How to deal with being bullied at work -

Working with a bully

Everyone has days when they don't feel like going to work. But for many people, that day is every day because they're harassed on the job. Our communications coach, Marcia Brandwynne, shares three things you can do to survive in a hostile work environment.

Snarky one-liners and hilarious putdowns are part of what we love about workplace sitcoms. But that's TV.

In the real world, having a co-worker who constantly berates you or tries to embarrass you in front of others can make going to work a total nightmare. If you're being bullied at work, there are some tactics you can use to shift the balance of power in your favor and put an end to the harassment.

Dealing effectively with a bully at work requires some self-restraint. No matter how angry, hurt or embarrassed you are by their remarks, you need to remain calm. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't stand up for yourself. In fact, if you're sitting, actually stand up and interrupt your co-worker by saying their name. For example: "Joe. Joe. Are you finished? I need to get back to work now." There are two messages you're giving Joe: One, he's a distraction. And two, his opinion of you doesn't count.

Another approach is to take the bully aside and talk directly with them. Ask them what their problem is with you. Now to make this work, you must listen without reacting or getting upset. Whatever it is, the message you must convey is that you want to be treated with respect. The point of this discussion is not about being friends. It's about them treating you properly so that you can do your job.

If those tactics feel too confrontational for your situation, Marcia suggests using what she calls the "stealth method." Since most bullies don't feel good about themselves, you want to try to find ways to boost their self-esteem. Ask their advice about something or inquire about their life outside of work. Showing interest will make them feel liked. This method requires putting away your own anger. But in the end, you may very well turn a bully into an ally.

Copyright 2011 America Now. All rights reserved.

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