Dec 26, 2016 06:58 AM EST

How To Deal With Bullying In The Workplace: Tips On How To Handle The Office Bully

For some adults, the workplace may seem like high school all over again as office bullies do their best to make everyone’s day miserable. But instead of shoving you into a locker, the office bully works in a more subtle way, and their actions can be damaging not only to the one that’s being bullied but also to the entire team.

According to Forbes, workplace bullies behave in the same way that teen bullies do. They may intimidate co-workers, spread vicious rumors to ruin one’s reputation or make fun of people. So what do you do if you’re being targeted by the office bully?

First, don’t blame yourself. According to Toughnickel, people who are bullied tend to blame themselves for the bullying, thinking that they are not a good enough worker or tough enough to stand up for themselves. There is a good chance that you’re being bothered by the office meanie because you’re actually good at your job, and this person feels jealous or resentful.

Second, be direct with the bully. Tell him what bothers you about his behavior and that if he continues to do so, then you’ll have no choice but to report him. If the bullying doesn’t stop, report it to the supervisor and make sure that you have documentation of all the bullying incidents. Take note of the dates, times, and witnesses and ask for the issue to be resolved.

If a colleague is being bullied, remember that bullies are more encouraged to continue their actions if they see that no one is standing up to them. Tell your co-worker to report the bully and if you see it going on, offer to be a witness when he or she makes her presentation to the supervisor.

Also, defend the victim whenever the bully tries to tarnish his or her reputation. For instance, when the bully says that your co-worker is lazy and does nothing to contribute to the team, defend him by saying that you think he is very professional and is just as vital to the team as everyone else.

Leaders and supervisors should keep in mind that bullies tend to go after people who are perceived to be the best employees because they want to keep out anyone who they think is a threat to their own careers. Leaders should not encourage any attempts to spread rumors, and if the behavior persists, address the situation and get the human resources department involved.

For more tips, check out Jobs & Hire’s tips on how to deal with difficult co-workers.

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