10 Tips For Dealing With Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment and office bullying are all too common in this day and age. As a certified harassment advisor, one who works on a (potential) harassment case, and a career coach with certification in solution-focused counseling, I have a good idea on how to handle harassment cases. Here’s what to do to alleviate harassment or bullying in the workplace:

1. Write It Down

Keep a detailed journal of what occurred with as many details as possible.

2. List Witnesses

If there are witnesses, compile their names.

3. Use Your Voice

Tell the offensive person his/her behavior is not acceptable.

4. Seek Help

Go to the supervisor, if necessary.

5. Don’t Rise To The Occasion

Choose not to react to the bullying or harassing behavior. (Quite often, bullying is power through aggression).

6. Use Company Resources

Use your company’s resources, such as a harassment advisor, mediator or employee assistance program (EAP), if necessary. Many EAP programs offer you a choice of talking to someone by phone or in person, and possibly the opportunity to seek assistance outside of your community.

Naturally, harassing behavior or bullying creates stress. I’d like to thank my colleague, Sheryl Pedersen, for inspiring me to blog about this, after taking her workplace stress management seminar.

7. Identify Workplace Stressors

Take a work stress inventory to identify your sources of stress, your triggers and your current coping mechanisms.

8. Change Negative Thoughts

Learn to identify and change your “mind maps” (thoughts swirling in your mind) in such a situation and remind yourself this stressful situation is temporary. You CAN transform negative thoughts and energy into positive thoughts and positive energy.

I highly recommend Dr. David Burns’ book, Feeling Good, to deal with defeating your mind’s negative thoughts. Dr. Burns uses cognitive behavior tools and techniques to help you “program” your mind in the face of adversity.

9. Keep A Joy Journal

Write a joy journal to focus on what is going right (this is the focus of my solution-focus training), rather than what is going wrong.

10. Learn To Relax

Teach your body to relax with “keeping well” resources: deep breathing, progressive relaxation, mindfulness, guided imagery and relaxing music.

If you are a victim of harassment or bullying in the workplace, a statement from Dr. Ron Warner, who trained me in solution-focused interviewing and counseling, still resonates: “No problem exists 24/7 except for terminal illness or chronic pain.”

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