Bullying is rife in the workplace but it is often ignored, not voiced or resolved in a professional way. But why is this, when ‘being bullied’ is one of the most painful things to experience and handle? Are you a victim of snide, critical or hurtful remarks, exclusion or are you battling with a negative perception of you? Has it become easier to duck, ignore or put up with the situation because you don’t want to experience more conflict, abuse and pain? It has to stop. Do you have the guts to put a stop to this once and for all? Let’s introduce you to some ways to turn people into fans of yours.
If it helps, let’s look first at the underlying themes behind bullying at work.
The bully is insecure. A bully is basically an insecure person who attacks other people in order to make him/herself feel better. The bully’s happiness and power is built upon making other people miserable and lower than them. This process helps to cover up the fact that the bully is an insecure and unhappy person. Think of it this way, even if the bully is wrong he/she is ‘right’ in his/her view because he/she is coming from his/her position of personal growth which is limited, insecure and vulnerable. The bully, in this moment, without confronting his/her issues and receiving help, advice and counselling can’t do anything different. (The bully is actually a long way away from where you are.) But you are the one who has to change in order to protect your happiness.
The workplace can unbalance you. The very fact that you need to earn a regular and consistent income in order to live, look after yourself and survive can have a negative effect on your sense of power and self-esteem. It can mean that your ‘need’ to survive can become your primary concern and focus. You may forget that importance of ‘protecting’ and building your self-esteem on a daily basis. So without actually consciously realising it, you may have chosen ‘survival’ over feeling good and not taken positive action when someone put you down or walked all over you. (You need to find ways to protect and work on building your self-esteem.)
No one confronts the bully. The bully often says shocking things. A verbal blow from a bully can feel as if you have been punched in the stomach. When you have recovered from the initial shock you can then be faced with sniggers, laughs or comments from the bully’s entourage. This can leave the victim of the bully’s abuse feeling even more isolated. The bully enjoys seeing another person’s unhappiness. (It is time to confront the bully in a way that makes you come to the forefront in a positive way. You need to document your achievements, build yourself up, change the way you are being perceived within your organisation and strengthen your professional relationships. Come on, we’ve got some work to do to turn people into your fans. It is going to be FUN.)
Deal with your anger. Bullies can leave their victims feeling angry, sorry for themselves, or hurt and depressed. You need to deal with these emotions in a sporty way. This will helps you to release negative emotions, relax and recharge your batteries. What sport are you currently enjoying? Are you bashing a few balls on the tennis court? Do you play football, badminton or squash? Can you crank up your performance in the afternoon by taking a brisk walk around the block during your lunch hour?
Protect yourself. Stay quiet about all the changes you are making. You don’t need to talk about them at work. You don’t need anyone else’s approval or support. Spend time every day doing things you enjoy. Go home on time and spend time with your partner, with your friends or learning a new skill.
Document what you are good at. Don’t wait for someone to see all that you can offer, you have to recognise what is great about you. What are you good at? What is special about you? Start to take pride once again in your talents. Write down everything on a chart and stick it up in your home. Stop hiding and notice what you have to offer. See it, live it and be it.
Invest in yourself. Invest in building your self-esteem and skills. Enrol on an assertiveness course and buy and listen to an audio book. Invest time in learning more about your company, its products and its people. Book an appointment with someone in your organisation once a week. Tell this person that you want to discover more about what they do. People love to talk about themselves and what they do. These types of conversations will help you to build strong relationships within your organisation. Invest in your personal appearance too. Are you up for a Brad Pitt hair cut or a Scarlet Johansson’s outfit? The bottom line is invest in yourself and enjoy what happens.
Decide what you want to be known for. Where do you want to have the greatest impact? Do you want to make a difference on company policy? Do you want care about systems or people? Are you visionary or creative? What do your instincts tell you? Refocus your energy in the areas you have highlighted.
Begin to work on yourself and stand out for the right reasons. Be the person who contributes to the bigger picture of your organisation. Allow people to see your strengths, skills and energy. The workplace is a jungle of mixed emotions but you don’t have to be a victim. YOU CAN BE A STAR.
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BY: Sarah Berry
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