Think mean girls are confined to high school? Think again. Recent studies show that between 35 and 50 percent of us have experienced bullying or other harassment in the workplace.
The costs are high, and not just to individual psyches: Consultant and therapist Maureen Duffy estimates that organizations in the U.S. spend over $250 million annually because of workplace bullying, including staff turnover, health care, and litigation.
But it doesn’t need to get to that point. Several tips for coping with the office bully. Here are three things you can do before you have to bring in a third party:
1. Don’t blame yourself.
Intellectually, it’s easy to understand that bullying of any kind isn’t your fault. Emotionally, on the other hand, well, even people who were popular kids in school often have some experience of being picked on by peers. It’s easy to revert to feeling responsible for others’ behavior.
2. Keep records.
Write down all the incidents, including dates, times, and places. If it gets to a point where you have to go to HR or turn outside your company for help, a precise log of events will help bolster your case.
3. Find support.
Surround yourself with people you can trust, both within and outside of the organization, and use them as a sounding board for future steps. (Also, a little venting never hurt anyone.)
Tell Us What You Think
We want to hear from you! Have you struggled with office bullies? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.
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