Protect Yourself From Workplace Bullies

Identify the types of bullies and learn methods to deflect them

September 24, 2019

Heavy workloads and quick turnarounds can make work stressful for professional cleaners and maintenance workers. The presence of bullies—such as supervisors, coworkers, and clients—can make the job even more difficult.

Bad behavior in the workplace is more contagious than good behavior, and the presence of a bully can escalate improper workplace practices, CNN reports. A bully is defined as someone who makes others feel oppressed, humiliated, de-energized, or belittled. Learning the types of bullies and methods to survive their actions can help reduce the toxicity of your workplace.

Problematic people range from tangible bullies, like bosses, who use their power to intimate others to verbal bullies who shame and insult with words. Passive-aggressive bullies use gossip, jokes, and sarcasm to hurt people while physical bullies will go so far as to use violent acts of physical and sexual abuse.

Surviving the bully depends on which tactics the person uses and how they affect your daily workday. If the bully’s behavior is not excessive or harmful and you only see the person occasionally, it’s best to keep your distance. As soon as you’re done with the task at hand, disengage and stay out of that person’s line of sight.

However, if you’re dealing with a chronic bully who is disrupting your ability to work, you will need to take stronger action. Thoroughly document the bully’s actions and check your company’s antiharassment policies, which may have specific guidelines on how to report the bully’s behavior. Band together with other affected coworkers to document abuse, share experiences, and convince management the bad behavior is real and needs to stop.

Learn how an employee handbook can help set guidelines for acceptable workplace behavior and provide a reporting policy for workers affected by a bully.


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