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Self advocacy- a step toward minimizing workplace bullying

Self advocacy- a step toward minimizing workplace bullyingAs we reflect on best practices for civility in the work place, many of us strive to be kind, pleasant and agreeable.

However, there is a self-advocacy component to avoiding bullying in the workplace.  When someone throws a barbed comment or slight insult, do you speak up, or turn away hoping it will get better? Ignoring it almost insures that the next insult would be increasingly hurtful.

The truth of the matter, a bully will pick on the person he or she perceives to be the “weaker kid.”  The bully will choose a “mark” that will presumably accept the escalating insults and put-downs with little to no protest.  In short, being “too nice,” can be a problem.

In my consulting visits, I typically run into staff that are eager to report bad behavior and other bullies.  They are quick to complain about unfair treatment and hurt feelings.  However, some are also reluctant to just walk across the hall to tell the perpetrator to stop the bad behavior.

For example, if the bully insults you kindly a reception in front of staff, do you:

a)    Say nothing?

b)   Blast them back in kind? Or…

c)    Approach him/her quietly and firmly in private?

“C” is probably the best answer because it maintains decorum yet establishes proper boundaries for good behavior while ALSO modeling this good behavior.

In another example, if the bully doesn’t alert you to an important audit and then you are surprised at the last minute, do you:

a)    Abruptly walk out sick?

b)   Approach your boss directly stating it is in best interest of whole office that there I s appropriate notice?… Or…

c)    Embarrass boss in front of auditor and announce you had no notice?

In this case, “B” would be a good choice, once again establishing your own civility, yet setting a standard for the proper way to engage you.

Being too nice gives the impression  that you pray that the bad behavior will go away and you are willing to wait quietly hoping for this good behavior to appear. Being positive is great, being firm and positive is better.  Self-advocacy sets standards for how you will accept being treated, and also shows that a bully just can not walk over you.  Remember, bullies pick on those who they think will take the abuse.

Read more posts by Leah Hollis, Ed.D. here. Leah is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.


The post is presented by the National Publicist, Annie Jennings of the NYC based PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR.  Annie Jennings PR specializes in marketing books for getting authors booked on radio talk show interviews, TV shows in major online and in high circulation magazines and newspapers. Annie also works with speaker and experts to build up powerful platforms of credibility and influence.