Five top tips if you are being bullied at work

Read our top five tips to help you deal with the bully, the organisation and the bullying at work whilst maintaining your integrity and self-worth. 

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Put your health before anything else

However confident you feel as a person, no one is immune from mental and emotional health issues. Unexpressed anger and fear may lead to anxiety and depression in many people. Try to take the best action for you before it escalates.

Be aware of and monitor your stress levels. Try not to allow your stress to get overwhelming. Be mindful that it is difficult to recognise the extent of the problem yourself. Ask family, friends and doctor to help where appropriate.

Avoid having one-to-one meetings with the person who is bullying you, as this could be tough on your emotional health.

Think and operate strategically and logistically

Remember there are things in life you can control, things you can influence and things you cannot. The only thing you can control is you and your actions.

Attempting to persuade your employer to act responsibly might be an uphill battle. Try not to get too overwhelmed if they are not being helpful or taking the matter seriously. Focus your attention on what you can do and are doing.

There is a risk that any errors in work you make due to being bullied or sickness absence, could be used to discredit you. Most of what a bully throws at you is often designed to provoke a response that can be used against you. Be aware of this so you understand the psychology behind the actions of others.

Documenting evidence

Maintain contemporaneous notes of what you said and did, and what others said and did with dates, times and witnesses. This is important no matter how big or small. Keep memos, emails and other documents that are evidential of bullying. If you can, have a trusted companion or someone impartial with you as a witness in any meeting to discuss bullying.

Keep calm and use your support network

Always act calm and reasonably, in doing so, a contrast will emerge between your behaviour and the bully’s conduct. Always maintain your dignity and be polite, even in the face of rudeness.

Remember that there is more to you than your job. Seek solace in your friends and family as they will give you the boost you need.

Seek but do not depend on support from other managers or trade union. You can also seek independent support from neutral third parties.

Finally …

Equip yourself with your employer's policies and procedures, and make sure that YOU follow them, and encourage others to do the same.

Remember that everything you write, say and do might one day be discussed in a court or tribunal, so make sure your actions are beyond reproach and justifiable. Don't do or say anything that you would not wish to repeat in public. 

This content was developed by The Tim Field Foundation, based on the work of the late Dr Tim Field.

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