Bullying in Your Team

For those of you unfortunate enough to be bullied by a team member, the challenge you face can extend beyond handling the bullying behavior. While some of your colleagues may actively confront the bully at the time of an attack, offering you life-giving active support, you may find that other non-targeted colleagues turn a blind eye and behave as if nothing untoward has happened.

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As a member of a team, you bring your own unique gifts and wants to work. For your team to function effectively, each of you needs to feel valued and safe in the workplace.  Each of you needs to use behaviour which keeps relationships viable and respects personal boundaries enough of the time that you all can direct most of your energy towards your work, not towards protecting yourself. For your team to be a top team, each of you all need to be competent at your role and encompass personal differences so that you work well together regardless of whether or not your views on non-work topics coincide.  Should you be unfortunate enough to be targeted by a bully from within your team, you may find that all your established team allegiances and alliances alter.  Whether the bully is your manager, a peer or someone more junior than you in the team hierarchy, your place in that team, and your connections with other people in it, can change. 

Maybe some of your colleagues turn a blind eye to the bullying, effectively regarding it as something between you and the bully. These colleagues don't acknowledge the fact of the bullying and leave you unsupported at a time when you most need their backing. 

Perhaps other members of your team don't know how to confront the bullying effectively or safely at the time it occurs.  They are horrified to see you being targeted but don't know what to do about it.  Upset by their own silence, they can't face you after the attack.  In a complicated manoeuvre, which is more about their own failure to confront the bullying and actively support you, they start to behave differently around you perhaps becoming more distant or more formal.

A minority of your team colleagues may fall into the pitfall of colluding with the bully. Frightened that they might also be targeted, they may endorse the bully's comments with remarks of their own or, more likely, with a nervous laugh or nod of the head. To you, these actions can feel like a double whammy coming on top of the bully's attack and can leave you feeling isolated, vulnerable and friendless.

Knowing what to say and do so that you retain personal power, retain at least some control, and alter the bullying dynamic in your favour are all vital learned skills, especially for those of you who feel vulnerable to being bullied.  When the bully is a member of your team, and someone you are likely to meet day in day out, the need to learn these self-protective skills is all the greater. Developing the skill to handle bullying behavior in your team is a key learned skill for people in organisations. Learn how by:

  • Reading my new book Bullying in Teams: How to Survive It and Thrive for input on how to retain your dignity when you are attacked in a team situation, stand up for team colleague who is being bullied in front of others, prevent a bully from controlling your team, and how to develop a bully-proof mindset.
  • Accessing valuable free written and audio materials on recognising and combatting bullying behavi0our, and becoming bully-proof at www.oadeassociates.com/downloads


Aryanne Oade

chartered psychologist, executive coach, author and publisher, Oade Associates Ltd

Hello and welcome to my blog. I specialize in handling challenging workplace dynamics, successfully working from the premise that the additional resources you seek are already within you. My aim is to be a catalyst so you can turn areas where you feel under-resourced or vulnerable into skills and strengths, become resilient in the face of adversity, and develop a life and work experience you are passionate about. Working from the evidence-base of psychology, and over twenty-five years’ experience, clients tell me they experience my coaching and books as insightful, practical, non-judgmental and empathic. My work on recovery from bullying and bully-proofing has been featured in leading publications such as The Independent, Irish Independent (Sunday), Psychologies, Good Housekeeping and Marie Claire. Learn more at www.oadeassociates.com


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about 4 years ago