No Workplace Bullies

Civility Partners, LLC
4876 Santa Monica Ave., Ste. 122
San Diego, CA 92107

ph: 619-454-4489



Why is a bully picking on you?

Bullying occurs for many reasons, and like a pot of stew, when all the right ingredients are mixed in together, someone begins to stir. This means that when the organizational context, the bully's personality, the victim's personality, and the managerial approval is all there, and the stars are aligned properly, bullies take on their form.

If you feel like a bully is targeting you, you may demonstrate some or all of the following:

  • You may be feeling low self-esteem
  • You may have never learned how to defend yourself or stand up to others
  • You may be shy, and therefore find it difficult to speak up for yourself and your right to be treated kindly
  • You may have been a victim of bullies growing up, which seems to open the door for victimization as an adult
  • You may be a minority at your place of work, whether because of your age, gender, race, religion, sexual preference, etc

Keep in mind that none of this is your fault, but you do have the power to change it.


Lasso the bully.

Killin' em with confidence means adjusting your attitude. You can't change the bully, but you can change your attitude, and prevent him or her from getting to you in the future.

The tactics on this page will not change the situation over night. You must use the information here everyday, and with passion and determination.

Your thoughts, faith in yourself, desire and DECISION not to be a victim, persistence in positive thinking and communication abilities will change your life.


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Reporting bullies to HR & management:

Feeling bullied (or even sexually harassed) is in the eyes of the beholder.

While I recommend using the tactics on this page to deal with your bully, sometimes the only thing left to do is report him or her to management. And there are a few typical protocol steps to take.

1. Tell the bully FIRMLY that his or her behavior is unacceptable, and ask him or her to stop.

2. Keep a FACTUAL journal of the behaviors being exhibited towards you, and those you observe directed at others. It's important for this journal to remain factual -start a separate diary if you find yourself venting as you write down facts. Keep copies of any memos, emails, etc., that you receive from the bully, and submit both the factual journal and other documents you collect to management. Document, document, document.

3. File a FORMAL grievance with management. Understand that workplace bullying is only an emerging concept in the world of Human Resources, so you will need to be clear and concise in your complaint. Provide clear examples and provide tangible evidence if you can produce it. Review How to Bust the Office Bully: Eight Tactics for Explaining Workplace Abuse to Decision Makers, by The Project for Wellness and Work-life, before making your appointment. 

3. DO NOT RETALIATE. This will only make it worse, and make your argument with management more difficult.

4. Find someone to vent to, whether another co-worker, friend, family member or diary. This will help you maintain your sanity.

You are not a helpless victim, you are not an inactive passerby in your own life, and you have the power to change your situation. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."



Change the way you look at it.

Every morning before work, follow Former Congressman Ed Foreman's advice and say to yourself, out loud and in the mirror, "I am happy, I am healthy, I am terrific!" Heck, close your office door a few times during the workday and say it out loud in the office.

Gregory Scott Reid challenges us to write "I am a confident, successful person" on a Post-it note and stick it somewhere you will see it every morning. Before you know it, you will have the confidence to tell the bully to stick it (pun intended), and as a bonus, you'll be feeling more confident in yourself than ever before. These sorts of activities will provide you with the faith to overcome.

Click here to read an article by Dr. Daniel Scott, Author of Verbal Self Defense in the Workplace. He talks about future pacing, or thinking about your ability to overcome in the future.

Have faith. 

In his book, Think and Grow RichNapoleon Hill writes about the visualization and belief in attainment of whatever you desire - and his ideas are not limited to becoming rich. Faith develops through repetitive affirmation of whatever it is you have faith in. If you are religious, for example, you attend church each Sunday in order to hear more information about the religion, and essentially confirm your faith through the repetition of religious messages.

Thoughts mixed with feeling turn to faith, and conducting yourself in a manner that confirms your faith will translate into tangible, physical results. In other words,  these thoughts turn to faith as you act as if you are no longer feeling victimized, even though you might be deep inside. Acting like you are not a victim will begin to confirm your faith in yourself, and your ability to overcome... and you no doubt will once you've made the decision to do so.


Make the decision.

The most successful people in life make decisions quickly and decisively, and act on them immediately. Now, this takes a lot of courage.

But think through history at some of the more infamous decisions made, and how much courage those decisions required to follow through by their makers. Lincoln had the courage to follow through on his decision to free African Americans by reading the Emancipation Proclamation, and Neil Armstrong had to have courage to follow through on his decision to step out of the space shuttle and on to the moon.

So once you have decided not to be victimized anymore, you must have the courage to stick with it. Keep this courage through persistence in your positive thinking.


Persistence in positive thinking.

Wil Cason writes in his book, Visualizing Your Victory, that to overcome any challenge one must understand that tough circumstances are a part of the strengthening process. He writes, "With persistence, I navigate myself to the path, people, place, and performance that will lead me closer to my vision. I have the tenacity to reach victory."

You are making an investment in yourself, and you must maintain the momentum and monitor the change. As you do this, and the bully's behavior towards you changes, and you feel less and less beat up every day, you will be excited at the progress you have made. This, in turn, will keep the wheels in motion to get closer and closer to your victory of overcoming victimization.


Communicate confidence.

With your confidence and courage, the ability to effectively communicate naturally follows, and so does your ability to “fend” the bully off. Effective communicators are articulate, communicate vision, share opinions confidently, adjust communication style to the audience, openly address conflict, deliver high quality work constantly, take accountability, and champion the success of others. Simply put, confident speakers are well liked because they are no-holds-barred kind of people: They take risks and they do it with grace, passion and fervor, and this comes across in their communication style. The power you will exude then, becomes a shield against people who may initially attempt to target you with their childish behaviors.

For example, Granville Toogood, leadership coach and author of The Articulate Executive in Action, encourages the use of words such as “cut” instead of “reduce”, and “strike” instead of “delete” because they’re short, sharp, and unambiguous. Think about the boldness you project when standing with your arms on your hips or down at the side, rather than folded across your chest. These slick moves come with courage and belief in yourself.


Copyright Catherine Mattice. All rights reserved.

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Civility Partners, LLC
4876 Santa Monica Ave., Ste. 122
San Diego, CA 92107

ph: 619-454-4489