Five Ways to Confront Bullies


Gary and Ruth Namie in, The Bully at Work, say that 95% of the workforce has seen bullying at work at least once.

Bullying in the office includes, intimidation, withholding information or resources critical to getting jobs done, insulting rumors, intentional sabotage, and purposeful humiliation.

Unconfronted bullying always escalates. Eventually, it negatively impacts social dynamics, productivity, and efficiency.

You may choose to avoid or ignore office drama, but you can’t ignore bullying.

Tolerating bullying endorses it.

Wise leaders intervene to stop bullying.

Don’t let those being bullied deal with on their own.

Bullies thrive in secrecy, shame, and silence. (The Bully at Work)

Confronting bullies:

  1. Confront bullies in private. Avoid bullying them in public.
  2. Explain the behavior you see.
  3. Describe the negative impact. “You embarrassed Bob when you belittled his work in front of the team.”
  4. Act quickly. Delay makes confrontation more difficult.
  5. Confront bullies even if you are lower in status. Be willing to bear the consequences of your confrontation, but know it’s the right thing to do.

The temptation to remain silent indicates it’s time to speak up with transparency, candor, toughness, and optimism.

Is it dangerous to confront bullies? Yes. But, the alternative is unacceptable. What if you get in trouble or get fired for confronting a bully? Some things are worth losing your job over. This is one.

Have you seen bullying at work?

How can leaders confront bullies?