Dealing with Workplace Nastiness
2/7/2013 11:34:00 AM
Sometimes work can be like high school: cliques, gossip, backstabbing, tattle tails, shoe lickers...
Aren't we grown ups?
That may be but workplace bullying happens. Sometimes it occurs by excluding someone - casting them off and ostracizing someone not in the "crew". In other ways, it's more overt - rude behavior, sabotage, and even trying to get them fired. I have had folks try me - notice I said "try". But through prayer and careful confrontation, my situations got resolved. In once case, I thought I was going to file a civil suit against someone - or call a crazy relative (joking - kind of)! But as a woman of faith, I am glad I didn't get in my flesh and knock someone out. In fact, about two times God moved them right on out the building! But not everyone knows how to handle bullies on the job.
According to a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review, Half of workers say they are treated rudely at their job at least once a week. While some of us thick-skinned folk may be like, "Whatever!" They found that being the victim of office rudeness led to decreased effort, quality of work, and time spent on the job. And even more shocking: 12% of people said that they left their jobs because of it. “People don’t tend to report it, mainly out of a sense of hopelessness or fear of potential repercussions,” says study co-author Christine Porath, Ph.D., associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
But your work won’t be the only thing to suffer. Your mental health can be impacted ad well as your physical health. That's serious. But instead of ending this in an office brawl or just walking out, in the article, "The Nasty New Workplace Epidemic"by Casey Gueren of Women's Health Magazine, peep her tips to shut it down - and shut them up:
The Situation: Your judgey cubemate says “Oh, leaving early again today?” and it’s long past time to leave.
The Fix: Respond in a way that ends the conversation and shows her that you’re totally unfazed. “They want a reaction, but you don’t want to give it to them,” says Marie McIntyre, Ph.D., author of Secrets to Winning at Office Politics. Keep your response polite and abrupt—like, “Yes, I’m all finished up here. Good night!” It ends the discussion and shows that you’re not letting her concerns affect you.
The Situation: Your colleague suddenly acts like you don’t exist.
The Fix: Ask twice if they’re upset with you, then move on. “It’s a passive-aggressive response. They want to let you know they’re mad, but they’re not comfortable talking about it,” says McIntyre. Her solution: Give them two chances to tell you what’s up, then pretend to believe that they’re “fine.” You can even say without a hint of sarcasm, “Great, I’m so happy to hear that!” Then go back to acting exactly how you normally would. Like a kid throwing a tantrum, they’ll eventually quit when they don’t get what they want.
The Situation: A coworker is badmouthing you behind your back.
The Fix: Confront her, but don’t start an interrogation. It’s tempting to immediately storm into someone’s office demanding an apology, but you run the risk of causing even more drama. Instead, wait until you catch them alone and tell them what you heard, without being accusatory. “Don’t make assumptions, state the facts, and use ‘I’ statements, like ‘I heard you may have said that…,’” says McIntyre. Even if they deny it, you’re letting them know that the gossip is getting back to you and that you’re not having it.
The Situation: Your coworker thinks office life is The Hunger Games, and she’ll do anything to get an edge.
The Fix: Create some distance between the two of you. If someone has set her sights on your job, you don’t want to give her an advantage. That might mean not telling her about a new project you’re working on or not swapping stories at happy hour. “If someone has an agenda, you can still be a pleasant colleague while not letting them gain an advantage over you,” says McIntyre.
The Situation: Your boss is trying her best to make your life miserable, and quitting isn’t an option.
The Fix: Focus on your work, but pull back in other areas. “Hold off on attending optional social functions and limit your work to normal office hours,” says Porath. And most importantly, don’t let the rudeness follow you home. “Leave your laptop at the office and don’t be plugged in 24/7,” says Porath. You’ll reduce stress from a toxic boss and show them that you’re there for one reason: To work your butt off. If that doesn’t impress them, at least you’ve bulked up your resume.
Make sure you have a strong support system outside of work. That helps you have clarity about your work life - good or bad. And while it's okay to have some work-buddies, don't let your co-workers become the totality of your social circle. That will eliminate the need to lean on them in case your work environment changes. Look, you are not your job nor does it define who you are. However, since you spend so much time there, you deserve peace. Do what you can to achieve it - even if it means conquering what you may not want to confront.