In my previous blog posts, my focus was on specific things we can do to process what is happening and how best to deal with bullies in the workplace. I promised to review the TSA process in full for this installment, and as I was preparing to do so, I came across this poster on Pinterest and had to share it. “Most of the problems in life are because of two reasons: we act without thinking, or we keep thinking without acting.” This notion is one of the underpinnings of Anger Solutions philosophy – that we must be conscious in our efforts to process our experiences and to make clear, informed decisions BEFORE we take action. In my book, Anger Solutions: Proven Strategies for Effectively Resolving Anger, I note that when we are angry and we act without thinking, we typically will lash out, use verbal aggression or verbal abuse, or perhaps even use physical aggression or abuse to express our ire. Whe we think without acting, anger is internalized resulting in physical ailments, emotional upset, and distress. Bitterness, resentment, mood disturbances, “trust issues”, insomnia, heart disease, diabetes, depression, chronic inflammation (fibromyalgia, polymyalgia, asthma) and other illnesses can be linked directly to the stress that is caused by the internalization of negative emotions. This is why TSA is so important and inherently essential to the resolution of anger.

T: Think – what is happening? What does it mean? How do I feel about it? What is the lifetime value of this event? How would I like this to be resolved? What is the best thing that can happen if I choose this option? What is the worst thing that can happen if I choose this option?

S: Say – Talk to the people who matter – who are directly involved in the issue you wish to resolve. No water cooler talk, no coffee talk. Don’t talk AROUND the issue: approach the issue head on. Say, “This is how I feel and this is why. These are my expectations for the future. I am observing these behaviours and this is what they mean to me. In future, for us to communicate clearly with each other/work more effectively together, this is what I need to happen.”

A: Ask – Invite the other party to engage in the dialogue. Remember – this is about resolution, not about winning. In order to resolve a problem people must work together. This means you advocate for your position but you do not become adversarial. You must also seek to accommodate the needs of the other party (within reason) as much as you hope they will accommodate your needs. Ask questions like, “Can you see where I’m coming from? Do we have an agreement? How can we work together so that this conflict does not arise again?” Asking the right kinds of questions indicates your commitment to understanding the other party. It demonstrates empathy, and a willingness to work together.

Whenever you have these kinds of conversations with your bullies (or with anyone else in the workplace with whom you might have conflict), document exactly what was said, who was there, and what the circumstances were surrounding the event. Be sure you also document the outcome of the conversation as you remember it. You never know when you may need the record of that conversation to back you up later.

If you are being bullied at work and need additional support to get through it, please call me toll free: 1-866-754-6169. I would be happy to assist. To learn more about my counselling services, visit:

Julie Christiansen