Jun 4, 2016
5 kinds of bullies you will meet in the workplace
Tired of being shoved in the hallway or having your lunch stolen? The best part about finding a job is that you get to say goodbye to all those bullies, right? Wrong. You just graduated to a whole new level, and it's a different ball-game.
It's no surprise that bullies exist in the workplace. However, their tactics differ from the conventional bullies. Sometimes it seems like they get some twisted pleasure by making things harder for you. And more often than not you'll have to be on your toes to stay ahead of their sadistic minds. This is your definitive guide to the five kinds of workplace bullies you will meet.
The credit stealers
These types strive to make sure they get credited for your hard work. They can be your seniors, supervisors, or even your co-workers. This is one of the most common practices that go on in offices, so don't be surprised if one day you walk in and find someone else getting a pat on the back for something you did. Don't be shy to burst their bubble because they're using an unfair means to get into the boss's good books.
The tough guys
There are people who can't help but stress how tough they are by picking on minorities and subordinates. They won't spare a chance to make derogatory or racist remarks. Perhaps it gives them a false sense of power. Nishan Babai (not his real name) said that his team members often offer him beef although they know it's against his religious values. Diversity is a priority for most companies so speak to your boss or HR manager if someone is intolerant towards you.
Personal space violators
You guessed it! These are the overly-attached people in your office. They don't mind giving you a hard pat on the back or poking your belly button. Their affection is also accentuated by hard and long handshakes. They will take the freedom to invite themselves over to your desk every few minutes to check if you're doing okay. However on a serious note, there are people who might touch your inappropriately. Telling them that you value privacy and personal space is a good start. But try doing it in a polite manner.
The hot air balloons
You're sure to come across people who will be full of themselves. They'll cut you off on a regular basis and take off from where they cut you off (even if you never gave them a cue). You'll even get free life lessons, pep talks, feedback, criticism (which you didn't sign up for). In most cases these people aren't even your boss or supervisors but rather your co-workers. Another variation of this species is the person who completely disregards your opinions. Rapunzel (not her real name) was working with an employee from another department. She felt miserable when her partner completely disregarded her views. Employee participation is valuable to any business so remind such people they're violating conduct.
The slave driver
Just like school there will be people who don't bother doing their own work. So how do they get away with it? YOU volunteer obviously. Sometimes you don't have a choice. From small errands like fetching coffee to finishing up big assignments, you're their go to man for anything they don't want to do on their own. You're likely to be the senior's minion especially when you're a new recruit. But it's also a nice way to get into their good books. However, you should set your limits so that doing favors doesn't turn into them taking it for granted. You don't want people to think you'll do whatever they ask you to, especially when it's completely unreasonable.
Bullying happens in offices in many more shapes and forms. The recommendations given may work in mild or short-term situations, but more extreme cases require well thought out strategies. On the bright side, companies are working harder than ever to combat workplace bullies so that all employees can bring their A game to the table.
The writer is a freshman at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka
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