How To Deal With A Bully Coworker in 11 Ways

Written By Aleena

Out of every five employees experience some form of a bully on the job. Knowing how to deal with a bully coworker is essential in today’s era.

There’s one thing in business that’s guaranteed: every company has at least one bully.

But what does it mean when an office attack is more than just annoying behavior – it can impact how you feel about yourself?

How To Deal With A Bully Coworker in 11 Ways

Bullying affects approximately 160,000 employees each year. That means roughly 1 in 5 people have experienced bullying on the job.

Let’s get to the 11 ways to deal with a bully coworker:

1. Document Everything:

The first way to deal with a bullied coworker is to document every incident. Make sure to get the details like time and place.

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If your company does not have a policy against bullying, report bullying incidents to human resources.

Make sure you document each incident in detail, including the date and time. You should store messages and emails between you and your workplace bully (if applicable).

Documentation will help human resources to deal with your bully coworker.

2. Recognize The Pattern Of Bullying To Deal With A Bully Coworker:

The second way to deal with a bully at work is to recognize the pattern of bullying. All bullies have their designs that you can remember.

Once you identify their practice, it will be easy to avoid them. Recognizing the pattern of bullying will help you know how to deal with a bully coworker better.

The design can be in the form of a bully’s preference in your work or when do they attack.

3. Talk To Your Coworker Privately:

The third way to deal with a bully coworker is to talk one-on-one. Don’t engage them in public.

It can trigger their need to be dominant and control everyone around them.

Talking to them will help you avoid any outbursts from your bully coworker. Make sure always to maintain a professional attitude and keep your composure.

4. Go Public With Your Complaints To Deal With A Bully Coworker:

The third way to deal with a bully coworker is to go public. Going public means you need to tell your story and experiences from start to finish to people.

It will alert management and HR about your bully. They may take proper action against the bully, which is suitable for anyone.

Go public with your problems about dealing with a workplace bully. It will give others an idea of what you are going through such a proper action can be taken.

5. Acknowledge And Reward Your Bully’s Positive Behavior And Actions:

The fifth way to deal with a bully coworker is to acknowledge and reward their positive behavior.

How To Deal With A Bully Coworker

It will boost their confidence. It will help you maintain a good relationship with your coworker. Acknowledge your bully’s positive behavior by thanking them for their hard work.

However, never let them walk over you. Make sure that they respect you in the process.

6. Talk To Someone You Trust To Deal With A Bully Coworker:

The sixth way to deal with a workplace bully is to talk to someone you trust. It doesn’t have to be in detail each time when speaking about the incident.

There are times when one might get triggered when talking about it. Talking to someone you trust can help put your mind at ease.

It can reduce any stress that may come from your bully coworker. The person you trust may also have a good idea of dealing with a workplace bully.

7. Limit Your Contact With Your Bully Coworker:

The seventh way to deal with a bully coworker is to limit the contact. When dealing with physical bullies, it’s best to stay away.

Also, limit their verbal or physical number of attacks by blocking out what they say or do. When dealing with online bullying, it’s best not to engage in conversation.

Report them immediately to your company’s management team. Limit your contact with your bully coworker.

It will give you the relief of being out of their range. It will also allow you to take a break from dealing with them for a while until they calm down.

Always remain professional, and don’t let yourself get phased by what they say or do towards you.

8. Report Your Bully Coworker To HR:

The eight-way on dealing with workplace bullies is reporting them to human resources.

If blocking doesn’t work because the attacks are getting worse each time, then that’s your cue. It would help if you spoke up about it before something big happened.

Reporting your bully will help management know what people they have on the team. It will also protect you from any false claims your coworker may be planning to make against you.

9. Remove Your Self From the Situation:

The ninth way to deal with workplace bullies is to remove yourself from the situation. When dealing with physical bullies, you can move away.

How To Deal With A Bully Coworker (2)

You can redirect them by changing the subject to something unrelated to work. It’s essential not to use violence against them.

That will only trigger more attacks towards you and won’t solve anything. Removing yourself from the situation will give both of you a chance to cool off.

You can think about what they’re doing during that time rather than lashing out at each other in public.

10. Maintain A Positive Mindset To Deal With A Bully Coworker:

The tenth and final tip on dealing with a bully coworker is maintaining a positive mindset. No matter what anyone does, your attitude should remain positive.

If you have an optimistic view of the situation, that’s all that matters when dealing with them.

A bully can sometimes see when you’re being fake with their behavior. Please don’t do things for the sake of appeasing them.

It will only encourage their actions if they think they’re getting away with it.

