In an ideal world we'd leave the rude, negative people behind in high school – unfortunately, these manipulative, toxic people seem to follow us straight into the workplace.
Bullies don’t only hide in the school hallway and playground, they grow up and work in offices, businesses and community organizations.
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Although bullying within the workplace can be physical, it’s more often of an emotional nature. It may take many different forms, but generally speaking repetitive, persistent behavior characterized by intimidation, insults, harassment, and ridicule, can be labeled as bullying.
Bullying takes its toll on people. It impacts their mental health and self-esteem, causing them to question and doubt their capabilities – and that's not on. We may not be able to escape these workplace bullies, but we can choose how we interact with them.
I’ve had to work with my fair share of bullies over the years, and thought I’d share with you my top three “coping with bully’s” techniques:
First up, as far as possible I avoid them. If I know Miss Toxic eats her lunch in the work kitchen at the same time every day – I make sure I take my lunch break at a different time. Avoidance may not seem like the most mature response, buts it’s more about limiting my exposure to Miss Toxic. If I can avoid having to cross paths with a bully, I do so.
Secondly, I really do try to put myself in the bully’s shoes. I put my ego to one side, and try to imagine where Miss Toxic is coming from. Sometimes this is easy to do as we know the person’s history or past. If you can pull on this information it helps you to change your perspective about the bully – it’s less about you, and more about them. It makes it a bit easier to let things go.
Lastly, I look out for me. It’s my health, happiness and wellness at stake. We’re all managing multiple roles, relationships and to-do lists – the last thing we need sapping away at our energy are negative, toxic people. This may mean standing up for myself, or having a good vent to a colleague or friend. Ultimately, I don’t allow a bully’s self-absorbed, obnoxious behavior to become my emotional chaos – I simply opt out.