From Playground to Boardroom: Dealing with Workplace Bullies

Published Wednesday, September 01, 2010 2:36 PM

Bullying in the schools and online is often headline news. Now a recent study says that America's workplaces are also the scene of troubling bullying. Nearly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is either a victim of or a witness to bullying on the job according to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI). 

What Does Workplace Bullying Look Like?

What constitutes bullying? According to WBI, workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment that takes one or more of the following forms:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
  • Work interference - sabotage - which prevents work from getting done

Signs that you may be being bullied include:

  • Feeling physically sick before work
  • Enduring repeated yelling and verbal abuse
  • Being repeatedly excluded from key meetings or social events

For more signs that your workplace is toxic, read Ten Signs You're Being Bullied At Work from 

I Spy a Bully

Work bullies like playground bullies need to be confronted to get their behavior to stop. Try letting the person know that their behavior or communications are unacceptable; if they don't change their interactions, it's time to get your boss or HR staff involved. For additional advice, BNET has a wonderful primer on managing workplace bullies: How to Handle a Workplace Bully. 

Have you had trouble with an office bully? What steps does your workplace take to encourage civility? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.

by Candie Harris


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