Five tips for working with bully-behaviors

When I was a kid, I hated seeing other kids bullied. I’d run at the bully with my arms out-stretched or head lowered ram-like to shove the bully away from his target. Then I’d run away as fast as possible to avoid revenge.

As I’ve matured and gained experience as a mediator and conflict engagement specialist, I’ve learned other (more useful) ways of dealing with people and their bully behaviors. Here are five tips to help you when bullying behaviors threaten your work group.

Finding our way past misunderstanding

A friend recently shared this poem by Chuck Dunning. After reading the poem, my friend asked, “How can we hope to hold conversations about equity and social justice with all these misunderstandings?” Her question points in the direction of what will help us find our way through the misunderstandings: curiosity and compassion.

What’s your parenting, er, supervising style?

A book about parenting style has me wondering about supervision within the workplace. I don’t mean to suggest that parenting and managing are equivalent roles. But parenting and managing share two important characteristics: there is a power-dynamic inherent in the relationship; human beings are involved on both sides of that power-dynamic. And occasionally I’ve heard frustrated supervisors…

Invest in learning, not training

When we see a problem in the workplace, it’s common to land on training as a solution. We hope to eliminate waste, become effective managers, or learn to resolve conflicts with difficult coworkers. We look at our budget, hire a trainer, and have a great class. As a trainer, I love that solution. It funds work…