How to Stop Blaming Yourself for Being Bullied

Many people with experience of being bullied at work blame themselves. They feel shame at being targeted. They think that in some way they must be responsible for the bully’s use of aggressive, coercive behaviour towards them. Some of them try and help the bully see the error of their ways; others try hard to change the bully’s behaviour towards them.

Assuming responsibility for the bully’s decision to target you means that you burden yourself with a load you cannot be responsible for – the actions of the bully – while you are also struggling to handle the trauma of being targeted. The mental slide into self-blame and trying to change the bully can greatly add to your suffering and confusion.

So, with great compassion, hear this. You are not to blame for the actions of the bully. They and they alone chose to target you, to use aggression towards you in your workplace, and to square this approach with their conscience. These issues sit with them. Your responsibility is to learn to protect yourself at the time of an attack.  Click here to keep reading and find out how.

Managing Your Profile Outside Your Department

You are good at what you do. You are techincally able. You’ve decvloped high quality relationships with many of the people in your team or department, people you work alongside day-in day-out. Consequently those colleagues who know you well recognise the value of what you do and how you do it. These co-workers regard you as being someone who applies yourself, understands your subject, has the skills you need to do a top job, has something to say, and is both competent and confident. They know your strengths and your areas for development. They have first hand, regular evidence of the value of the work you do. Within your department or your team you have influence and may even be regarded as an opinion-former on some topics.

But outside of your team or department it’s another story. You are not that well known and find it more difficult to get heard.  In fact, you may be seen as someone who doesn’t make much of an impact, hasn’t got a profile of any renown, and isn’t influential.  The challenge before you is to find a way to let those people who don’t see you at work day to day, understand the value of what you contribute, the outcomes you create, and the understated way in which you simply get on with it.

So, what can you do? Actually, quite a lot.  Click here to keep reading and find out how


Five Reasons Some People Bully Their Colleagues – and How to Fight Back

Bullying in the workplace is a sad fact of life.  I am contacted every week by people who are being, or have been, successfully targeted by colleagues and workplace contacts – and who want to know what to do to protect themselves.  I take the view that every employer needs to commit to creating and maintaining a zero-tolerance culture towards bullying; that every HR department investigating alleged instances of bullying needs to acquire insight and knowledge into the complex dynamics at play in workplace bullying, so they can arrive at a just conclusion; and that every person at work needs to know how to protect themselves at the time of an attack.

One starting point is to recognise why bullies bully.  You can read five key reasons why one person might start to bully another here – as well what you can do to fight back.

Handling an Adversarial Peer

You have a troublesome peer and their behaviour is causing you a headache.  This colleague of yours is talented. They have some leadership skills when they put their mind to it.  They possess some drive and, when they are engaged, some determination too.  They could use their natural strengths and their resolve to become an able and valued colleague, someone who consistently contributes to the evolving agenda of the organisation you both work for, someone who shoulders responsibility and gets things done. And sometimes they do behave like that.  But, the problem is that, in the main, they don’t.

Your peer is high maintenance.  They waste time in meetings taking the discussion along paths that are simply not productive. They say one thing, but then do another.  They seem to operate out of an agenda all of their own.  Sometimes they voluntarily offer to input to projects.  But, when it comes down to it, they don’t do the work and, if they do, their input is about their own political agenda not the best interests of your joint employer.  And when they are called on their failure to deliver they become nonchalant and flip, appearing unconcerned that they have let you and others down.

You have previously confronted your team member abotu their unhelpful behaviour and each time you did so you hit a brick wall.    So, what can you do? Actually, quite a lot.  Click here to keep reading and find out how.


Influencing an Irresponsible Colleague

Irresponsible colleagues become skilled at appearing to be busy.  Many organisations have them: people who are able at managing the impression they create to those who work above them, but don’t actually shoulder much of the work in their teams.  These colleagues prefer to let deadlines slip, arrive late at some meetings or miss others altogether.  They always have a ready excuse or ‘reason’ for why they failed to do their share of the work.  They place strain on their more industrious team colleagues, safe in the knowledge that one of them is likely to bail them out.  A pattern is quickly established whereby the irresponsible colleague doesn’t do all or some of their work on time or to standard, and one of their colleagues steps in and does it for them.

Irresponsible colleagues can be energy-sapping and draining to deal with. Not only can you end up doing their work as well as your own, but they appear immune to feedback. When challenged about why they have failed to meet a deadline or skipped a meeting, they can be quick to create a half-hearted promise to change their ways, but subsequently carry on as if that challenge had not occured.

However, a well crafted, skillful confrontation can influence an irresponsible colleague towards approaching their work in a more committed way.  Click here to keep reading and find out how.