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Discover Fauquier June 2019
22
Are you comfortable confronting
someone who has offended you?
Did you know that it is acceptable
behavior to stand up for yourself
in an assertive fashion and calmly
express your concerns? This is
often what fails to happen when one
has experienced workplace bullying,
and if we are to address the problem,
this needs to change.
Although workplace bullying has
been defined differently by many
researchers, I define it as repeated
mistreatment of an employee,
including social exclusion, isolation,
not greeting, ignoring the victim's
presence, humiliation, demeaning,
belittling, excessive deadlines and
work monitoring, few or no tasks,
threats, insults, and criticisms,
all which may lead to high levels
of stress and other health-
endangering factors. This definition
does not include physical abuse,
which includes behaviors that
have escalated beyond workplace
bullying and into workplace violence.
"There is overwhelming evidence
that the higher the level of self-
esteem, the more likely one will
be to treat others with respect,
kindness, and generosity," says
Nathaniel Brenden. In other words,
bullies are weak individuals with low
self-esteem. It's really that simple.
They try to drain the confidence
of others to make them feel better
about themselves and as long as
the target allows it, it works! Silence
is acceptance. A lack of a response
to workplace bullying creates the
perception that the target will allow
the bully to continue to attack them.
The target must take a stand and
stop the bullying behaviors early in
the process. Otherwise, the bully will
continue to exude bullying behaviors
and increase the level of severity.
The best way for a target to
stand up to the bully is to be
assertive. Assertiveness is the
fine line between passiveness and
aggressiveness. To be clear, I am
not saying that you allow anyone to
walk all over you, nor am I saying
that you should get in anyone's face
and yell. Assertiveness displays
confidence and forcefulness without
stepping out of one's calm and
respectful character.
For example, if you perceive that
someone has been bullying you by
excluding you, not sharing important
work information with you, and/or
seemingly keeping others away from
you, this may be the time to have an
assertive conversation. I recommend
that these conversations be made in
private. This will make the bully less
defensive and less likely to want to
"show off" in front of an audience.
You should keep a fair amount of
space from each other--two to three
feet or with a desk between you.
You should calmly and confidently
share with the bully what and when
you have been experiencing from
them and how they made you
feel. You might say, "Over the past
month, I have noticed that you do
not speak to me in the mornings
and you have excluded me from the
last three team meetings, where I
know the project that I am working
on had been discussed. I often see
you whispering to my colleagues
and looking at me as I walk by, and
ultimately these behaviors impact
my work. We do not have to be
friends, but we do have to work
together to meet the goals of this
company. I would like to ask you
why these things are happening and
what you feel we need to do to work
together most effectively?"
You may get different reactions from
the bully based on this statement
and questions. I will later share
what types of responses you might
receive and which actions you might
need to take to further address the
issue. For now, know that the bully
realizes you
are serious
and mean
b u s i n e s s .
This is key.
Workplace Bullying:
Exerting Assertiveness
& Addressing the
Issues
By Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks, Ph.D.
President, SBR Workplace
Consultation Services
813-817-6182
dr.ricks@yahoo.com
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