Maintaining a positive mindset will give you the strength and courage to go against them. You won’t feel intimidated each time.

11. Be Confident When Speaking Up About Your Bully Coworker

Another way to deal with a workplace bullies is being confident when speaking up about them.

If your company doesn’t have a policy against bullying, speak to your human resources team.

Bullies will push you around if they see that you’re not confident when telling them off. They know that there’s no repercussion for their actions.

10 Signs A Coworker Bullies You

Here are several signs a coworker is bullying you. It is essential to recognize these actions and take a stand for yourself:

1. They Have A Negative Attitude:

A bully workplace coworker is not someone you can reason with or help change. They have a negative mindset from the start.

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When dealing with them, the best course of action is not to engage and ignore their behavior as much as possible.

Remind yourself that you don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Stay positive with your thoughts towards them as well as your actions.

2. They Will Always Find Something Negative About You:

A negative mindset drives a bully coworker to pick on those they deem weaker than themselves. It wasn’t until they were bullied themselves in the past.

Such an incident created this bitter person that you see before you now. A bully sees weakness and insecurity within others.

Thus, they attack it bit by bit until their victim has nothing left for them to take from them. Remember, bullies, thrive on negativity.

Therefore, staying away from them will only make the bullying worse in time.

3. They Are Intimidating Towards Others:

A bully coworker wants everyone to know who is boss without actually having the authority for it.

They are the big fish in the small pond, and they want to make sure you see them as someone who is more superior than you are.

Deal with them by showing respect while remaining silent during their outbursts. Reacting will only encourage them to attack you even more verbally.

Understand that their sole purpose is to intimidate you into submission. Remind others that they’re currently in charge at work.

4. They Talk Behind Your Back:

A bully isn’t content on heaping verbal abuse unto their coworkers. They love it when they have an audience for their antics.

When a bully is carrying out their victimization of you, they love having others watch. It seems as if it were some form of entertainment for them to see your reaction.

hate ourselves

If you find out that someone else has been talking behind your back, confront them. Demand respect from now on because they will not give it to you otherwise.

5. They Try To Make You Look Bad In Front Of Others:

A bully thrives on making those around stand silently by. They try to make the person they dislike look bad in front of their peers. It could be something small such as:

– Taking credit for their work

– Threatening those who might come to their aid if they step in and try to stop the bullying from happening.

In either case, a bully has no respect for those around them. They will do whatever it takes to belittle you without anyone being able to help you out.

6. They Verbally Attack You:

A bully may not always physically hurt you in the workplace. Their verbal attacks can be as harmful to bear with.

The best way to deal with a co-worker that is trying to attack you verbally is by confronting them about it.

Demand that they stop the behavior immediately. Their words affect how others see you negatively.

If your company doesn’t have a policy against bullying, speak to your human resources team.

7. They Try To Manipulate Others With Negativity:

Some enjoy discouraging and demoralizing those around them via gossip and other means.

A bully will do this all day long until one of his victims breaks down and has a meltdown. In the end, it’s all about making those around them feel as harmful as they do about themselves.

It makes handling better about themselves in being so mean-spirited towards others.

8. They Try To Discredit Your Work:

A bully will always try to discredit your work. They want everyone to know that you’re not as good at doing certain things as you are.

weak people

Your coworker will steal your ideas and give themselves credit for it. They try to belittle their victims until the day they’re fired from the company.

They pretend they have no idea why it happened to them. Speak with your coworkers about this behavior.

They can help provide some insight on what’s going on between both of you before it threatens your job security.

9. They Use Other People To Do Their Dirty Work:

A bully is never one who will fight their own battles, but they’re more than willing to have others do it for them.

A bully may ask friends or employees that are less likely to stand up for you to target you on their behalf.

Having someone else do their dirty work allows the bully to clean their hands. It is why it’s so important to have an ally or two that you can trust at work.

They will provide the support you need to deal with your bully once and for all.

10. They Try To Create An Us Versus Them Situation:

There’s nothing a bully loves more than creating an “us versus them” environment. Everyone is divided against one another because it makes everything else go away.

The bully will often accuse others of something wrong to gain the support of others for their cause. There are times when these accusations are baseless.

Such charges are to have someone’s back to weaken the work environment.


Dealing with a workplace bully can be hard to do on your own. They’re always trying to get inside of your mind in the process.

The most important thing is to know when it’s time that you need help with dealing with them. Speak up immediately when it becomes too much for you.

Remember, no one deserves to feel inferior to another person. That will only bring more harm than good in the end. It’s time for everyone to begin respecting each other.

Last Updated on 3 months by Eesha Khan


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