Dealing With Bullies At Work: The Empowered Path To Resolution

Dealing with workplace bullies can be a challenging and distressing experience. While preparing for a conversation with the bully is important, it's just one part of the equation. To truly empower yourself and address workplace bullying effectively, it's crucial to take proactive steps that go beyond the conversation itself. This article focuses on the importance of preparation, emphasizing the need to create more options for yourself. These steps not only boost your confidence but also provide the leverage needed to find a resolution.

Understanding the Dynamics of Workplace Bullying:
Workplace bullying often arises from a combination of factors. Undesirable situations or behaviors lead to distress, and individuals affected by these situations often feel disempowered and unsure of how to address the issue. In many cases, there is a person with the power to change the circumstances, but they either perpetuate the problem or fail to take corrective action. From a negotiation perspective, these conversations can feel hopeless due to a lack of confidence and leverage. To confront a workplace bully effectively, it is crucial to focus on strengthening both.

Building Confidence Through Skill Development:
Confidence in navigating difficult conversations is essential. By practicing and honing the necessary skills for challenging discussions, you can develop confidence in addressing workplace bullying head-on. Learning how to approach these conversations with conviction and clarity will enable you to face the bully with confidence.

Creating Leverage: The Power of Options:
Leverage and power in any negotiation come from having options. When dealing with a workplace bully, it's important to have alternatives. By actively seeking new employment opportunities, you ensure that even in the worst-case scenario, you have options. Pursuing new opportunities doesn't necessarily mean leaving your current job immediately, but it prepares you for the possibility of making a change. Taking interviews and engaging in job-seeking activities positions you to have choices and demonstrates that you are not dependent on the current job or the bully.

Empowerment through Leverage:
Empowerment in dealing with a workplace bully comes from knowing that you will be fine regardless of how the conversation unfolds. This sense of security gives you the confidence to speak with conviction and pursue a resolution. Power is derived from having options, and the knowledge that you can move forward, even without the current job, empowers you.

Embracing the Notion of Sustainability:
The keyword to remember throughout this process is "sustainability." It's essential to use this term both in a general sense and a personal sense. What may be sustainable for the organization may not be sustainable for you personally. When engaging in a conversation about the situation, subtly convey the warning that although the situation may be tolerable for now, it won't be in the long run. The implied message is that if the issue is not resolved, you will be forced to consider leaving or finding an alternative solution.

Empowering Yourself through Preparation:
Thorough preparation is essential to empower yourself and confront workplace bullying effectively. Relying solely on one conversation with the bully can give them more power than necessary. Preparation involves several steps that can take days, weeks, or even months. Polish your resume to accurately reflect your skills, achievements, and experiences. Build connections and networks within your professional circle to seek support and guidance. Manage your online presence to showcase your professional brand positively. Taking these proactive steps positions you for empowerment. Once prepared, you will be better equipped to navigate the challenging conversation with the workplace bully. By creating options, building leverage, and strengthening your confidence, you transform yourself from a passive victim into an empowered advocate for change.  

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