What To Do When There is a “Mean Girl” In The Office?

What To Do When There is a “Mean Girl” In The Office?

Many of us can look back to when we were in school and remember a time when we were the victims of some form of bullying. For those of us that are lucky enough to have come of age before social media magnified the problem, most bullying usually started and ended in the classroom or schoolyard, and the situation could not blossom and spread virally as it does today.

But, if you believe that bullying stopped when you left the classroom for the workplace you are sadly mistaken. Bullying behavior is alive and well in the workplace, and if left unchecked, can cause valuable employees to seek employment elsewhere. As a business owner, you cannot afford to look the other way. Bullying behavior will undermine the morale of your employees and will ultimately impact productivity and the quality of work that is produced.

Consider these steps to ensure that there is no “mean girl” behavior in your office:

Create and Enforce a Written Anti-Bullying Policy

Looking at certain behaviors and deeming them as bullying is somewhat subjective, and while one person might consider their words and actions to be “just teasing and in good fun,” the person to whom these words and actions are directed, might feel very differently. It is important for your company to have a written policy that clearly and specifically sets forth all workplace behaviors that are considered unacceptable and will be viewed as workplace bullying. You can help to ensure that employees will demonstrate respectful behavior if you also include the specific actions steps that employees can take if they themselves are being bullied or if they observe such behavior occurring in the workplace. 

Conduct Anti-Bullying Training

This training must be mandatory for all employees and include but not be limited to the following topics:

  • Definition of Workplace Bullying 
  • What is a “Respectful” work environment
  • How bullying hurts the individual, the company AND the clients
  • Examples of verbal, written and cyber bullying
  • How to handle yourself if you are being bullied
  • What to do if you observe bullying behavior
  • Conflict resolution techniques

The training must be provided for all new hires and refresher training offered every year, or more frequently if bullying behavior is an ongoing challenge in your office.

Promote a Workplace Culture of Respect, Inclusion and Appreciation

Most employees want to do a good job at work. A company that supports their efforts, recognizes and rewards good performance, and provides a safe and respectful environment is a company that enjoys excellent employee retention and growth. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Promote a positive work environment by making certain that the lines of communication are open between all employees and their Supervisors and Managers.
  • Hold everyone in the company accountable for demonstrating respect and courtesy in the workplace. There should be no exceptions!
  • Actively strive for diversity in the office and encourage employees to share information about their culture and customs in internal documents such as memos and office newsletters.
  • Of course, remember that employees will often mimic the behavior they observe. Be 100% confident that your Managerial staff is leading appropriately and that there is no “outlier” in your midst.

Mean Girls might have been a light-hearted and fun movie but there is just no room for “mean girl” behavior at work! 

Remember Bullying might be from a co-worker or Manager
Read: What to do about Workplace Bullying


For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, gail@ubsassociates.com or call (516) 935-5641.

By admin July 23, 2019