Workplace bullying is a serious issue that can cause psychological pressure, emotional damage, and low work efficiency and quality, with significant financial costs to the organization. But, how can you deal with bullies in the workplace?

Understanding the Reasons for Bullying

First, it’s important to understand why people bully. Research suggests that people bully for a variety of reasons, including feeling threatened, jealous, or needing to feel powerful. They may also do it as a way of venting their own frustrations or making themselves feel better. Additionally, some people may bully as a result of their own insecurities.

Tips for Dealing with Bullies

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” Plato

One tip from famous Greek philosopher, Plato, is to try to understand the root cause of their behavior. Instead of confronting them directly, try to find out what is motivating them to behave in such a way, and then try to find methods to address that underlying issue. Consider using empathy to better understand their behavior. Empathy helps us to recognize and understand the feelings and experiences of others, without feeling judged or threatened. With empathy, we can attempt to understand why someone might be behaving in a certain way, and this knowledge can help us to come up with a better solution to the problem.

For example, let’s say that you have a co-worker who is constantly belittling you and criticizing your work in front of others. Instead of confronting them directly and getting into a heated argument, you could try to understand the root cause of their behavior. Perhaps they are feeling threatened by your skills and abilities, or they are going through a difficult time in their personal life and taking it out on others.

By using empathy, you can try to understand their perspective and feelings, without feeling judged or threatened. You could try to have a conversation with them in private and ask them about their behavior, without being confrontational. With this knowledge, you can come up with a better solution to the problem. Maybe they just need some guidance or mentorship, or maybe they are dealing with a personal issue and need support. By understanding the underlying issue, you can address it in a more effective way and potentially resolve the problem.

Track workplace bullying by documenting incidents, emotions and actions with our “Workplace Bullying Incident Journal

Taking Action

Another way to deal with bullies in the workplace is to speak up and set boundaries. Encourage others to do the same, and don’t be afraid to call out the bully’s behavior. Encourage your manager to take action by providing evidence and documenting incidents. Support those who are being bullied, and create a safe space for them to share their experiences. Take a stand and take action. Don’t be afraid to challenge the bully’s behavior and show them that it is not acceptable. Talk to your manager and HR department, and ensure that appropriate steps are taken to address the issue.

Take control of workplace bullying with our effective scripts for speaking up.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

Support for Victims

Creating a culture of kindness and respect in your workplace is also important. Encourage your colleagues to be kind and respectful to one another. This can help to prevent bullying from occurring in the first place.

This can be achieved by promoting a culture of open communication, where everyone feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas, and where everyone is encouraged to be kind and respectful to one another.

One way to do this could be to have regular team-building activities, such as team lunches, volunteer work, or fun events that promote teamwork and collaboration. Having a positive team spirit and encouraging people to work together can foster a sense of camaraderie among colleagues and can help to create an environment where people feel comfortable and respected.

Another way to create a culture of kindness and respect is by recognizing and rewarding positive behavior. For example, if a colleague goes out of their way to help a fellow team member, or if they are consistently respectful and kind to others, recognize their efforts and show appreciation for their behavior. This will encourage others to follow suit and promote a culture of kindness and respect in the workplace.

You could also have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and any unkind behavior, and make sure that everyone is aware of it, the processes in place and the consequences of such actions.

Overall, creating a culture of kindness and respect in the workplace can help to prevent bullying from occurring in the first place, by promoting positive behavior, open communication, and a sense of camaraderie among colleagues.

Find the support that you need with our Bullying Support Resources List.

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” – Nat King Cole

What to do if you are afraid of speaking out

If you are afraid of speaking out, reach out to colleagues who can support you and help you build the courage to speak out. Find out about the policies and procedures in place for dealing with bullying at work and make sure you are aware of your rights. Seek support from a trade union or an employee assistance program.

It’s important to remember that you are not alone and there are people who can help you. Don’t let fear stop you from taking action and seeking support. Remember that speaking out is the first step in creating a safe and healthy work environment for everyone.

“Your voice can change the world.” – Unknown

In conclusion, workplace bullying is a serious issue that can cause harm to individuals and organizations. However, by understanding the root cause of bullying, using empathy, speaking up and setting boundaries, creating a culture of kindness and respect, and seeking support, we can work towards creating a workplace that is free from bullying and promotes well-being for all. Remember, kindness always prevails, so don’t be afraid to throw some marshmallows and rainbows at bullies. It might just be the thing that helps them see the light.

Fun Fact: The original stop bullying event was organized in 2007 by twelfth-grade students David Shepherd and Travis Price of Berwick, Nova Scotia.


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