Outsmarting Bullies: So You Can Call “Game Over”

Workplace bullying, more than forty million U.S. employees face it. Over thirty million workers witness it.

Just another day at work, but a day when you go home feeling like you’ve been trampled.

What do you do about?

That’s what led me to write Beating the Workplace Bully called by IConnect007 a “great book with some really terrible stories” and a “must-read for anyone working in the real world,” ow.ly/zNT1303hLpE .

Bullying, defined as psychology violence in the form of verbal bullying (ridiculing, insulting, name-calling or slandering); physical bullying (pushing, shoving, kicking or tripping), or situational bullying (sabotage or deliberate humiliation), impacts all of us.

The good news, those of us targeted by or witnessing bullying can stop bullies in their tracks.

If you’re a target, this starts by realizing how you came to be bullied.  Was it simple bad luck; did you have something the bully wanted, for example, did they want you out of the way so they could have your job; did you ignore warning signs; did you signal you were an easy target or did the bully under-estimate you?

If your organization won’t help you, what can you do? Bullying is a two-way interaction. Never let a bully gain an outpost in your mind. Bullies excel at playing the blame/shame game.

Instead, assess what’s going on; whether you’ll allow the bully to continue treating you poorly, and if not, how you’ll handle it.

In Beating the Workplace Bullyhttps://amzn.to/3CTic6f, I teach those targeted by bullying how to ground or center themselves so that bullies can’t foot-sweep them into reacting; how to confront mental manipulation, and best of all, how to turn the tables on bullies.  Bullies aggress, but they operate according to a risk/benefit ratio. Up the consequences against the bully, and you witness a failed bullying attempt, with them in rapid retreat.

My favorite strategy – you toss a question at the bully when they slam you with a verbal insult in front of others. Here’s how it works. The bully says, “Didn’t you get any sleep? You really look like a dog today.” And you ask, “What breed?” surprising the bully and leading the others to laugh with and not at you.

Or, you can go for a knockout punch. The bully points to a project you’ve labored on and says, “This is a pile of crap.” You respond, “Pardon me?” and the bully asks, “What, you have a problem with your hearing?” And you calmly say, “No.”   

Game over.

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One thought on “Outsmarting Bullies: So You Can Call “Game Over”

  1. Lynne–it’s astounding how we need to continue to be reminded about bullying and how to stand up against it. A number of my “Linkies” on LinkedIn are anti-bullying people and a few of them, like you put up posts on LI. Standing up to them, thinking about your better reactions [maybe keeping a list handy!], and thinking about what may have triggered the bullying all seem to be the best strategies. May we all get better at using these!

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