How To Deal With Bullies:
Six Steps For Coping With Aggressive People
We talk about bullying a lot today because it has moved from the physical realm — which was bad enough — to the online world, too. Whether it’s your children being bullied by someone at school or you being bullied by a co-worker, this behavior makes life miserable. But there are strategies for coping that are recommended by experts; employ them, and life will get easier. It may take a little time, but these tactics do work, no matter how bad the situation.
1) Don’t Ignore It: If you’re imagining that the bullying will stop if you just pretend it isn’t happening, or that you are making it out to be worse than it is, stop right now. Bullying is real, and the sooner you deal with the aggressor in your life, the happier you (or your child) will be.
2) Don’t React Emotionally: If your child is being hurt, it’s hard not to react with all guns blazing. But to be truly effective, you must be calm. If it’s a co-worker, you could jeopardize your position if you get emotional in the work place, or respond while others are around. Walk away, calm down, and plan how to deal with this person in a rational manner. Bullies love provoking a response, so don’t give it to them. That’s often enough to dampen their aggression and turn their attention to someone else. You can’t change them, but you can stop giving them the reactions they seek.
3) Set Boundaries: If there’s someone disrupting your attempts to get work done, don’t let them. Tell them your office or work station is off limits, and involve your boss, if you must. Speak up, but do it calmly and don’t react in kind. In other words, if the bully launches a personal attack, insist on keeping your response purely professional. It may take a bit of time, but the bully will turn their attention elsewhere when they see you aren’t reacting as they’d hoped.
4) Be Consistent: Don’t get angry one moment, burst into tears the next, and walk away the third time. You’ve got to respond quietly and calmly each and every time if you want to diffuse the situation completely.
5) Use A Mediator, If Necessary: If the situation continues to devolve, ask your superior to intervene — that’s their job. Productivity lessens when a bully thrives in a workplace, and no employer wants that. Plan your case ahead of time, ask to see your boss, and lay out your complaint, but again — don’t let it get personal. Keep your comments specific. For example, don’t say, “He steals my ideas.” Instead, say something like, “On the Harris account, I worked three evenings to design the ad campaign.” Explain how you generated the ideas, and how the office bully tried to take credit for them. Trust us, your boss doesn’t want bullying in the office any more than you want to be a target of it.
6) Use Resources: Most communities have therapists, mediators and outreach programs for dealing with bullying. Utilize all of them, if need be. You’ll find plenty of resources and strategies online, too.
Your child’s well being, and your satisfaction in the workplace, are at stake. Life is too short to have bullies ruining our day. Use these techniques, and the situation will improve quickly, we promise!