Stopping The Cycle

If you don’t have a clear cut discriminatory case like Lee’s, though, your best bet may he to follow the same advice that parents preach to picked-on kids: Stand up for yourself. “The longer the behavior goes unchallenged, the harder it is to stop it,” says national workplace expert Lynn ‘Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant (107). In her view, bullying bosses are nothing more than overgrown, tantrum- throwing toddlers so to get the upper hand, you need to act like the mature adult.

Description: Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant

Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant

“Don’t get defensive, confrontational, or emotional,” says Taylor. Instead, calmly and specifically communicate how your work has been affected and that you’re open to collaboration. For example, instead of saying, “You’re making it impossible for me to do my job,” try, “I can’t manage the tasks you need me to do if I’m excluded from key discussions, and I’m concerned that this could have a negative impact on our business. What do you suggest?”

Stacie recently tried this tactic, and it seems to be helping. “I told my supervisor I wanted to clear the air and that I hoped we could work together more effectively,” she says. “It probably didn’t hurt that I fibbed a little and said I really admired her work.”

Another strategy is to launch a counterattack that focuses not on your unhappiness but on the bottom line, suggests Namie. “Show higher ups, rather than HR, how the predicament negatively affects profitability,” he says. “When you factor in the amount of money and time it takes to recruit, interview, and train new employees to replace those scared off by the bully in addition to the absenteeism and lost productivity it’s easy to make the case that it’s too expensive to keep a tormentor on the payroll,” says Namie. A new study, published in the journal Human Relations, confirms that the impact is substantial: Those who worked in an environment in which bullying occurred felt a strong urge to quit, even if they weren’t pushed around themselves. Regardless of your approach, get your résumé ready as soon as you recognize the problem. That was the course Dana took. After spending nearly a year exhausting every channel seeking help from HR, a counselor, and her colleagues she found employment elsewhere. “It isn’t easy to secure a new position these days,” she says. “But no job is worth jeopardizing your health or your sanity,”

Are You Being Targeted?

A bully doesn’t always show her hand right away. There’s often a honeymoon period during which the harasser is quite charming until she turns on you.” says Gary Namie of the WBI. Be wary of these signs that things are going south:

Description: Are You Being Targeted?

Are You Being Targeted?

Your boss ridicules or humiliates you in front of peers or colleagues (or in office wide correspondence).

You find yourself routinely excluded from important meetings or conversations.

Your boss reassigns your projects without apparent cause and without consulting you.

You used to socialize with your coworkers, but now they no longer ask you to join them.

You dread going to work and feel anxious or nauseated at the thought. You’re often tempted to call in sick.

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