It’s inevitable that at some point in time you will encounter workplace bullying. Some is obvious, whether it be a verbal or physical action that gives it away. However, there are some types you may not have known were bullying at all. Here are some of the most common:

Stealing credit. You’ve come up with a wonderful idea, which you either mention to, or work on with, your superiors or a coworker. However, this superior or coworker portrays themselves to others as having both come up with and followed through with the idea, with no mention of you. It’s unfortunate because you get neither the credit nor the benefits of completing the project or implementing the idea.

Not returning calls or ignoring emails. This happens quite often. In the workplace people need to work together. Everyone has their own plans, timelines and deadlines. However, when someone doesn’t return your calls or emails, it can set everyone behind, ruin a schedule and even hurt the business. Intentionally ignoring emails or phone calls because of not doing what was requested is a form of workplace bullying.

Flaunting status. Almost always at work you will have a superior. However, when this person exploits their status it can become an issue. They want to be a leader but instead of building up the staff they may focus on negatives or instances where someone messed up. Their thought process is that they are failures. You feel that the environment is oppressive, and you can’t bring up any ideas for fear that if it doesn’t work you will be negatively impacted.

Withholding information. In many instances information can be power. You may be surprised to find out that another department has withheld information you need. You may not be alerted to changes to meeting locations or times at which important information is disseminated. This can be devastating if those changes include policies in the workplace or for properly working with patients. Not having information about changes in insurance and the way they are reimbursed could delay payments and result in losses for the business.

Leading people on. This occurs when someone congratulates you or celebrates your accomplishments to lead you on or use you. It may even go hand in hand with stealing credit or may be a tactic to make you feel as though you are doing well when you could be doing much more. They may make sarcastic commentary towards your work. This is a difficult one to catch as you may not be able to tell the person is being dishonest.

What can you do?

Cleanse your mind. Remember that this is not your fault, so don’t blame yourself. It may be unintentional, but if it is intentional don’t let it get to you. Take a day or two off and consider the positives about your job.

Documentation is crucial. This isn’t necessarily to show anyone, but to have evidence and a reminder of what was done, when, and where. Write it down while it is still fresh in your mind. This way, you have detailed information and know this isn’t something you’re trying to recall off the top of your head.

Have a civilized talk. If your bully is stealing your credit, not returning messages, etc., it’s time you talk to them. Be as positive as possible when mentioning what they are doing and how it’s negatively affecting your ability to work.

Leave. This isn’t the first thing that you should consider, especially if you love your work and are doing well. Try the previously mentioned steps first. But there is no shame in leaving if nothing changes. You shouldn’t have to put up with any type of bullying, especially at work. 

DR. MARIA SAMPALIS is the owner of Sampalis Eyecare in Warwick, RI. She is a practice management consultant, the founder of Corporate Optometry on Facebook and founder of corporateoptometrycareers.com and corporateoptometry.com, as well as consulting for the FDA. You can email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


This article originally appeared in the April 2018 edition of INVISION.   

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