Not again! You just don’t have the energy for him* anymore. You’re tired of this game of his. How many more times does he have to throw you under the bus? Is he really trying to make you look stupid in front of all your peers, your boss, your Director?
All you want to do is a good job, a great job in fact. You care! You put your heart and soul into this and sometimes you wonder why you bother. You started off on this path with such excitement, you were so enthusiastic and now all you ever seem to feel is deflated – like your bubble has been burst. And every time you gather the energy to blow it back up again, there he goes again, “This just won’t work. How stupid of you to think that this would work around here? This is never going to work. It’s your fault this project is failing!
Seriously, do I really need to tell you what to do?”. Inside you’re screaming ‘No!!’ and running through your response in your head but somehow you can’t seem to muster up the courage to respond to him and so you take it, even though you know deep down it is totally unjust. You feel demoralised, emotional, and your mind is whirring.
Usually you’re pretty tough, this type of work is what you do, you do it well, you know that. You can normally deal with this. But something’s different this time. Your enthusiasm is fading and with that you feel like a little bit of you is going with it each time. You know you need to do something about this, you want to rid yourself of the magnet that’s pulling the office bully your way, but the pull is strong & weakening that pull feels like a big job. You want it but where the heck do you start?
I was talking to Fiona** a former coaching client recently about this very topic and was so chuffed to hear that she was managing things just brilliantly. Reflecting on that conversation, it encouraged me to think about how much your emotions about the situation can control your reactions to the situation. How when you’re in the moment, you struggle to see clearly, to see the wood for the trees. All you can think about is the office bully, how mean they are, how much of an awful person they are, how demoralised they make you feel. All you think about is the panic you feel when you’re anywhere near them.
There are times when you need assistance to take on the office bully and the best thing is to seek out that help internally with the relevant departments. But what else can you do, what is in your control to change? I’m not talking about fronting up to the bully and giving them a piece of your mind – as much as you’d love to tell them what you really think. I’m talking about you, doing something about you. So here’s the thing, the bottom line is that you can’t change them, much as you’d like to. What you can change is your reaction to them. Changing your thoughts about them/the situation enables you to change your feelings, & in turn changing your feelings enables you to change your reactions, changing your reactions enables you to change your behaviour and changing your behaviour enables you to start to feel like you again. Your character is back intact and you are in control. I guess when you’re reading this you’re thinking it can’t be that easy, well sometimes it isn’t, I recognise that.
3 key steps to get you started…
So how you can get started on your journey to managing your mind? The following three steps will get you started…
- What do you want instead? – Articulate in your own words how the situation makes you feel and ask yourself what you would like instead of that feeling?
- Create a vision (a picture in your mind) of what this situation would be like with that new feeling. What is going on in that new picture? How are you behaving? How are other people behaving? What are people around you saying? How do you feel?
- Daily steps – Knowing what you now know about what you’d like instead and how this picture looks for you, ask yourself what could you do every day to reinforce that feeling?
It wasn’t easy for Fiona either but she gave it a shot. She started her journey of changing her thoughts, she now doesn’t feel the panic, the desire to run away from him/the situation, the emotion that sent her mind whirring. She has clarity. Although she knows she wants to make a change to her situation in the future, she also knows how to manage it in the present. She can see the wood for the trees. She can share her voice, air her opinion, push back, control the magnet pull and be comfortable & confident in her work. She realises that she didn’t actually need to tell him what she really thought. And even though she sometimes still has that occasional thought of doing that, she knows that it serves no purpose for her. He can deal with his own mind, she’s got enough to do dealing with hers. She is content that she is in control and her character is intact.
I’d love to hear what you think.
Maybe you’ve worked with an office bully….How have you managed to work with them? What did you do make your life easier, to make sure you’d stayed true to yourself, to keep focussed on your performance, not theirs? Maybe you’ve read this and thought, crikey maybe I am the office bully? I hadn’t realised. I need to change my ways. Whatever your background I’d love to hear from you so please share your stories in the comments section below. You just never know who you might help along the way.
Does this all sounds a little too familiar? Need help?
If you are feeling ‘stuck’, interested in learning to manage your emotions, your thoughts and your reactions AND hugely committed to begin this journey of managing your mind with the support of 1-1 coaching, then feel free to get in contact with me to explore further. I’d be happy to have a free consultation to explore if my 1-1 coaching programme would work for you.
*Recognition that not all office bullies are male. This is played in this manner as part of the story and could equally be representative of a woman.
** This is not the client’s real name. This is protected for client confidentiality although I do have permission to share the learning.