Very few of us are equipped to deal with workplace bullying. Often it takes us by surprise and it is only after going through that we gain a better understanding of what to do.
If you find yourself being bullied at work, here are a few things you will NOT want to do. Keep in mind that even if you are making these mistakes, don’t feel bad. The lessons outlined below are designed to help you feel less alone while you are going through this tough time.
Don’t blame yourself.
As a victim of bullying, we try to find reasons why we are put in this situation and we have a tendency to blame ourselves. Often we think we deserve to be bullied because of something we may have done wrong. When we get too caught up with interrogating ourselves, we don’t have many resources left to handle attacks.
No matter who you are, no one deserves to be bullied. No one in your office is perfect, so don’t hold yourself up to that impossible standard. As long as you are working to best of your capabilities, that is enough.
More commonly than not, a target is selected because of their strengths, not because of their weaknesses. You are most likely being targeted because you are liked by others, an honest person and have a good work ethic.
Don’t forget to record every incident.
To show that there is a pattern of harassment, document every incident that you have had with the bully. Having a clear record will support your argument if you decide to confront the issue in a formal manner either internally through Human Resources or externally through a lawyer or your union.
When you document bullying, try to keep your emotions out of it. Write down what happened, but leave out explanations of how it made you feel. Be sure to include dates, exact quotes, witnesses’ names, or any actions. If you have any electronic communications, such as email, be sure to save them in a folder.
Don’t stay in an environment that makes you miserable.
Marianne Worthington, the founder of Work Warrior, explains that if a situation is properly conducted and has enough evidence, an action against the bully should be completed in a timeline of three to six months. However, Worthington recommends that if management is the bully, you should look for another job.
Remember that your health and wellbeing is more important that any job. The choice to leave a job is a very personal one, but if a harassment situation is affecting you on a mental and physical level you may want to consider leaving.