JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The eighth grade is probably the last time you had to think about a bully.
They've moved from the playground to the office.
A Zogby International survey from 2009 showed more than half of all working Americans experienced some sort of workplace bullying.
Dealing with a bully at work starts with identifying them.
"Workplace bullies generally use their words and actions to intimidate and threaten their victims," said Dr. Paul Fadil, a professor at UNF and a regular on First Coast News.
Sometimes they're easy to spot.
"It's quite easy to identify a bully if you are getting complaints of screaming, tantrums, sabotage, humiliation and verbal abuse," said Dr. Paul.
Sometimes they're not, such as "someone who takes credit for things that others have contributed to, or dominates meetings with sarcasm, interruptions and insults."
Some bullies are in positions of power and use their influence to get things done. But, research shows bully-free workplaces tend to have higher worker productivity.
So, why do people bully? It could be low-self esteem issues or a lack of self worth, according to Dr. Paul. Maybe they've been bullied before.
So what do you do? The first step is to understand it's not your responsibility to change their behavior because it rarely will.
The key is working with them.
- Confront person sooner, not later
- Always remain calm and professional
- Enlist help of HR
- Stay within network
- Target behavior, not person
- Create culture of respect
Fadil is a professor at the Coggin College of Business at the University of North Florida who specializes in organizational behavior and international management and appears Thursday mornings on Good Morning Jacksonville.
First Coast News