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Say no to verbal bullying at work

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Ouch! That hurt.

Jessica’s boss, who fancied himself a step-above, gave her a scorcher of a comment after she, a young professional at the time, handed him a writing project she had worked on over the weekend. The project was particularly well-done. ‘YOU did that?’ he said snidely.

If it wasn't for the tone of his voice she wouldn't have minded what he called ‘jostling her.’ His tone reeked with mockery.

Jessica hung her head – only to pull it up instantly. She knew the writing was good – really good – and she was going to stand her ground.

Fortunately, Jessica’s boss, Rod, understood when she told him how his remark made her feel. Although she didn't care for the experience of being ‘put down’ she walked away knowing she had communicated with her boss.

Afterwards, Rod and Jessica developed a sense of ‘we.’ They developed a collegial relationship – one of the best either had at work. Apparently, clearing the air between them from the 'get-go' made them, well, better.

5 tips for managing verbal bullying at work:

1. Speak up the first time a snide remark floats your way;

2. Assume positive intent can be had in the future. Start over with your boss or colleagues for ‘good.’ Let the ‘bad’ start go.

3. Listen and observe with discernment – not re-activity – in the future.

4. Write any and every incident down. Describe who said what. Where it took place. Date it. Time it.

5. If you hear and see a pattern of verbal bullying from your boss or colleagues and they won’t stop – go above your boss or outside your department for assistance. Most organizations have non-harassment or anti-bully policies and a Senior Executive or Human Resources/Employee Relations professional may need to be involved if there is a continual problem.

Don’t we know it when we hear it? Yes, we do. Join us. Say no to verbal bullying at work.



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