“He who fights and runs away may turn and fight another; but he who is in battle slain, Will not rise to fight again.” – Tacitus
The above quote does not imply that you will engage in warfare at work. This is an old saying and was meant to be addressed to those who fought. It is important to be strategic in our interactions and relationships with our colleagues. Some of your colleagues may not be worthy of your energy and time.
When confronted with a bully on the team, my first and favourite approach is to refuse to engage. This is the easiest and fastest approach. When people approach me to ask how to deal the office bully or team, I always ask, “Do you absolutely need to be around this person?”
Often, I get a response along the lines of “Well, of course I have got to deal with her we all work together.” But sometimes further questioning indicates otherwise.
You don’t have to be in the same office as someone else, or even part of the same company. If your work doesn’t require you to be in constant contact with the office bully or team, then stay away. If you do feel the need to have a conversation with him or her, keep it brief. If he/she begins to bully or threaten you verbally (and I am assuming we are talking verbally), don’t respond. Instead, hang up, ignore the email or text or just walk away. As the quote suggests, do it the first time and do it every time.
“Take the ball and go home is the best way to deal with a bully.” Every time, the first time. There is no game if there is no ball. Bullies hate this. They’ll either play nicely with you, or bully you.” Seth Godin
If you are the project manager and the bully is on your team, consider making a change in your resource allocation. Perhaps another resource is available to fill the role. You can minimize their involvement in the project.
It’s not that the bully should pick on you. You can only refuse to be bullied, even though you cannot change a bully completely. Who knows? Maybe if everyone uses this approach, the bully will change.
This is a great example of how avoidance is the best way to resolve a conflict.
What are your thoughts?