Dealing with a work bully

November 18, 2003

DEAR WW: I thought bullies were the stuff of elementary schools, but my organization has a creep who intimidates everyone. Is there anything we can do to deal with this creep?


DEAR BUSTER: A study of "anti-bully" policies in elementary schools found that banning rough-housing, name-calling and mean looks have created kids who are more sensitive and tolerant. However, when these kids move to middle school they can run into kids who haven't been subject to the same rules and are likely to beat up the sensitive, tolerant kids. As more of us at work become more sensitive and tolerant, it can be increasingly difficult for us to deal with bullies. And according to my e-mail, there seem to be a lot of them out there.

I've listed some strategies below for dealing with a bully at work. For more, check out Gary and Ruth Namie's book "Bully at Work" (Sourcebooks Trade, 2000).