Office Bullying

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an apology: The co-worker then issued a very fake apology. How do I respond to this?

I was recently bullied by a co-worker. Our CEO had a meeting with her to address this issue, as I am not the first to suffer at this person’s hands, and the co-worker then issued a very fake apology. How do I respond to this?

Signed, How???

Dear How???:

I assume that her apology was oral and that you already responded in some fashion; with a thank you or at least a nod. If so, I’d say no more. Wouldn’t it be best if you don’t label her apology as fake and rather interpret it as positive, even if you feel it was reluctant?

“Eating crow” is not easy for anyone, especially someone who has been in the habit of bullying. If the apology was written, you might be more explicit, such as: “Thank you. I trust this means you understand that I don’t want to be bossed by you or talked down to and you will appreciate it if I remind you should you do that again. Hopefully we can now cooperate to make this place productive and worker-friendly. Sally, again. Thank you.”

You can use more appropriate language because you must have described specifically what she did that was bullying to your CEO. A pro-active approach at this juncture might be to collaboratively spell out the tasks that you and she must do that entail interaction. List them and determine who does what, when, where, and what exactly you need to each do and say. Also agree WHEN you must clarify assignments and to get their approval when completed.

Apparently, if you took this bullying to the CEO, you have a relatively small workplace. This is all the more reason to make it a rule to assist whenever it is possible and cheer each other on. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.  By that, as you might guess, I mean that work doesn’t get done solo and that a workplace is one in which me, me, me must be transformed into a we, we, we. When that happens it benefits all.

William Gorden