Work With Them Anyway

We don’t need to like people in order to work with them. If they are a co-worker bully enemy (or a potential enemy), I get strategically closer to them, if I feel there is potential in them.

“Know thyself, know thy enemy… a thousand battles, a thousand wins.” Sun Tzu.

Usually, adversary workforce bullies have been bullied by a role model before (many times by a parent or a close relative) when they were very young. It’s a debilitating learned behavior for them, an Albert Bandura teaches us in his well discussed social learning theory.

This kind (bullies) are often screaming for help with their actions and words. I’ve turned around bully adversaries from a foe to an ally too many times simply by making the effort to get to know and working with them. They are often loners because their interpersonal communication style is too confrontational and eventually… they explode without warning.

Most human beings like peace and no conflict. That’s why bullies strike first. They, however, struggle in the workforce especially if they encounter a person who embraces war, ain’t afraid to fight, and is strategic about it.

Fact: In every organization, there are people who embrace conflict and fight back. It’s the end of the bully’s ride and the beginning of retreat.

Eventually, workforce bullies get physically sick, suffer a major mental breakdown or both for losing control of a situation they deem under control. They own personalities are very bad for them. It’s a handicap, I would say.

The clever ones minimize their attacks and start realizing that firing a nuke on someone can have severe consequences to them. Many of them learn quickly that it ain’t worth striking a well defended target again.

I don’t take things personally in the workforce. I don’t hate bullies or wish them success. I will fight them when the time is right, if necessary. Maybe you should do the same. As my mentor combat veteran Kurt once said, “Going go war is good sometimes.” It establishes boundaries.

God instructs us to love our enemies in Luke 6:27-36. Sometimes, loving others is calling them on their own evil actions and doing something about it.

Perhaps we all should love those we don’t like (even if they are a bully) by working with them. Sure, there is a risk — There is the risk of getting burned by that person but a person who don’t like you (or that you don’t like) can (and probably will) be a problem anyways whether you work with them or not especially the bully kind.

My advice? Give them a shot. See if you can collaborate with them. You may even like work with them after a while. Can you turn a bully into an ally? They are crying for attention!

Try them, why not?

Author: Dr. Luis Camillo Almeida

Communication Arts professor who has taught over a thousand students in his career. By empathizing with his students, he advises them to think with no box and motivates them to have a successful college life. Through his multifaceted approach to traditional and new medias, his students have the opportunity to become better communicators. Dr. A has helped hundreds of young adults to truly discover who they are, what makes them tick and where their passions lie, in order to achieve long term success in life. He is a very productive college professor who can be found on a variety of social media outlets, public and academic sources, and even on merchandise showcasing his photographic art. Technology complements but doesn’t define him. Colleges house him but can’t hold him.

2 thoughts

  1. Your advice is on target. I have tried to get along with many bullies in my 30+ years in the work world. More often than not, i ended up having a good relationship with the person. In one instance, the person broke down during a one-to-one meeting and told me about his abusive father. A bit of empathy and kindness goes a long way.

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