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March 26, 2021

How to handle that bully at work

Although he has repeatedly denied it, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been accused of being a really bully at work.  

An anti-harassment helpline revealed that it had received several complaints from people working in his office, including allegations of Mr. Brown swearing at staff, grabbing them by their lapels and shouting at them. 

Sound familiar? Well, to some people certainly. Roughly one in three employees has been bullied at work, according to research from the Workplace Bullying Institute.

And those are just the ones that speak up. Among targets of bullying, 40% never told their employers and, of those who did, 62% reported that they were essentially ignored.

That’s why Asher Adelman, founder of eBossWatch, a site that allows job seekers to review a database of anonymous posts about their workplace, believes you should try to identify toxic bosses long before you sign up. 

The site recently rated the world’s worst bosses, including a British airline CEO who berated his employees in front of hundreds of customers lined up at the airline’s check-in counter, ignoring a sign that warned passengers: “Abusive behaviour towards staff will not be tolerated.”

If you find yourself at the mercy of the resident ogre, here’s a brief 5-point plan developed by Gary and Ruth Namie, authors of The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job.

Put a name to it. Calling it bullying or psychological violence or harassment makes the problem external.

Identify the type of bully. Knowing the type of person you're dealing with can help determine how best to defend yourself.

Take some time off. Check your health for stress-related complications, then get mental health counseling.

Gather the facts. Check for violations of employer policies and labour laws. Document the time, dates, actions, and witnesses of the incidents.

Make your case. Present the business case/evidence to the highest-ranking individual at the company, showing the fiscal as well as personal impact of the issues.

Have you encountered bullies at work? What strategies have you used to effectively minimize bullying?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...