Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tips for Dealing with a Bully at Work - Strength Challenge Interview #3

Created by Darlene B. Nemeth
This week I am running a series of posts resulting from my strength interview with Darlene B. Nemeth. About two years ago Darlene embarked on a journey to travel towards inner peace and happiness. Her quest reminded me of my own challenge to become a stronger person in my 50th year. Curious to learn more I emailed Darlene and requested an interview. Since Darlene works as a Human Resource Manager I wanted to be sure to cover how to deal with bullies at work. One of my most damaging conversations (and probably the impetus behind my strength challenge) occurred when a fellow manager told me I was the weakest manager my company had. Here is what Darlene had to say:

Do you have any tips for dealing with a bully at work?
In Ontario it is the law to have a “Workplace Violence and Harassment” policy and procedures. In that event you should follow protocol as outlined by the company you are working for.

That’s probably not the answer you were looking for. 

Let’s try it from a different perspective. Is this bully your superior? Coworker? Subordinate? Are you comfortable speaking to the bully in order to resolve the conflict? Or perhaps to your superior?

You need to talk to someone at work. If you can’t say it, write it.
You have the right to go to work and be treated with dignity and respect.

In addition to her website, check out Darlene's pins on Pinterest and items for resale at LittleShopTreasures on Etsy.

Do you have any additional tips for dealing with bullies in the workplace?

Tune in tomorrow to learn how Darlene maintains a high energy level at work.

Previous posts in this series:
Strength Challenge Interview #1 - an Introduction
What Makes You Feel Strong? Strength Challenge Interview #2

If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
Moving on after a personal attack by co-worker
Boss attacks employee's weight
Verbal Judo Communication


  1. I am glad you are talking about this important topic. It happens to so many people!

  2. I dealt with a bully a few times at my current job and this is how I handled the situations:

    1) find something that you like and respect about the person, even if it's as small as "nice shoes;" this helped me maintain a polite exterior when I had to dead with the person

    2) don't be a push over, if someone is going out of their way to be disrespectful, call them aside when you're calm and ask them what's going on, share examples of when they've been rude - in my experience, if the person denies it or gets defensive, then I apologize for the misunderstanding and move on and they don't bug me anymore, because the jig is up

    if the person is a superior, I bring in another manager.

    3) it's important to set the rules on how you will be treated and stick to them; it's also important not to dwell on the person - the more energy you give to the situation, the longer it'll persist - so whenever a person pops up, I think about that one thing about them I like (the shoes) and then change my focus to something else

    ~ Kimberly

  3. Jodi,
    It certainly does. Since I wrote my original personal attack post I receive several searches each week on the topic.

  4. Kimberly,
    I like the idea of finding something you like about a difficult person.

    This person is a tough one, but she did give me some tulip bulbs she didn't want anymore and the flowers are beautiful.

    I had a conversation with her today and she's so draining. She finds the weakness in people (my employees) and just won't let it go. What she says may be true - they are inflexible - but they have so many good qualities that make up for it and sometimes a little inflexibility is not a bad thing in accounting. I once had an A/P employee that was the exact opposite and that was a nightmare.

    I'm dwelling, so its time to think about spring and those tulips.

    Thanks for the suggestions.