How to handle workplace bullying: 11 effective ways

August 11, 2021

How to handle bullying in the workplace

Every good boss should always keep an eye for signs of bullying and learn how to handle workplace bullying. It happens to have employees who don’t get along, but if that turns into bullying then you have a much bigger problem. You as a manager can intervene and offer support before the employee being bullied is irreversibly affected.

Signs of workplace bullying can be overt, such as aggression and intimidation but other times they can be very subtle. For example, isolating or ignoring someone, putting one person against another, manipulating people through guilt, and undermining another person’s work are just a couple of workplace bullying cases that should raise the alarm.

How to handle workplace bullying like an experienced leader

When it comes to signs of workplace bullying, you can’t have tolerance for it. Keeping your employees happy doesn’t mean only appreciating them for their work. It also means caring for employee’s physical and mental health. And because no work is above a person’s mental well-being, if you witness bullying at your company, make sure you know how to handle it.

Create a formal anti-bullying policy

If you wonder how to handle workplace bullying, you should deploy an anti-bullying policy that should define what constitutes bullying and inform staff that such conduct would not be accepted. Your program should reassure staff that all complaints of workplace bullying cases will be reviewed immediately and adequately, with corrective action taken, up to and including termination of the perpetrator’s job.

Employees and managers should consider the standards and the protocol that will follow in the event of an incident where complaints are filed. Your HR services company will assist you in the development of your policy, by checking to see how it complies with all existing federal, state, or local rules.

Establish an open-door policy

As a manager, you should derive an open-door policy that is beneficial for a variety of causes, many of which relate to a welcoming workplace atmosphere. It will help assist your employees to be more reachable in case of any bullying that is troubling them.

Also by having an open-door policy employees can discuss both the possibilities and improvements in regards to bullying at the workplace including concerns like occupational discrimination prevention.

Take all reports of bullying seriously

Managers who respond respectfully and quickly to reports of workplace bullying are most likely to find that their staff is more willing to report cases of bullying. Naturally, the more bullying that is documented, prosecuted, and, hopefully, stopped, the less bullying you will face in the future.

Not only is it beneficial for workplace culture, successful leadership, and corporate performance to investigate discrimination, but it will also help the company stay in line with anti-harassment legislation and regulations.

Managers bullying training

Another way to handle workplace bullying is having manager bullying training. This is essential for two reasons: the employer expresses explicitly that supervisory bullying will not be accepted, and they usually have the most insight into coworker peer-to-peer bullying practices.

When a survivor or spectator mentions bullying, they are often the first to respond. Teach managers how to recognize the symptoms of bullying and how to react correctly to questions about bullying. Managers should be held accountable for upholding a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, much as they are for the anti-harassment policy.

Train team members to recognize and report bullying

Apart from managers, team members should be trained to recognize and report bullying as well. Therefore, managers are responsible for arranging educational courses about workplace bullying cases and teach employees how to handle workplace bullying. With HR’s help, they can show workers how to recognize signs of workplace bullying and protect themselves and others.

Develop a safe space

The most effective way to keep a check on bullying is to develop a portal, a safe space through which the employees can directly connect with the management to complain about any unjust act. Many companies do have such systems but fail to maintain the security of the employees as the system remains unkept.

Keep a record of the bully’s behavior

If the bullying gets out of control and the victim ends up suing, they will need proof. Hence, you should keep track of the date, time, and specifics of any incidents in which you feel bullied or are the victim of bullying behavior. If another employee observed the incident, make a note of it.

The bully isn’t just hurting somebody’s feelings, he’s also sabotaging the success of the business. Documentation of the bully’s effect on business performance and progress gives HR the details they need to work on your behalf if you ultimately seek support from Human Resources.

The truth is a victim of bullying can sue for workplace bullying, but many employees are still not aware of whether workplace bullying is illegal or not. Maintain a hard copy of the trail of emails if the bullying happens by email, texts, or correspondence. You’ll need witnesses and dated documents if you plan to press charges in the future.

Stay Professional

One tip about how to handle workplace bullying is to stay professional. In a small organization where everyone knows who’s who, dealing with a bullying accusation is likely to cause a lot of anxiety and awkwardness. It’s important to remain reasonable, competent, and calm no matter how you handle the situation.

Insulting one of the parties is likely to make the situation worse. If you think you may be biassed against one side or the other in a case like this, assign the mediation to another colleague. This will ensure that you are being fair to all parties involved. Keep in mind that some bullying accusations can be malicious, so don’t leap to conclusions.

Confront them

Stop bullies from interrupting others or acting aggressively, confront them when they mock someone else’s ideas or suggestions, and work hard to create a diverse workplace. Bullies, unfortunately, get away with their actions because no one wants to deal with them. Such negative attitudes thrive on tension and drama, and confronting them can result in toxic company culture.

Try to understand the situation from both perspectives

First, invite both employees one at a time to the office and try to understand the situation from both perspectives. Bullying can often be detected wrongfully by third parties. That’s why when you think you recognize bullying in the workplace keep observing and analyze the situation.

On one hand, if you raise the alarm without reason, you might make your employees uncomfortable. On the other hand, doing nothing just because you are not sure means you have poor leadership qualities and will probably cost you the employee that it’s the victim.

Hold the individual accountable

The most important tip as a manager to combat bullying is to hold the individual accountable. Most bullies are technical experts but lack any empathy and emotional intellect. So when this happens, speak to all parties involved and offer a way to rectify the situation, which means giving them a verbal or written warning. By holding them accountable you can be sure they think twice before bullying someone again.

Make teams with a lot of senior management

Although having age diversity at the workplace has many benefits for your company, bullying in the workplace happens often when the bully is working in a team with a lot of juniors. Juniors as easy targets and feel compelled to listen to the senior management even when it can be a low form of workplace harassment.

One thing that helps handle difficult people who bully is by putting them in a team with a lot of senior management so there is no scope to bully for the bully. He or she will no longer control or harass since there won’t be any juniors who need to take the bad behavior and seniors in a team will not tolerate any kind of bullying solving the problem without creating any issues.


if you let bullying pass the first time, it will keep coming back, therefore If you witness signs of workplace bullying don’t wait further for more action. Nobody wants to deal with problems at work, but knowing how to handle workplace bullying is imperative. So next time you detect a workplace bullying case, report immediately to the HR Manager or your higher up so they can deal with it accordingly.

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