Dealing with a bully at work is really tough.

It is not always up to you to be the hero, to fight for justice.

 

It’s ok to be selfish and to do what’s best for you. Getting away from a rubbish manager or an immovable bully is a valid option, and the thing with options is, you get to decide which one you take.

A few years ago I mediated a workplace dispute in which allegations of bullying were made by a junior staff member against his immediate supervisor. After a day and a half of discussion and negotiation it seemed clear that the supervisor was a really poor communicator and had not been giving enough or the right type of training to the junior. One of the options we came up with was for the junior to find another place to work, and the supervisor would support him in that by giving him a good reference. Another option was to stay on and create a ‘behavioural contract’ whereby they both committed to changing the behaviours that most irritated the other; the third was take it to Fairwork.

 

In a private session the junior was outraged by the idea that, if he left for another workplace, the supervisor would do the same thing to the next person who came along into the role. He wasn’t impressed when told that wouldn’t be his problem, it would be the company’s problem. He was angry and frustrated that the supervisor would get away with it, that nothing would be done, there would be no consequences for the supervisor. He seemed to feel some sort of obligation to expose this man as a bully, force him to change or be punished, and to protect others from this man’s behaviour.

 

Now I am all for social responsibility, activism and campaigning for change, but not when it is to your own detriment. If you are a strong person with the fortitude to go through with all the necessary steps to bring a case in Fairwork or with Workcover, by all means go for it, but be aware of the toll it will take on you, your family, your coworkers, and your life in general, not the mention the amount of time and money you could spend on pursuing this.

 

In this case the young man was already stressed out and miserable coming to work every day because of his supervisor’s attitude and behaviour. It was sapping him of his energy and his enjoyment of life. He did not want to be there and was making a huge effort to get through each and every day. This young man was exhausted. He was worn down. And yet he was seriously contemplating taking the matter further with a complaint to FairWork.

 

If the workplace is causing you that much misery and you have another option, get the heck out of there!

It's ok to be selfish and to do what's best for you. Getting away from a rubbish manager or an immovable bully is a valid option, and the thing with options is, you get to decide which one you take. Click To Tweet

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