Workplace Bullies – How to Spot an Abuser in the Workplace

Have you ever noticed that some people have a knack for ending a dispute one way and others seem to end their disputes in just the opposite way?

Specifically, some individuals will invariably orchestrate their closing chapter coming out “looking” as though they are on top. And much of the time, they will only end the feud once they have satisfied this very important criteria-at least in their mind.

Here are six glaring tip-offs to help you notice these workplace bullies.

1) They will seek to make you wrong. Why? Because, they MUST make themselves right at all cost. No matter what the circumstances, they will shove all the minuscule minutia detail in your face to “prove” that they are correct and you are not.

2) They may even throw a curve ball your way to camouflage, distort or confuse your thinking. The intended purpose of this distraction is ultimately to dismantle your commitment to your position so as to open the door for embracing their position.

3) Then once the convincing and proving get under way, they will insist that they are the underdog and have been wronged by your doing. You heard me. They will claim that you and your actions have wronged-have hurt-them in some very significant way.

4) Now following your dispute with a workplace bully, you will stumble upon some relevant and timely consequence. For example, immediately after a little bully battle, you will discover some loss (from their point of view) to you. It may not really be a loss to you, but it will be one that they expected to be felt as such by you.

5) They will do all that is necessary to make all bystanders believe that they have been taken advantage of or not appreciated by you. This group support gives validation to their convincing perspective. So in the company of their supporters, they celebrate their victory and all is well.

6) You, on the other hand, ponder what the hell just happened? And as you reflect on what has transpired, all you can really see is your opponent saving face, getting even and bullying you right out of your point of view.

When you meet a workplace bully eye-to-eye, see them for what they present and resist personalizing their actions. It’s not about you. The clearer you are about this, the more likely you will successfully duck, dodge and steer right through bullies in your workplace.

4 Main Characteristics Of Workplace Bullies

This is due not only to some of the major news media interviewing the experts on it but also through the explosion of the social media outlets online and the influences they have had in recent years.

We are also finding that the instant communications that people have now like texting their friends and families on their smartphones or other wireless devices, or posting to their contacts on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and YouTube, has made a big difference by bringing workplace issues to the forefront for millions of more people than were previously aware of them.

Although the social media and other mobile devices make the awareness and reporting of workplace bullying incidents almost instantaneous, there is another side effect to this whole thing that has reared it’s ugly head.

Cyber bullying!

Now the bullies have a new weapon to use against their targets to bring them down emotionally, relentlessly harass them, ridicule them and even make their lives miserable during their off time on weekends and vacations.

These wireless devices can really add to the unhealthy, intimidating or humiliating behaviors of workplace bullies The characteristics of the workplace bully remains the same but the delivery systems have improved tremendously.

Remember the 4 main characteristics of a bully:

1. To control and aggressively assault his victim through repeated verbal abuse.

2. Sabotaging of their work to make them look incompetent.

3. Humiliating their victims in front of their co-workers.

4. Generally mistreating them so badly that they lose their dignity, confidence and self respect.

If these types of behaviors are haunting you whether they are coming from your boss or another co-worker and you think that they are being obsessive with their abuse, there are certain steps that you can take which will help you rise above it all.

It all boils down to learning why it is happening, who is getting targeted and why and what kinds of actions will be needed to put an end to it.

As of right now, the law can be used for discrimination cases but there are none yet on the books against bullying itself. The Healthy Workplace Bill has been introduced in a number of states with Massachusetts becoming the closest to pass the bill.

Until one is passed we have to change things in certain other ways to protect our health, our mental and emotional stability and make the place were we work and spend most of our day, a fun and exciting workplace that is never toxic.

How to Use the Right Words When Dealing With a Workplace Bully

Bullying is not just a problem for kids in school. It is a problem for working adults too. It would be nice if everyone would grow up and mature and be nice to each other. But that isn’t what happens. Kids who bully in school often grow up to become workplace bullies.

There is a reason for that. Workplace bullies bully because it works. Intimidating other people works. It isn’t nice and it doesn’t lead to good decisions being made. But it does work if what you seek is power. Because that is what bullying is. The definition of bullying is any interaction that exploits a perceived or real power difference to gain an advantage.

The reason school yard bullies become workplace bullies is because bullying is the way they learned how to get what they want. It isn’t fair. They should be nicer, but complaining about how unfair it is and how rude they are won’t solve the problem. Bullies bully because it works for them. They aren’t much interested in the impact they are having on others so appealing to their better angels isn’t going to work either.

So what does work? Removing the perceived or real power difference and at the same time, eliminating the rewarded power or status received by the bully as a result of their bad behavior. In other words, arrange things so bullying doesn’t work for the bully.

The good news is that this is fairly easy to do if you know what to say and how to say it. Your goal is to respond to the intimidation of a bully by not being intimidated. If they can’t intimidate you they can’t create or exploit a perceived power difference because there won’t be one to exploit.

To show the bully you aren’t intimidated, you have to speak and act in a way that shows them you aren’t scared. You must respond to them in a bored tone of voice whenever they attempt to bully you or anyone else. You must also stand as straight as possible and look them in the eye when you speak to them if at all possible. If you are incapable of looking into their eyes for whatever reason, practice looking past people’s ear or at the ceiling. Just don’t look down, that is a sign of submissiveness.

You will need two catch phrases you can use to provide a consistent response to the bully’s bad behavior. The first one is for when they try to intimidate you. The other is for when you witness them trying to intimidate someone else.

• My favorite phrase to use when someone says something mean or demeaning to me is “Thank you very much for that information. It’s very helpful.” This works for cyber bullies as well as it does for the ones you encounter in real life. It isn’t rude. It acknowledges what was said. It also signals that you aren’t bothered by what was said. That is, ultimately, what you want a workplace bully to learn.

• My favorite phrase to use when I witness someone being mean to another person is to say, “That wasn’t a very nice thing to do. You should apologize.” Again, this is said in a matter a fact, bored tone of voice. You aren’t being mean. You aren’t upset with them. You just expect people to behave as rational, reasonable and respectful adults. This will put the bully on notice that their bad behavior won’t be tolerated anymore and that they should choose better tactics.

The key to pulling this off successfully is to practice saying your catch phrases at home in as bored a voice as possible. Have a friend practice with you if necessary. That way the words will roll off your tongue effortlessly when you really need them.

You also need to employ these catch phrases every single time you are a victim or witness someone else being a victim. In order to get a bully to stop, you must eliminate all their rewards. Consistency is key.

Finally, you should expect the bully to respond poorly to this approach. At first, they will seem confused. But once they realize that the strategy they have used since childhood to get what they want isn’t working anymore, they are likely to escalate their bad behavior. I realize this is an unpleasant thought, but it is a realistic one and you shouldn’t allow the threat of escalation of bad behavior stop you from doing what is right.

The good news is that if you expect it, it won’t catch you off guard when it happens. The other good news is that if and when the bully escalates their bad behavior, they are likely to draw the attention of the higher level managers who aren’t likely to appreciate the poor attitude and interpersonal skills of the bully.

There is no reason to fear or be intimidated by a workplace bully. They are a human being just like you and they are only doing what they learned works. By using the right words and a healthy dose of compassion, you can arm yourself effectively. Practice your words so that you can say them easily. Then, all you have to do is respond consistently to the workplace bully until they learn how to behave better.