Tips for Addressing Bullies in the Workplace
Emory is not unlike most workplaces in America where uncivil behavior has an impact on the people within the organization. Uncivil behavior, or incivility, in the workplace may not be as straightforward as beating someone up for their lunch money; it often takes on more subtle forms such as rolling your eyes, turning away, finger pointing, teasing, or simply, not being available to help. Repeated disrespectful behavior aimed at a person over and over can be bullying.
Although most of us know how we should and should not treat each other, we all occasionally violate these expectations However, we typically learn from our mistakes and apologize, which helps us work together as a team and preserve our positive relationships.
Bullying happens when people in the workplace continue to be uncivil to each other or pick on a person in their work environment. To ensure a healthy environment where we treat each other with dignity and respect, we should recognize when we ourselves are uncivil. We should also bring this to the attention of others when they act this way, too.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Ask the person to speak with you when convenient and find a location that is private if possible.
- Invite a third neutral party if needed, and you will find you can resolve the situation much of the time.
- Start out in a kind and caring way and assume that they might be unaware their behavior is unacceptable.
- Let them know if your feelings were hurt and that you would appreciate them not treating you in this way again.
- If you try to deal with this directly and it doesn’t get better, you may need to discuss the issue with your leader or someone from Human Resources’ Employee Relations team.
- There may be times when you need to let your leader know it’s not okay to be treated disrespectfully. While this might be difficult, it can be approached in the same kind and caring way.
If you need help with addressing incivility in your work environment, refer to the resources below:
- “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillian, & Al Switzler
- Faculty Staff Assistance Program
- Spiritual Health
- The Emory Healthcare Pledge (Healthcare)
- HealthStream Learning Center Courses (Healthcare)
- Learning & Organizational Development Courses (University)