Recipients of workplace aggression experience an enormous amount of trauma and often seek out advice on how to manage. Reporting the bully is often suggested to receivers to help them cope with workplace bullying. Yet reporting the aggressor puts the receiver at high risk to experience more workplace aggression not less. 

As such, receivers need to manage workplace bullying differently. One of the ways they can do this is to develop a strategic plan focusing on harm reduction. For recipients, this includes thinking of ways to minimize the violence they are experiencing. 

Receivers should identify the types of aggression most often used and the times when they are most at-risk to encounter aggression. Once a receiver has identified these, they can think about ways to cope more effectively and reduce exposure to workplace bullying.  As receivers begin to brainstorm ideas on how to reduce harm, they should always ensure that the strategy they use is not going to harm their professional standing or reputation. Recipients should develop multiple strategies for the various situations that they can use.

For example, if the aggressor frequently corners the receiver in their office, recipients can develop escape plans or ways to divert the bully away from them without the aggressor suspecting anything. When a receiver hears the bully coming down the hallway, they might make a phone call or find a reason to leave their office, such as getting coffee or using the restroom. 

Another way to reduce harm for receivers is to manage their emotions.  Being a receiver of bullying is stressful and it causes intense emotions. However, receivers are more vulnerable to bullying when their emotions are high. Recipients, therefore, need to make sure that they are always in control of their reactions and behaviors so they do not give the aggressor an opportunity to attack. Bullies will also use these times to show that the receiver is not able to control their behavior and are in fact unprofessional.  

Receivers should try to avoid the aggressor as much as they possible can. Not having contact with the aggressor does reduce the amount of bullying. This can be an effective strategy to use. However, it should not be used if it will harm the receiver’s professional standing or their ability to do their job in anyway.

Recipients need to focus on reducing their harm while also ensuring that they maintain their high professional behavior. This can be a difficult balance, but with planning and support, it can be done. My survival guide is a helpful resource that identifies other effective strategies for receivers.

If you or your organization is experiencing workplace bullying, please contact me at jankircher@jankircher.com or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at www.jankircher.com. Help is out there. 



06/27/2017 9:26pm

Let's admit the fact that some bosses in our workplace can be very hard to deal with. They give you the feeling that you should dedicate all your time working for them, which is a very wrong idea. An employee shouldn't be a victim of workplace aggression in any reason because no one deserves to be treated like that. I hope the upper management will realize that as soon as possible.

08/24/2017 2:18am

Workplace aggression is inevitable. Companies are run by humans and humans make mistakes. That is our nature, we are not perfect. The management should have a good strategy in the workplace to avoid and minimize workplace aggression. This should be taken with utmost priority. I couldn't wait more.


That problem still exists in many organizations.


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