Dealing With Workplace Bullies
While being a nurse is often an extremely rewarding career, there are many factors that can make it a stressful job. As if the normal, everyday stress of nursing isn’t bad enough, sometimes other nurses can act like bullies and make the job even more difficult. When another employee is bullying you, you should not just accept it. The issue will not likely resolve it itself, but luckily there are many positive courses of action that you can take to remedy the problem. The following are a few strategies for dealing with workplace bullies:
- Confront the bully – This is the most straightforward solution to problem, which can often be very effective. To confront a bully, make sure that you do not give the bully the impression that you are attacking him/her, but rather that you just want to calmly discuss the issue.
Begin by mentioning the upsetting things that the bully has said or done, and let him/her know how those actions make you feel. It’s likely that the bully may not even know that his/her actions are causing you to become upset or stressed. It may even be helpful if you have a suggestion for a way to handle the situation, as long as you do not come off as being condescending to the bully. If the bully becomes angered by this, do not let yourself become angry. This will lead to an argument instead of an understanding. In many cases, letting the bully know that their actions are upsetting you will be enough that they’ll make an attempt to change, but if not, there are still other options.
- Tell a supervisor – While bringing in a third party can add another level of complexity to the issue, it can also be an extremely effective way to put an end to the bullying. If the bully is unwilling to change his/her attitude, it is time to tell your supervisor what has been going on. The supervisor may take it upon himself/herself to talk to the bully about his/her behavior, or the supervision may have a mediation session with both of you together.
Talking about the problem with the bully’s supervisor present will often drive the point home that bullying is a serious matter and should not be going on in the workplace. Even if the bully does not feel that he/she has done anything wrong, the fear of punishment by the supervisor may be enough to make the bully stop making work difficult for you. If the bullying begins again after a while, it’s important to let your supervisor know so that the appropriate actions can be taken. In most cases, this will be enough to stop the bullying, but if not, you will need to learn the best ways to deal with a bully so that he/she is not affecting you negatively.
- Don’t let the bully win – While there are many types of bullying, typically bullies use it to try to put themselves in a position of power over the person that they are bullying. If the bully’s aim is to ridicule you or to make you feel upset, you should be careful not to let the bully know that he/she is upsetting you. By not responding or getting upset, the bully will likely get bored with bullying you if his/her “fun” comes from seeing your reaction. Also, it’s good to keep in mind that they’re not bullying you because there is something wrong with you; most bullies are cruel to others because they are insecure with themselves. Being conscious of the fact that there is nothing wrong with you can help you to not feel upset when a bully is trying to get a reaction out of you. Positive thinking can go a long way in many areas of life, and this is no exception.
If the bully is not ridiculing you, but solely acting in a way that is unfair or upsetting to you, it may benefit you to seek support from your co-workers. It is likely that some of them have experienced the bully’s negativity, and can offer you advice and support. If nothing else, most people feel better if they’re able to talk about their problems, and talking to your co-workers will help you to relieve some of the stress that you are feeling.
Dealing with bullies at work can be tough, but don’t give up! Utilizing the support system that you have at home and work will get you through it!