Having to work is one of the most difficult things that we have to do during our life-time. It’s not the long hours, not even the complicated tasks or low pay that make work unbearable for some. It is the people. The truth is that many people could even work for buttons (figuratively speaking) as long as they feel comfortable in their work environment. Nevertheless, there are certain situations that can make work very unpleasant. I am referring to difficult colleagues, harassment and even bullying in the work-space. There are a few things that are unforgivable in this world, and bullying is one of them. If you are being bullied you are probably feeling exactly like Dilbert and the Evil HR Director, but don’t despair. Bullies in the workplace can be easily overcome.
I am not trying to generalize the problem, but from what I have learned in high-school, bullies are usually people that are actually, deep down (somewhere very deep), very insecure. Directors who take pleasure in belittling, badgering and humiliating their employees are not the most confident individuals that you will come across during their lifetime. Also, from my experience, there are certain people at work that attract ill treatment even in relatively peaceful environments. This usually happens because they do not know how to stand up for themselves. Here are three tricks that will help you overcome and cope with tackling bullying at work:
1. Don’t Give a Bully the Opportunity
Being submissive is good, to a certain extent. If you are too submissive people will take advantage of your “weakness” and probably bully you. People will consider your moments of weakness as an excuse to behave unreasonably harsh. No matter what you did, how hard you screwed up, or how introverted you are, you must never give in. If the manager approaches you in a tough manner, respond with firmness of manner. Keep your tone even, maintain eye contact, and display confidence. In addition to this, you should also not give in to intimidation. Stand your ground and you will definitely be treated with respect.
2. Don’t Let Your Fears Get the Best of You
In most situations, people who are bullied are the ones that are afraid. It is fear that makes us vulnerable to ill treatment. By approaching situations timidly, you are giving others the chance to undermine you (because let’s face it, this is how things work on the corporate ladder), take advantage of you, and surpass you. By deferring too much, and not maintaining your own space, you are giving chances to people. This way they will not have to meet you halfway. You have already conceded, because you feel that you are not entitled? Wrong. Although you are not at fault that certain people treat you like douche-bags, you are to blame if you let fears get the best of you.
3. Take the Bull by the Horns
If somebody ever tries to bully you at work, deal with the problem straight away. All it takes is an innocent little joke to act toward tackling bullying at work. If you let it pass, you are opening the door to future insults. The solution is simple: if someone makes a mean joke about you, laugh, and respond back. A good sense of humor, combined with a firm tone, can save you from future bullying. Laughter is ALWAYS better than aggressive confrontation. In most situations, victims of bullying are reactive, not proactive. They respond to situations, but they do not take charge of them. It is essential to learn how to be assertive. Nobody will ever guess what is going through your head as long as you are quietly going about your business quietly, so speak up! Make sure you choose the right timing.
In conclusion, if you want things to change you must learn how to stand up for yourself. You must also consider revisiting your behavior. If you are to soft, become more confident and assertive. Remember that bullies are no better than you, they are probably as insecure as you are, but they have learned how to hide their weaknesses.