumbing to his/her demands.
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

When you say 'No' the first time around, two possible scenarios arise:

a. The bully gets the message and does not bother you again

b. The bully is offended and tries to arm-twist you.

Intimidation is a bully's favourite method.

They will try everything in their power -- be it their proximity to your boss or the fact that they are your superiors -- to get their way.

Stay calm and don't get intimidated. Hold your ground.

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3. Don't get emotional

Image: Stop feeling victimised.
Photographs: Ivan Milutinovic/Reuters

Bullies derive their strength by making people cry or lose their temper.

The moment you break down, the bully wins.

If you lose your temper, there's a good chance your bully will use it against you.

When you get emotional in such a scenario you also tend to lose perspective.

Don't let that happen.

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4. Document the bullying

Image: Procure evidence against your bully.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

Jot down the details of the time you were bullied and list out the people who were witness to it.

Should you want to escalate the matter to the HR, these finer details will come handy.

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5. Seek help

Image: Talk to your colleagues and find out if they are facing the same problem as you are.
Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters

There is a good possibility you aren't the only person being bullied.

Seek out others who may have faced a similar problem.

Ask for their advice and how they dealt with it.

You are bound to find stories like your own.

If they haven't raised their voice, encourage them to do so because there is strength in numbers.

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6. Approach the HR

Image: Discuss the issue with the hiring manager.
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

If things have got out of control, approach the HR.

Treat your meeting with the HR as being extremely important.

When you approach them, tread lightly because there is a possibility that your bully might in fact be in their good books.

This might end up backfiring on you.

Your meeting with the HR is not a counselling session. You are not here to confess.

State the facts as they happened. List out witnesses, if any.

And leave it at that.

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7. Don't ever think your bully will change

Image: Do not take your bully's apology at its face value.
Photographs: Sivaram V/Reuters

We often believe in the innate goodness of people.

But remember that the inherent nature of a person cannot change.

If you are expecting your bully and you to live happily ever after, forget it!

Take the apology at its face value (if ever it comes) and in the weeks and months to follow, see if your bully indeed meant it.

Forgive but don't forget.

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