Dealing With Bullying

Identify and Deal With Bullying at Work

Learn how to identify and deal with bullies at work.

© iStockphoto/kzenon

When we think about bullies, we often think about kids who make life miserable for their classmates. They might steal lunch money, copy homework or even threaten physical harm. Sometimes, they seem to engage in malicious behavior just for the fun of it.

Unfortunately, some of these people continue this sort of behavior when they grow up. Bullying is alarmingly common in some workplaces, whether it involves shouting at people in meetings, making snide comments behind people's backs, or sabotaging others' work.

In this article, we'll look at what workplace bullying is, how you can recognize it, and how you can protect yourself from it.

What is Bullying?

The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as "repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators, that takes one or more of the following forms:

  • Verbal abuse.
  • Offensive conduct or behaviors (including nonverbal), which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating.
  • Work interference – sabotage – which prevents work from getting done."

Most Western cultures use the term "workplace bullying" to define repeated and enduring intimidation at work. French-speaking countries refer to "harcèlement moral," or "moral harassment." And, in Germany and Scandinavia, workplace bullying is known as "mobbing."

Bullying behaviors can take many forms. Some of these are obvious, but you may struggle to identify others, even when you are the target.

Bullies may do the following:

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