What To Do If A Bully Works On Your Team
Bullies exist in the workplace, whether or not you notice them. According to a Forbes article, workplace bullying has increased almost 20 percent between 2008 and 2019. When it comes to bullies, they will continue their toxic behaviors as long as they are permitted to do so. That’s why consultant Paul LaRue says it’s important for leaders to confront workplace bullying rather than ignore it.
If you want to ensure you have a healthy team where everyone can thrive, keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today. We share LaRue’s suggestions on how to handle bullies on your team.
Notice it. Those on the receiving end of bullying typically downplay the abuse. Instead, look hard at the situation and understand what is truly happening.
Bring it up to the bully. If you feel comfortable doing so, confront the workplace bully about their actions. The bully may not know how their behavior impacts you or others. By speaking up, you also establish healthy boundaries for what you will and will not tolerate in the workplace.
Redraw lines and expectations. If the bully is receptive to your conversation, LaRue advises that you inform the bully how you feel. Use the company’s core values to underscore your position if necessary. Restate boundaries on how you and the bully must co-exist in the workplace to be able to accomplish your jobs. Your goal, says LaRue, is to reclaim value for yourself by letting the bully know their actions will not be tolerated.
Record the bullying. If you see or experience bullying in the workplace, take note of it. You must have an objective case to present to your HR team. If possible, try to get emails, texts and written communication from those on your team who have observed or experienced the bullying. Their thoughts are helpful to support what is happening. Just be sure to be truthful in your reporting, leaving out any assumptions or emotions.
Align with your colleagues. Chances are, some of your colleagues have seen bullying happen on your team. Find out who has observed bullying and get to know their thoughts about the situation. If they are bothered by it as you are, ask if they would be willing to make a statement. LaRue notes that bullies often impact more than one person in an organization.
Take it to HR. This is an important step because your HR department will likely get the information and seek to help the bully through coaching or other assistance. While you shouldn’t expect the bully to get fired for their behavior right away, you should keep HR informed about any subsequent misdeeds.
Remove yourself. When you have established your boundaries and the bully continues to overstep them, LaRue says you may have to consider whether you want to stay in your organization. It’s a highly personal decision, so take time to consider your options.
Retain legal counsel. LaRue notes that if bullying violates certain labor laws or rights for protected groups, or if it causes a verified loss to your physical or mental health, you have the right to seek legal action.
Know you did the right thing. When you confront a bully or abusive individual and take a stand for what is right, you can take comfort knowing you did what was right.
Remember that what you allow is what will continue. Don’t let bullies run rampant in your team. Talk to the bully about their actions, and if it continues, bring it to HR with documentation. By confronting it and exposing it, you help create a happier and healthier workplace for all.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Paul LaRue is a consultant in the hospitality and service industries and the creator of The UPwards Leader blog.