Disrespect or Bullying?
What’s the difference between disrespect and bullying? According to a recent post by the author and workplace bullying expert Valerie Cade, the difference appears to be about self-awareness and intention.
Most of us who aren’t bullies have been unintentionally disrespectful toward a co-worker at one time or another (I know I have and I’m not proud of it). But most times we’ve been unaware we’ve done it until someone brings it to our attention. Then we’re embarrassed and may even attempt to find a way to apologize and make it right.
But, according to Cade, a bully is disrespectful on purpose, does so repeatedly and gets some kind of self-gratification from it. If you’ve ever been the target of a bully, as I have, you know from first hand experience that she is right.
So, what do you do about it?
Cade says it’s possible to address someone’s disrespectful behavior by calling it to their attention privately and without blaming and shaming. Or, she suggests you could try the “olive branch” approach, treat them as you would like to be treated, with respect.
But bullies are different: reasoning with them is next to impossible; and if you open up to them, it’s likely you’ll be exposing your vulnerability to them which they will then exploit. The point is: forget about trying to get through to bullies; proceed directly to a formal intervention, preferably by professionals who know how to do it.
Are you feeling disrespected? You might be able to get that resolved on your own. Are you being bullied? Don’t even try; get professional help.