HR Matters - Spring 2014 - (Page 24)
Do You Have Honest and
COURTESY VALERIE CADE
By Valerie Cade
Valerie Cade, CSP, is a Workplace
Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of
"Bully Free at Work." Please visit her
t is the nature of a good person's heart to
want to connect, as opposed to creating
conflict and dissonance. When anything
but harmony exists, most people at best
try to modify who they really are in order to
cope. It is not natural. On the other hand, we
tend to gravitate to people who allow us to be
ourselves. So what happens when you feel
uncomfortable and guarded around another
due to their bullying or difficult behaviour?
Usually anything but peace and naturalness.
Here's the good news: you do not have to keep
reaching out to a person who is not respectful
of your feelings, wants, needs, circumstances
or desires. Question: How has reaching out
worked for you so far?
Here's What Happens
You go to work, hoping for the best, scared
and off-balance, wondering what the bully will
do to you today. This wondering leads you to
waiting for the bully to behave in a certain
way. Then you react, trying to minimize the
negative behaviours, feelings and situation
by over-reaching - giving more than you're
comfortable with - just to connect.
You feel powerless. You doubt yourself and
you are walking lightly in order to not upset
You cannot confront or connect
with a bully. They will only change
* Spring 2014
Honest and Strong Boundaries
The above example displays no boundary on
the part of the target.
Note: creating a healthy, strong and honest
boundary does not make you an unkind person,
it makes you a wise person.
Ask yourself, do you feel free and peaceful, or do you feel like you are walking on
eggshells around the bully? Note: Walking
lightly or tiptoeing around the bully actually
increases your chances of being bullied, as
you display no boundary to the bully. There
is nothing that separates you from the workplace bully; thus, the bully rules with overdemanding boundaries.
What about your boundaries? It starts
with asking yourself what you really want. Do
you want to continue to react to the bully and
second-guess yourself, causing you emotional
stress? Picture yourself receiving strength by
deciding to separate yourself from the bully.
Decide and recognize what you do not want,
for example, the bully putting you down in a
meeting. Decide to distance yourself emotionally as the bully is talking by:
Not making eye contact
Reminding yourself that the behaviour says
more about the bully than you
Giving short, clear, non-relational answers
to the bully's questions.
Honest and Strong - YES!
Yes - you are honest with yourself in how you
feel, and you are not second-guessing yourself
while the bully is ranting. Rather, you are keeping
on your agenda, and you are distancing yourself
- friendly, firm, but not familiar!
A Few Bonus Notes:
Try changing one behaviour first:
Walk away first
Do not stay longer than you are comfortable with.
Reply with short and direct emails, voice
mails, and general conversation
Notice that the sun still comes up the next
day, and try it again!
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HR Matters - Spring 2014
HRMAM Chair’s Message
Upcoming HRMAM Events
HR Special Event: Excellence in Leadership Awards Recipients
Learnings from Our Governance Review Retreat
Building an Effective Safety Culture
HR & Business: Hiring Foreign Workers? Take the Right Steps
HR & Business: Finance-led Capitalism, Pensions, and Financial Crisis
HR Review: The Respect Effect
Workplace Bullying: Do You Have Honest and Strong Boundaries?
HR & Law: Just Cause Under The Employment Standards Code: Have You Got What It Takes?
The Pursuit of Employee Engagement
HR Movers and Shakers
HR Matters - Spring 2014