Anyone who’s been in corporate life long enough has had to deal with bullies at work.
It’s a sad situation. You grow up to be an adult and realize that people have not moved on from their hostile high-school behavior.
I’ve seen my fair share of bullies across the years and this post will help you identify some of the classic signs. Very often people are oppressed in the workplace and don’t even realize that they are being bullied.
It’s important to know when you’re being bullied and to put a stop to it.
Bullies don’t just hamper productivity but, their actions can be severely damaging to people’s mental health and self-esteem.
In Part 2 of this post, I tell you how to tackle these people.
Recognize the Signs
There’s an important distinction between people who are bad and people who are bullies.
Bad people could be liars, cheaters, people who withhold information to make your life difficult, and people who cannot be trusted. These people usually act out of a sense of self-preservation. These are toxic people too, they’re just not exactly bullies.
Bullies on the other hand, actively hurt people and end up making life miserable.
There is the sort of people who are constantly making deprecating jokes and trying to point out negative issues with comments that seem light-hearted. Most of these people are insecure about themselves and they tend to hide behind their cruel jokes.
These people are usually angry and aggressive. They take the opposite stance of the joker.
They are mean and will constantly give you a hard time. They will constantly pick at your work, criticize and micro-manage.
They can also be loud and obnoxious, shaming you in front of coworkers.
These people are not the ones who occasionally lose their temper and shout or are sometimes aggressive about getting work done.
The Gossip Queen
These people can just as well create a hostile working environment as the others. The gossip queens usually have their own cliques and, they create a situation where you may be an outcast.
They may freeze you out or arrange social functions without including you. Worse still, they actually may be spreading gossip about you, true or not.
The problem with these people is that it’s hard to take any direct action against them.
The Con Artist
While not technically a bully, the con artist can end up hurting you and your career.
These people will befriend you and always pretend to be your confidant. While in reality they are secretly sabotaging your work, bad-mouthing you to peers and superiors (very subtly) and stealing credit for your work.
Con artists play the long game, gradually making sure that you get pushed out of projects and finally the company.
Now, that you know how to recognize the signs of being bullied. Head on to Part 2 of this post, to read about what to do to tackle the situation.