<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=349935452247528&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

4 Ways to Handle a Workplace Bully and Minimize the Stress

May. 12, 2015 | Posted by The Alternative Board
workplace bully

An alarming 75 percent of employees reported a loss of motivation due to the stress caused by an abrasive manager, according to a study by coaching firm Executive Confidante. As if that weren’t shocking enough, 44 percent of those surveyed actually left an employer because of workplace bullying. These statistics show how your company could be susceptible to the problem, but there are steps you can take to minimize or prevent the tension caused by a workplace bully.

Executive Confidante’s owner, Kalli Matsuhashi, specializes in identifying, preventing and eliminating workplace bullying. We asked her to explain four common methods of dealing with bullies as well as what business owners and employees might realistically expect from these tactics. Here’s what she had to say.

Working for an abrasive manager (AKA workplace bully) is almost always a very stressful and trying situation. Assuming the abrasive manager will continue their bullying ways, there are really only a few ways to minimize the resulting stress.

  1. Ignore the workplace bully. It's almost impossible to ignore an abrasive manager - they’re usually right on top of things, trying to intimidate people into better performance. One can try to ignore the bullying behavior and recognize that it isn't personal - it's usually a reflection of the manager feeling threatened or worried about demonstrating good results to those above him or her in the hierarchy. This is much easier said than done, however. Work to ignore the bullying behavior - by seeing it for what it is - but not the boss himself/herself.
  2. Isolate yourself from the workplace bully. Many people take this approach - 63% according to research by Christine Porath and Christine Pearson in their study on incivility in the workplace. This protects the individual from the wrath of the bullying boss, but has other consequences that in the end could cause the individual to lose his/her job. This approach reduces teamwork and collaboration, and ultimately leads to poorer job performance and lower productivity.
  3. Observe and implement strategies co-workers have used to deal with the workplace bully. It is the rare individual who is able to stand up to the abrasive manager and gain his or her respect to the point where the bullying no longer occurs. This means that the majority of people working for a bullying boss will have employed strategy one or two above - neither of which works very well. Observing others that have managed to either not get fired or to have proven able to somehow withstand the stress of the situation is a good idea - more likely than not, however, these long-term employees are suffering greatly and are unable to perform well. If the workplace bullying is a long-standing issue, the best remedy may be to leave the employer.
  4. Report the workplace bully to HR. The one obvious solution that has not been discussed as much is to report the issue to HR or other managers. This too is unlikely to lead to change, but at least draws some attention to the issue internally, and the more people speak up, the more likely real change will occur.

Want additional insight? Download Easy Ways to Improve Your Company Culture

DOWNLOAD

While the potential dangers of workplace bullying are very real and too complex to solve in a simple blog post, the tactics above represent common approaches to diffuse a negative situation. For a more nuanced look into the issue as well as in depth advice and answers to workplace bully FAQ, please watch Kalli’s free B.O.S.S. webinar - Workplace Bullying: How Much Is It Costing Your Company?

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board

Related posts

17 Essential Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs - Part 2
May. 10, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
In our last post, we began to review 17 Essential Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs. Here we will continue looking at additional great tips from the TAB community.  #8 Endurance in the face of...
Tips on Achieving the Elusive Work-Life Balance
Apr. 16, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Among CEOs and business leaders, the search for the best work-life balance has been going on for years. Only recently has the crucial importance of this balance become crystal-clear for everyone....
How to Build Employee Culture with a Remote Team
Apr. 6, 2021 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
Whether your staff have been working from home for the past year or rotating between home and the office, there is no doubt that for most of us there has been a change in our working environment....
Tips on Going Paperless in 2021
Mar. 11, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Businesses seeking to economize, as the world slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, should take a close look at going completely paperless in the workplace. Is this really a worthwhile goal?...
5 Tips to Help Remote Workers Feel Like Part of Your Team
Feb. 11, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, a leading trend among businesses was employing remote workers in a wide range of job responsibilities. The trend has, by now, attained something of a...
Employee Onboarding Tips that Help Boost Retention
Feb. 9, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
The effective onboarding of new employees is clearly a benefit to businesses, but some companies persist in “winging it” whenever a new hire joins the team. As we have noted before, businesses that...
3 Tips on Vetting Your Most Promising Job Candidates
Feb. 4, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
It would be nice to think that every applicant to a job opening at your business is always telling the truth in their resumes, during their interviews, and throughout the hiring process....
3 Tips for Rethinking Your Business Model
Feb. 2, 2021 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
One of the important lessons the COVID-19 pandemic has taught many business owners is that business agility is a key component to running a successful business. Business owners are challenged more...
8 Ways to Keep Your Team Accountable in a Virtual Environment
Jan. 29, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Remote work is the new normal. In fact, remote work was gaining ground even before the pandemic hit, and with the start of 2021, many IT companies have permanently taken this route. However, there...
How to Measure the Success of Your Team
Jan. 26, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Having an engaged and high-performing team should be a top priority for every small business. A talented individual is always a big asset, but when you put several such individuals, there’s no limit...