How to spot a workplace bully

Identifying bully tactics

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 11:59 am

WASHINGTON – Bullying isn’t limited to playgrounds or school buses – it can happen at work.

Molly Cain writes for Forbes.com that every workplace has a bully and if it isn’t apparent who it is, the answer may be facing you in the mirror.

“I hate to break it to you, but if you don’t think there are bullies at your workplace, you’re probably it,” Cain says in her advice column.

Bullying is a lifestyle for some, Cain says, and they are easy to spot. For others, however, bouts of bullying come and go — but the effect remains.

So, who’s the bully and, worse yet, is it you? Cain offers seven bully tactics to help pinpoint the offender.

  • Torment: Every time you make a conscious decision to bother a colleague, it’s bullying. Whether you disregarded email, don’t invite someone to lunch or completely ignore them — it’s all a form of bullying. However Cain says annoying a coworker isn’t a form of bullying. It’s the intentional choice to bother a coworker.
  • Tattletale: Employees who tattle look just as silly as those who committed the offense. She recommends approaching the person directly.
  • Finger-pointing: Take ownership of your mistakes.
  • Public picking-on: Don’t take cheap shots at coworkers and know the staffers who can take a joke and those who can’t. Acknowledging that you’re “just teasing” doesn’t make it OK.
  • CCing the world: Just because something in an email doesn’t sit right with you, doesn’t mean it’s something the boss needs to be aware of. Cain says, “If you’re doing it to be sassy, then it’s not warranted.”

Bottom line, Cain says, it’s time to take bullying seriously.

“You play a big part in the professional lives of your peers, treat that responsibility carefully,” Cain says in her column.

WTOP’s David Burd contributed to this report. Follow David and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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