Dear Rhonda: I’m working with someone I think is a bully. She is mean (like in the movie Mean Girls), she makes fun of me in front of others, and I feel like crying when she comes my way. My co-workers tell me it is just a personality clash, but I think it is worse. What is the difference?
Signed, “Back to Grade Three”
Dear “Back to Grade Three”
There is a difference between a personality clash and a bully, and it is important to look objectively at the situation to ensure it really is a bully you are dealing with. Your approach to a bully requires a little more strategy than a simple confrontation.
Statistically 62% of employers ignore signs and complaints of bullying, stating they are personality issues and they don’t want to get involved (Zogby study). That number is far too high, so it is important that before you complain to HR or management, that you’ve done your homework as well. If you are really dealing with a bully, lets be sure we do what we need to do so our company cannot dismiss it.
Personality clashes are communication style differences. One person will be very direct, one will be passive. One person is comfortable with confrontation, one is not. One person likes attention, and one does not. Personality differences are often frustrating, but they do not fall into the definition of bullying. It is perfectly normal to have confrontations based on personality differences, and normally the company doesn’t need to get involved. The company does need to get involved with a bully.
A bully is:
– unfair, humiliating, malicious and vindictive
– someone who intends to harm the victim
– is persistent, prolonged and happens over a period of time (and escalates)
– will likely challenge your physical or mental health, safety and well-being
– has the power to bully, whether that is real, perceived or sanctioned
Clearly it is more than just being different. The intent to harm is the major difference from my perspective. What does the bully get from bullying you? What is their payoff? Are they trying to cause you harm (professionally, emotionally, or even physically)? Why?
ON THE RIGHT TRACK has recently developed a brand new webinar that will help anyone in your situation deal with the bully at work:
Beat the Bully! Keep ON THE RIGHT TRACK with strategies to deal with bullying in the workplace. December 9, 2010. Only $99 per dial in line. Stay tuned for more details!
To Register: email Caroline@on-the-right-track.com with “Register me for Beat the Bully”. She will send you the webinar details, executive overview and invoice to you at that time.
For More Information, or to bring the workshop to you company: Call toll free at 1877-213-8608 or email Rhonda@on-the-right-track.com for more information.