- Stare them down. Just like when a two-year-old is throwing a tantrum. Sometimes if everyone simply stops and silently waits, the lack of attention will cut their tirade off at the knees.
- Circle the wagons. If they have decided to target an individual and are in attack mode, ignore the bully, but address as many supportive comments as you can to the targeted person.
- Keep your buts to yourself. “But” is a signal that you’re not listening, just waiting to interject. It is the same tactic the bully may use. Instead, try “I hear you, and I also think…”
- Take another way home. Sometimes you can’t shut the bully down, but you can work around them and isolate the path to your goal from their negative influence. Eventually they will get the message, or sulk off to their own corner.
- The last one, we credit to Megann’s grandfather. Don’t start a fight, but if they do, stand up for yourself and fight to win. Then walk away.
If you have some boardroom bullies, some negative nitwits, or scared smarties in your office, you may also enlist the help of a professional facilitator. We’d be happy to help.
I’m Megann Willson, and together with my Partner, Steve Willson, we’re PANOPTIKA. We work with our clients to see everthing they need to know (and nothing extraneous) about their customers so they can grow their businesses and make more money. You can find us here, or if you like the blog but forget to check in, you can subscribe. You can also find us on Twitter, or Facebook, or LinkedIn. Did you find this useful? We’d be grateful if you’