Six ways to beat the bullies and regain control at work

Anti-Bullying Week takes place on the 12-16th November and is designed to raise awareness of bullying with children, teachers and parents.

But with nearly a third (29 per cent) of people having been bullied in the workplace, it’s clear that bullying isn’t limited to the playground. We’ve collated some tips from the experts to help you battle the bullies at work and regain control, confidence and happiness in your career.

Say no without over explaining yourself

Sometimes it can be hard to say ‘no’ in the workplace, especially if you feel pressured by the person asking you to do something. It’s important to be able to say ‘no’ effectively and not let other team members manipulate you into doing their work. Karen Meager and John McLachlan highlight the importance of closing off your answer firmly yet politely. You need to be clear in what you’re saying whilst highlighting your value in the relationship. Such responses may include ‘I hope you can find a way of getting around this’ or ‘If you arrange this again, please do ask me as it is something I am interested in’.

Stop trying to please everyone

When someone first enters a new role, it can be difficult to say no to others as the natural response of wanting to please everyone takes hold. If this is the case, the new employee can quickly become the ‘dumping ground’ for extra work. However Margo Manning, a management and leadership coach, highlights “this amount of pressure will place immense amounts of stress on the employee and everyone around them and their own results will suffer as hours in the office increase whilst results decrease, leaving them in a vulnerable position.”

Gain clarity regarding your job role

In any role, it is vital to clearly define the competencies each member of staff needs in order to fulfil the job correctly. If employees are left to their own reigns, it’s very easy for the more dominating team members to become carried away and control those who are happy to sit back and take what comes their way. Olivier Herold, CEO at The Oxford Group highlights that “a lack of close alignment between competencies and business objectives is the major reason why so many organisations struggle to harness their leadership pipeline”.

Don’t play the ‘Status Game’

We’ve all been situations where colleagues, clients or associates play the ‘Status Game’ and try to make you feel inferior by elevating their status.  Presentation coach Simon de Cintra, advises to keep the conversation on a level playing field to avoid being undermined. “Being understood by others, is more important than being the expert in your own head. At the risk of being controversial, the ability to persuade others is over-rated in today’s world of work. Remember to concentrate on knowing what is useful for them to get from you and make it your job to be easy to listen to and finally be present with them as they react to what you are telling them,” he explains.

Keep a level-head

Everyone at one stage or another has experienced an overwhelming sense of having too much work to do. When this feeling becomes too much, we start to lose our sense of control over the situation and feel as though our safety is in the hands of others around us. Susanne Jacobs, author of Drivers (£14.99, Panoma Press) explains that this “lack of choice and control is deeply threatening and leaves us feeling downtrodden, exhausted and ineffective”. Remaining level-headed and rational is vital if you want to avoid feeling stressed, panicked and out of control. 

Know your self-worth

Sometimes, loving ourselves can be a real task. When this happens, we leave ourselves open to other peoples’ interpretations and influence. Whether it’s your boss, another team member or perhaps even a customer, start with understanding where you stand in the hierarchy and establish a sense of belonging to avoid others exploiting you. Julia Keller, an expert Love Coach explains that “you need to have a level of self-love and respect before you can even think about respecting those around you”.

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