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Keen to know the ways to deal with a bully at work? If you are at the receiving end of bullying, you can beat the bullies at their own game by dealing with them in a structured manner as explored in the 25 ways to deal with a bully at work.

Ways to Deal with a Bully at Work

Written by Catherine Adenle

Searching for the best ways to deal with a bully at work? Search no more as we have done all the leg work for you through this post.

Bullies run rampant through the world, causing unnecessary pain to the lives of people that they choose to victimize. Bullying takes place everywhere and anywhere. It takes place in the workplace, at school and in homes. It takes the form of verbal abuse, bad conducts that are threatening or humiliating to others. Usually, bullies at work or anywhere will target someone and make the person’s life miserable.

Cunningly, bullies in the workplace tend to operate in a clever manner to disguise how they truly behave towards the people they bully. Usually, these bullies are charming outwardly to people they cannot bully. So, it is difficult for others that the bullying isn’t directed towards to believe that these bullies are capable of tormenting anyone. However, when bullies think no one is looking and they see a slight window of opportunity when they think have an upper arm, they behave in an unspeakable manner to those that they bully.

At work, bullies will fib and convince others that they are not bullying anyone, however, if you are at the receiving end of bullying, you can beat them at their own game by dealing with them in a structured manner as shown in the 25 ways to deal with a bully at work.

25 ways to deal with a bully at work:

  1. First of the ways to deal with a bully at work is to assess the situation. When it comes to feeling bullied, you have to trust your instincts. If you feel bullied, then, you are probably bullied.
  2. Keep a close eye on what is happening around the situation between you and the person in question. Call it ‘bullying’ if it feels like bullying and be sure to call the person a bully.
  3. Then, watch the person closely and the behaviour they display towards you. Don’t give the bully a chance at work or anywhere to get away with anything.
  4. Remember to be professional in the way you handle the situation.
  5. Insist firmly that the person responsible for the bullying or harassment stops it.
  6. One of the most important ways to deal with a bully at work is to send a strong and clear message to the bully. Quickly douse any bullying fire with a bucketful of bravery and confidence in public if they try to bully you. Do it as soon as you sense another bullying behaviour aimed at you. Tell the bully “No! Stop it now! I won’t have that from you or anyone” in a loud voice.
  7. Educate yourself about bullying. If you prefer, you can visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau to learn more about bullying in the workplace. There are also books on bullying and loads of resources on the internet. It is important that you learn about how bullying is dealt within your company, what your company’s policies on bullying are because the more you know, the better your chances are of dealing with the situation.
  8. As much as you can, avoid anyone you sense to be a bully as much as you can if they don’t sit near you.
  9. A major aspect of the ways to deal with a bully at work is not to ignore the bullying. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the situation; don’t think ignoring the situation will make it go away. Guess what; ignoring it will not stop the bully. As a matter of fact, you are giving the bully more power by not addressing the situation. There is no need to add fuel to the perceived firepower that the bully has or ignited.
  10. Don’t play the bully’s game in any way, an African proverb says, “If a donkey kicks you and you kick back, you are both donkeys!”
  11. Don’t break down and get emotional in front of the bully. Stay calm and rationale so that you can diffuse the situation.
  12. Another vital aspect of the ways to deal with a bully at work is to keep a diary of every bullying behaviour, the time, date, what the bully said and how the bully acted. Any time you experience a bullying behaviour, document the date, time, the name of the person(s) present and details of the incident. Note names down if other employees witnessed the incident.
  13. Always stick to the facts.
  14. Don’t think you are to blame for the actions of a bully. Don’t lose your confidence, or think you are incapable or incompetent at your job.
  15. Don’t bully the bully. You really don’t want to stoop to their level.
  16. Do your work and go the extra mile to ensure that a bully cannot justify their behaviour by picking holes in your work.
  17. Have the courage to talk to the bully in the presence of a trusted third party if the bully should repeat their behaviour again. It is possible for the bully not to know how they come across and the bullying may not be deliberate. Work out what to say beforehand. However, always ask someone else to be present with you.
  18. Find out everything you can about the bully in your workplace. It’s important that you do your homework before taking any actions. Is she or he bullying others? Can anyone join you to make an official complaint?
  19. Have a reliable office friend that can act as a witness and will speak up on your behalf if push comes to shove.
  20. At work, build a support network by improving your relationship with your colleagues so that you have the support and the bully doesn’t turn them against you.
  21. If your chat with the bully does not yield a change in behaviour and you feel you cannot solve the problem, then make a formal complaint. However, you must follow your employer’s grievance policy.
  22. Inform your boss, then inform your Human Resources office and seek their advice on how to deal with the situation. Make a plan to visit your HR with a third party if this is acceptable. The third-party must be a trusted friend so that you have a witness in your discussion with HR.
  23. Ensure that the diary with the log of the bully’s behaviour is kept safe as it is your evidence.
  24. Get some upper-level managers on your side if Human Resources are less than capable of dealing with the situation. It is important to have someone who is outside of your department, outside of HR and not allied with your boss to help you figure things out. See a professional that can advise you if all else fails.
  25. If all the steps above have not yielded any positive result for you, then, it is time for the next step. Look for another job as you deserve to work in a friendly, peaceful environment just like everyone.

See How to Deal with a Bully at Work: 7 Tips

See How to Deal with a Workplace Bully

Remember, bullies, lack the empathy to understand that they are causing pain to another human being unless they are told directly and constantly.

See How to Deal With Bullies

Don’t keep quiet about bullying and don’t feel alone or powerless. Be proactive in dealing with any bad behaviour towards you and others in the workplace.

Dealing with Bullying at Work Guide

By being proactive against any form of bullying, people do their part to protect the victims and may even guide the bullies into becoming better people.

Have you successfully dealt with a bully in the past or are there other ways to deal with a bully at work? If so, let’s hear from you by adding your comments below.


Catherine Adenle
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.
Catherine Adenle
Catherine Adenle

Latest posts by Catherine Adenle (see all)

3 thoughts on “25 Ways to Deal with a Bully at Work

  1. I can’t stand bullies in the workplace or anywhere. So, I commend anyone sharing information on how to deal with them. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for this article. I am on the receiving end of a bully disguised as an “innocent church lady.” Getting management to acknowledge what’s going on is tough. Others see it, but no one wants to stir the waters. Why am I made to look like the bad guy for bringing up the matter? This is an office, not a playground – no time for games!

  3. It’s really unfortunate that there are people who spend most of their days working in an environment where they are not treated with respect. This should help those people to handle it.

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