Skillsoft Blog

Beating a Bully at His Own Game

Beating a Bully at His Own Game

Bullying behaviors come in all forms and ages. It’s not just the guy who tries to beat you up in the playground anymore; it’s also the co-worker who sabotages your work or the mean girl down the hall looking for some way to reset your reputation.

Behaviors such as gossiping, back-stabbing, screaming and even passive-aggressive actions can be seen as subtle forms of bullying. If the intention is to demean, dishonor or discredit you in some fashion, then you may have an adult bully on your hands.

Here are 5 things for you to “get” so your bully can be gotten

  1. Get beyond defensiveness:  Because bullies can be attackers (verbally as well as physically), you may find yourself in the defensive position of proving how “right” you are. The problem is if they believe you, they will have to change their assessment about you, meaning they will have to admit they were wrong on some level and no bully wants to do that. Instead, go past the defensiveness by asking a question “So what if I am…. What difference would it make?” or “If it were true, so what?” By doing this you ride past the judgment and don’t spend the time defending you. You literally go past it, and put the onus back on them to defend themselves.
  2. Get to disengagement: Many people feel that because someone is engaging them they have to interact back. I have clients who have been involved with a number of inappropriate emails and my advice was to not respond (unless it was threating and needed to be redirected). They didn’t and the emails stopped. Reward the behavior you want to see repeated. No reward, no repeat.
  3. Get help: If the behavior seems threatening on any level, then report the behavior to an EEO person, security or even the police, so that it is on record. You may never need a follow up, but this may have happened with others and you want to stop it earlier rather than later.
  4. Get strong: I’m not talking about going to the gym, but internally finding the place inside of you to stand up to him/her. Bullies look for weakness. It reminds them of the weakness they feel inside themselves. Many of them may have been bullied in the past. The victim often becomes the victimizer. Magnify your own strength by finding and activating your center.
  5. Get out: No reason for you to stay in a conversation that doesn’t serve you. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or you can’t cope, leave the interaction. You can say, “I’m done,” or, “Let’s continue this another time,” or even, “I’m not going to participate in this,” setting your boundary and accessing your strength.

In any case, what you will find is that by implementing these behaviors, you will not only decrease your bully incidents, but they will look for someone else to bother, somewhere else to go, and some place else to get their needs met.

By Sandra Crowe

Author and speaker Sandra Crowe creates awareness of ineffective behaviors and provides methodologies and action steps to offset them while redirecting behavior toward more uplifting interactions between people.

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