How to handle the workplace bullying

How do you appear confident and in control when in an intimidating situation or workplace bullying, or the office bully gets to you? Bullying behaviour sadly doesn’t stop when we leave school, so how can we learn to manage it?

Setting firm boundaries can help you to manage workplace bullying whether it’s a boss or just the nasty girl in the sales department. 

New here? I write about confidence and stepping into your power. Here’s some more blog posts that might help you handle workplace bullying:

The Harvey Weinstein allegations in Hollywood has thrown a rather unpleasant look at intimidation, workplace bullying and sexual abuse in the workplace. 

If something doesn’t feel right (e.g. you don’t like the vibe that someone is giving you) trust your instincts. YOU KNOW WHAT DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT.

Trust your instincts around the office bully, and if you feel uncomfortable – TELL SOMEONE!

Don’t suffer in Silence

Workplace bullying is not acceptable, and you don’t have to put up with unacceptable behaviour. If someone is making you miserable, you don’t HAVE TO STAY in the job. You can find another one, and you will be happier. 

The working world can be a minefield of egos, and people that we wouldn’t normally choose to associate with. Spending 40+ hours with someone that makes us feel uncomfortable or uneasy is tricky, particularly when they’re the boss!

How to handle the workplace bullying

Now I’m all for you being your own boss, and escaping the 9-5. But I also realise that it’s also a case of doing the day job to make the side job fly.

If you have to spend time with this person alone, try and see if you can get someone to go with you to the event or thing. I once refused to go to cover a conference with the office sleaze. He had a reputation for bringing prostitutes to his hotel rooms while we were away working on a story! 

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I complained about his behaviour, and he made my life very uncomfortable and I eventually moved offices.

That awful sleaze is probably the reason that I found personal development in the first place. Because he made my life so uncomfortable. I learned how to manage my reaction to the situation. 

…I’d learned my lesson at school.  

Office Politics

Remember that BULLYING is NOT ACCEPTABLE in the workplace, and you don’t have to put up with it. 

The trick is to set some parameters of acceptable speech. And if they cross the line, you have to subtly tell them they were being unpleasant.

Speaking with a calm confidence and looking them directly in the eye can be very intimidating for the workplace bully. 

How to Handle the Workplace Bullying

Because very often the bully is using you to claim some power that they are missing from somewhere in their life. 


I see this now with my two-year-old son. He’s shy, and gentle and lets the other kids take his toys. 

If another child pushes him over, I have just taught him the words to say: “No, I don’t like it.”

Yesterday we were at the zoo. It was very busy. A man was pushing and squashing him in his enthusiasm to show his daughter the tigers. I didn’t realise how much he was hurting Ben until he told me afterwards.

We had a conversation, where I said if someone hurts you or it feels uncomfortable, you say: “OWWWW, that hurts.”

This morning when I picked him out of his cot, his first words to me were, “OWWW, that hurts. That man hurt me.”

Unless we LEARN to voice our unease in a situation and stand up for ourselves, no one is going to stand up for us. 

What parameters can you set for your boss or the person who intimidates you? 

How to handle workplace bullying

It took me a long time to learn how to stand up for myself. But these are few tips that I’ve learned. 

  • Stand tall
  • Your body language matters – have your shoulders back.
  • Look someone in the eye
  • Smile, it can disarm them
  • Remember to breathe. 
  • You can choose how you react the situation. You can choose to be intimidated by them, or you can choose to find a different way of seeing the situation. It’s hard to do this when you’re in the midst of the moment, so practice keeping calm and breathing deeply (see my post on body language). 

For more on this, check out my next post which is all about CONFIDENCE, and how to APPEAR CONFIDENT WHEN YOU’RE INTIMIDATED.

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