What's the difference between conflict and bullying? Uncover the difference between healthy disagreement and deviant behavior, so you can be fair in conflict but also know when you're dealing with a bully.
- It can be tough to spot the difference between conflict and bullying. Why am I bringing this up? Well, sometimes conflict is so stressful that it overwhelms us and we might feel bullied, but conflict and bullying are two very different things. According to the National Bullying Prevention Center conflict is a disagreement where both sides respectfully express their views. Conflict can happen between two people at work, an employee and a boss, or even a freelancer and a client. Bullying is repeated negative behavior by an individual or group of people who have power and control over another person. There is no dialogue, no talk of resolution, only disrespectful behavior with no end in sight. A quick way to know the difference between conflict and bullying, conflict ends. All parties agree to move forward in a professional manner, even if mistakes were made while communicating feelings. With bullying, there is no end in sight. You are not being bullied if your boss doesn't like your work, but you might be a victim of bullying if your boss repeatedly subjects you to tough and unconstructive feedback in a way that's meant to cause you emotional pain. A coworker who doesn't warm up to you isn't a bully, but someone who creates a campaign to exclude you from social activities at work may be bullying you. If you have concerns about how you're being treated, don't even worry about the labels. Get some help. Confide in a boss, a peer, or an ally. Speak to your HR department. Send me a message on LinkedIn. Don't let up until someone agrees to help you end it. Bullying is unacceptable under any circumstance. If you know the difference between conflict and bullying, you can recognize the behaviors in the workplace and be an advocate for yourself and for others.