Bullying doesn’t end when you grow out of your playground days. In the workplace it can be especially challenging to know what to do when you’re faced with someone who wants to overpower you — especially if they’re in a hierarchical position of power. When the bully is someone who you have to work with who could impact your success, how do you negotiate a confrontation?
Here are the three steps that can help you take back control when a bully tries to negotiate by force.
If you’re the type of person who turns into a deer in headlights when faced with confrontation, this might come naturally. Or perhaps you want to jump straight in the ring to fight back.
Whatever your first impulse is, acknowledge it, but discipline yourself to pause before taking any action. Take five slow, complete breaths from the moment that you realize you’re being attacked. Slowing your breathing and heart rate will help you remain calm under pressure and maintain your composure. The thing the bully wants is to prove how tough he is by overwhelming and confusing you, which forces you to give in. Do not give him that satisfaction.
When he runs out of steam, if you haven’t completed your five breaths yet, keep breathing. Resist the impulse to fill the silence. Remaining calm and unflustered in the face of a bully is a way to quietly assert your power.
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