Bullying is something we all hope not to have to deal with much beyond school days. Unfortunately, the bullies you tried to avoid at school will most probably grow up and follow you to the workplace. Adult bullying has become a common trend in both small and large organizations. Employees as well as managers should be able to easily distinguish between the various forms of bullying such as hostile communication, exclusion of certain employees, public humiliation, making some employees the target of particular jokes and using faulty language. In addition, employees who are being bullied should be able to handle the issue immediately; otherwise, it can result in high levels of stress, low self-esteem, lower productivity and possibly depression.

Most bullied employees simply choose to quit in order to escape the trouble and the stress, but why give bullies the victory when you can win the battle as well as preserve your job? While bullying obviously harms those directly targeted, it can also affect onlookers and ultimately lead to an unhealthy organizational culture. Akhtaboot will help you identify the main types of bullying behavior and the way to handle each one of them.

Chronic Bullying

This form of bullying is the meanest and cruelest of all as it is part of the individual’s nature and everyday behaviors. Chronic Bullies behave with an intention to harm and they have pleasure in torturing others. They usually target those who have low self-esteem levels.

How can employees survive a Chronic Bully and stop him from crossing the line? Humor is the ultimate solution. Using humor is the best way to disarm a bully. Telling a joke about yourself, will give the impression that you are not intimidated by the bully’s criticism and will help the bully let down his wall of insecurity. In general, when you make a bully feel that he’s an insider rather than the person who has to fight his way in, he becomes more approachable and easier to deal with.

Situational Bullying

This is the most common type of bullying and usually happens in specific situations such as, high stress levels at work, change, competition and conflict. In such situations, Situational bullies can turn on their colleagues through verbal abuse, intimidation and aggression. However, these acts are only temporary and tend to stop once the situational factors disappear or when they feel it is in their favor to do so. In fact, Situational Bullies can be very friendly when it comes to achieving their personal career goals.

When dealing with a Situational Bully, one of the common mistakes that you should avoid is to become defensive about the situation. Defending your actions through explaining why you did something signals weakness. Don’t argue with the bully as it will make him more hostile and will definitely blow things out of proportion. The Situational Bully tends to meet aggression with aggression. Instead, stay calm and keep the argument at a minimum. Again, the most useful piece of advice that you should follow in this regard, is to use humor to disseminate the situation.

Unaware Bullying

Some bullies might not be aware of their bullying behavior or the effects it might have on their colleagues. The Unaware Bully is someone who just happens to be in the mood for criticizing and commenting and is totally oblivious to what he is doing.

The best way to deal with Unaware Bullies is to ignore them because their bullying behavior is not intentional and most probably will not happen again. However, once the bullying behavior starts to reoccur, you must confront the bully and tackle the situation at once. A typical reaction of an Unaware Bully would be to become defensive as he might not be aware of his bullying behavior but most of them will stop and apologize.

If you have exhausted all your options and non of the above suggested solutions seemed to work, then you might be left with only one alternative and that is to communicate your problem to top management. Top managers have a huge responsibility towards keeping the work environment bully-free. They should be able to solve such situations immediately through creating a zero tolerance anti-bullying policy that details how employees should treat each other and the punishment that any employee will be subject to in case they mistreat one of their colleagues.

If your company is not supportive of making the changes that will help you feel less bullied, then maybe you should move on and find another Job. After all, if the corporate culture is one that won’t support and protect you from anti-productive bullying, do you really want to work there anyway? Well, maybe you do, for other reasons such as your compensation and the other people you work with. But if not, then it’s time you moved on. Just remember, bullies will always be there, in every industry and almost every company, so be prepared!