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Book Review: “Beating the Workplace Bully: A Tactical Guide to Taking Charge”

If you’re the boss with a bully on your staff, know how to handle what could become a very thorny situation for you and your business.

“Beating the Workplace Bully: A Tactical Guide to Taking Charge” by Lynne Curry
c.2016, Amacom
$17.95 / $25.50 Canada
244 pages
 
Sometimes, you feel like you’re back in Sixth Grade.
 
But you’re not – you’re at work, dealing with the same kind of bully you faced in the schoolyard. It’s just as frustrating now as it was then, but what can you do?  You don’t have a teacher to run to, so read “Beating the Workplace Bully” by Lynne Curry instead.
 
Once you graduated from high school, you figured you were done with those thugs who ruled the playground. But, says Curry, “Bullies and targets exist at all levels and in many organizations” and she can help the latter deal with the former.  So what can you do when you’re on the receiving end of a workplace bully?
 
First, Curry says, remember that, though “no one deserves to be bullied,” it’s “epidemic.” Ninety-six percent of respondents to a 2014 poll reported problems of bullying at work. It’s wise, therefore, to know why you’re a part of that majority.
 
Next, understand that problems with co-workers don’t just “go away.” If there’s bully in the next cubicle, strive to break old habits and diffuse what’s making you a target. Know what kind of bully you’re dealing with, expand your comfort zone to prepare yourself for what needs to be done, and learn how to empower yourself and “confront confrontation” without stooping to a bully’s level.
 
Stop playing the bully’s game by recognizing the eight “most common bully traps” and the tactics s/he uses to get under your skin. Don’t let your tormenter have any space in your brain; try to remain calm, neutral, and don’t get angry! Learn the power of the word “REALLY?”  Be willing to take notes, note witnesses, and document, document, document. If you notice that colleagues are also having issues with this particular bully, enlist allies and ask for reinforcements.
 
And finally, if you’re the boss with a bully on your staff, know how to handle what could become a very thorny situation for you and your business. Above all, remember: “don’t play nice – you can’t afford it.”
 
Oh, how I wish I’d had a book like “Beating the Workplace Bully” back when I needed it!  I’m sure it would’ve saved a lot of sleepless nights, job-jumping, and productivity loss, because author Lynne Curry’s advice is solid and straightforward without being rash or antagonizing. And that, as you’ll see here, is exactly what you need to deal with this all-too-common problem.
 
Curry teaches a certain kind of stand-up-for-yourself Zen in this book, starting with basic hand-holding and moving on to what amounts to guerilla tactics with a lace glove. She also offers a series of quizzes at the end of each chapter, to help readers determine where they sit and what’s next. I found those particularly helpful, and I loved reading the case-studies that accompany each chapter and point.
 
This is one of those books that you won’t regret having on your shelf, even if you don’t need it right now - because when you do, “Beating the Workplace Bully” will have you well-schooled.