Fighting Back Against the Office Bully

You remember in grade school when the bully left you in the dust on the playground without a lunch? You’d like to think that now that you’re an adult, all of that drama was left on the playground. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Those bullies on the playground are now working with you in the corporate world.

When you allow the office bully to manipulate you, you not only waste valuable resources, but also move away from the actual facts of a situation … assigning motive, making assumptions and manufacturing a false future. In this new mental "story," you often paint yourself as a helpless victim at the mercy of a villain. Adopting such an anecdotal view of your world will lead to ineffective decision making and missed opportunities, something that no one can afford to do in this unstable economy.

So here’s your chance to stand up, face the facts and eat your lunch in peace. After all, how can you be a reality-based leader when you are wasting so much time trying to avoid the fight?

Stop Judging and Start Helping – The Secret Ingredient to Teamwork
Be very careful about what you think you know for sure. Operating out of a judging mindset of "I know" or "I am right" quickly leads to righteousness and ends all learning. In fact, judging and leading are mutually exclusive activities. Forgive employees, customers and co-workers quickly and get back to leading. Reality-based leaders are clear that whenever they are judging, they have stopped leading and have stopped adding value to the situation. They insist that their teams give one another the benefit of the doubt and ask, "How can I help?" early and often.
 
"Oh, I See," "Good to Know" and "Wow" – The Words of Loving Detachment
A key to not getting "hooked" by a co-worker who has tended to misuse the energy or effort of another is to have key words with which to respond in crucial situations.  By responding with a simple "wow" or "good to know," you can acknowledge and disengage quickly while not appearing rude. Simply respond and redirect the conversation to the work at hand and your need for assistance in the moment.

Don’t Avoid, Be Prepared
Many employees spend a great deal of time and energy avoiding the manipulative co-worker because they fear getting engaged in a conversation that they don’t know how to control or end. A favorite line to memorize which will get an employee out of any situation at any time is simply, "You’ve given me a lot to think about, now I am going to head off and …" No need to fear an encounter once this line is part of your favorite responses.  
 
"I Care About You" and "No"
To remain in a peaceful place and not be rattled by another co-worker, regardless of their assumed motive, is to assure them that you care about them, but you are unable to participate in the conversation or grant their request. Repeat yourself often and diffuse the manipulative co-worker.
 
So stop wasting time hovering in the corner and stand up for yourself. You’ll feel better, and the office bully may turn into a co-worker you'll want on your team.

And remember,
You rock and Cy Rocks!

Lead on my friend.  

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1 Comments

  • Richard Pearson

    Great advice- narcissism is rampant in many organizations at lower and senior levels and it is damaging to employee morale and productivity. Bosses and co-workers who take credit for your work and bully you into assignments are destructive and should be dealt with as Cy Wakeman suggests.