|Mediate2go.com: Bullying, Harassment, Quote by Maya Angelou|
Dealing with a workplace bully, such as a boss or co-worker can have devastating consequences. Sometimes open confrontation may not be appropriate or useful, so here are some general recommendations to deal with someone who exhibits a toxic personality. Remember, the power difference between you and a workplace bully may be significant. It’s important to be conscious of this and to find safe and appropriate ways of empowering yourself to move to a better situation, either inside of outside of the organization.
- Talk to your union and find out what your government says about workplace harassment. Some countries offer special assistance in harassment cases. They can also tell you if your complaint might be allowable.
- Built alliances with others if you sense they are experiencing the same. Be careful in doing so as this may backfire. [i]
- Know your true worth on the market and always have other options. Applying for jobs even if you love your current job. Do so discretely. This is an easy way of ensuring that you have other options and contacts if you are forced to make a move outside of the organization.
- Try to assess how you could improve your performance, and if objectively, you are doing something incorrectly. Sometimes we feel defensive when receiving feedback. We may feel as if our managers are attacking our identity. However, ask a colleague, preferably in the same position, if you are doing a good job. Tell your manager your intention is to do a good job and that you are willing to do your best.
- If the manager is indeed being inappropriate, with a consistently aggressive tone, using insults, and so forth, be sure to document everything.
- Be the bigger person and do not respond with threats, emotion or an equally aggressive tone. By reacting in a calm and collected manor, acknowledging what was said, “…you effectively strip all of the power behind their verbal attacks without [escalating] the conflict. If your boss happens to be intimidating or controlling, then the best way of dealing with their behaviour is to remain calm and acknowledge their power. Consider turning the discussion into one that is focused on goals[ii].
- Escalate your complaint up the hierarchy of the organization as a last resort.
Conflict at work can be extremely draining and time consuming. The dynamics can be extremely complex, so see professional advice outside of the workplace.
[i] Loo, Tristan. (2008) http://conflict911.com/guestconflict/difficultboss.htm
[ii] Loo, Tristan. (2008) http://conflict911.com/guestconflict/difficultboss.htm