'Working Wounded': Facing a Bully

Jan. 28, 2005 —, 2005 -- Dear Readers: My recent column on how to handle a bully generated lots of e-mail. Through the years I've received many e-mails from people terrorized by bullies, and it was interesting to hear your dos and don'ts concerning bullies. Here are a few of them:

We'd like to hear your strategy for dealing with a bully at work. I'll give an autographed copy of "Working Wounded: Advice that adds insight to injury" (Warner, 2000) to the best submission. Send your entry, name & address via: http://workingwounded.com or via e-mail: bob@workingwounded.com. Entries must be received by Wednesday (Feb. 2).

Online Ballot and Contest

Here are the results from a recent workingwounded.com/ABCNEWS.com online ballot:
What is your strategy for dealing with a bully at work?

Winning Strategy

Our winning strategy for dealing with a bully comes from J.M. in Cyberspace.:

"One of the key things to remember is 'hate the sin but not the sinner.' Bullies are often normal people with a weakness in their interpersonal skill set, and many can be successfully worked with, using the right approach. The other key item is to seek resolution and not revenge. Plus a sense of humor can help! Some of the key strategies I use: Bullies often have triggers, one of the keys is to determine what they are and then what strategy to use. Eye contact is a fundamental. Bullies perceive lack of eye contact as a hidden agenda or a lack of respect -- and it may well be the case. Making the eye contact with the boss reassures him/her that you are not guilty, not being defensive and it reduces their insecurity. Again, the bullying is reduced and the perception of you is improved. Note, watch your body language -- eye contact should not be a glare, so blink and nod occasionally."

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Bob Rosner is a best-selling author, speaker and internationally syndicated columnist. His newest best seller, "GRAY MATTERS: The Workplace Survival Guide" (Wiley, 2004), is a business comic book that trades cynicism for solutions. Ask Bob a question: bob@workingwounded.com or http://graymattersbook.com

ABCNEWS.com publishes a new Working Wounded column every Friday.