Abuse in the workplace can very quickly turn a good job into the worst nightmare. It can be your co-worker who always raises their voice at you. However, it is still crucial that you learn how to co-work with abusive employees.
Again, it could be that your co-worker insults you for your quality of work. Regardless, it would help if you never let this behaviour slide under the carpet.
Employee motivation and productivity is highest when there is team spirit in an organization. Unfortunately, this may never always be the case in any given organization.
Behaviour that seems not to be consistent with the professional expectations always results in some negative consequences.
Your organization may have an anti-bullying policy. However, you have to take a step-by-step approach in dealing with the issue.
Strategies For Co-Working With Abusive Employees
Many employees get promoted to managerial roles without any proper training whatsoever. Consequently, this leaves them unprepared to deal with any disruptive behaviours that may arise in the organization.
On the other hand, difficult employees could have never had any appropriate training about their expectations.
Some of the strategies you can use to be able to co-work with abusive employees are;
1. Get Professional Advice
Maybe you are misreading the actions of your co-worker. It would be best if you got a different opinion from someone that is not biased.
If you have a co-worker that you trust or a mentor in your organization, you can approach them. Recount to them what your experience in the work environment has been.
He might tell you that you have misunderstood your co-worker. It could also be that your co-worker is hard on you for a very legitimate reason.
Though this may be, if he thinks your co-worker poses a severe threat, then you should be more confident in moving a step further.
2. Keep Evidence Of The Abuse
Keep a record of what has been happening between you and your co-worker. It will help you build a better case for your bosses. Document evidence of what your co-worker says or does. The actual dates of when he does it are also important.
In case he sends you insults or unwarranted abusive emails, you will need to document all of them. In addition to that, if the insults are in any way targeting other co-workers, encourage them to report evidence too.
For this reason, if you escalate the matter to your boss, then you will have hard evidence. It is proof that your concerns are valid.
3. Start The Conversation
The first person to talk to is an abusive co-worker. It could be that he does not know that he is doing something wrong. Pointing out the issue to him could mean that you will be able to solve the problem.
If this does not work, or if you might deem it unsafe to approve your abusive co-worker, approach your supervisor. Request a meeting where the three of you can meet.
Let your supervisor know that you have concerns that you want to raise with him in private. It will help with coming up with a way to co-work with abusive employees in the future.
4. Have A Conversation
When you get to set a meeting with your supervisor, present your facts to him. Ensure to be objective and calm about it.
Do not be overly emotional about talking about the issue. Do not let out any personal feelings.
Show the evidence you have gathered over time about the abusive co-worker. If you could talk to him before the meeting, let your supervisor be in the know.
Consequently, if the abuse translates to the company suffering, let your supervisor know as well. It can be in the form of you not being able to concentrate on your work. It, in turn, leads your team to fall behind schedule.
In case your supervisor does not act, make him understand that you are following up the issue higher up the ranks.
5. Withhold Yourself
More often than not, we always want to defend ourselves when caught up in situations. However, the best thing to do is to avoid arguing with an abusive co-worker.
If it turns out provocative, try reasoning with him. When he seems too angry to reason, let him relax first.
6. Quit Your Job
If they take no action against your abuser, then you may have to evaluate your options. Looking for a new job may seem scary, but most important of all, it would be better than being in a stressful work environment.
Getting a job in a friendly work environment will improve your quality of life and your self-esteem.
Workplace abuse is unacceptable behaviour. Thus, an organization’s Human Resources department should work on creating policies that protect every employee.
This way, employees are well aware of how to best co-work with abusive employees. Penalties for abusing your co-workers should be severe.
The company should train employees and managers about abuse in the workplace. Employees should understand how to recognize abuse and how to stop it.