Have you ever been bullied or the subject of gossip at work? Or, (and it’s OK to admit it) have you ever bullied someone else? I have.

Running a business, leading a team, or furthering your career is challenging enough without the added aggravation of dealing with…let’s call her what she is—the office bitch.

She is easy to spot. She spreads rumors, divulges secrets, or singles out other people only to embarrass or intimidate them. Sometimes it is so obvious that you just shake your head and walk away. Other times, there can be a lot of behind-the-scenes scheming involved and you don’t even realize what’s really going on even when it happens right in front of you.

If you are the target of this behavior at work, there is a very good chance you will not get the correct or complete information you need to do your job properly. In some cases, it means you can’t get the job done at all and you end up looking unproductive.

Gossipers waste time and sow discontent. Bullies are insecure cowards who have fears of inadequacy. These people often go after an organization’s best employees. Why? Because gossipers and bullies can’t stand it when others are better, more qualified, and move ahead faster than they do.

Could you be doing these things without even realizing it? To ensure you are not an unintentional bully, it is important to follow the first pillar of The Women’s Code: Awareness. You have to pay attention to the ways you conduct yourself. Once we are more aware of our own behaviors, the next step is to adjust and change the way we act.

Savvy women know there’s no place for bad behavior at the workplace. They step up and become the change they want to see. They understand people are sensitive and they are aware of how their words could be received. They know the best way to convey something is to start with a positive comment and end on a high note.

We can each be leaders by raising our standards—our own core codes of conduct—so we neither inflict nor participate in gossip or bullying. You only have control over one thing—yourself. Your attitude and professionalism can set the right example.

These are the top DOs and DON’Ts that will make you stand out as a woman who leads on C.U.E. (Compassion, Uniqueness, Empowerment).

• Spread gossip, not even a little
• Criticize or belittle others
• Make snide comments or cut people off when they’re speaking
• Critique another woman’s appearance
• Purposely exclude a person, even if you make it seem “accidental”
• Sabotage a person or project by withholding information
• Take things (too) personally
• Judge everything on how it relates to only you
• Think you are Wonder Woman

• Be aware of how you treat and speak to people; there is always room for improvement
• Give constructive criticism but end on a high note
• Set boundaries to repel negative and critical people
• Collaborate and ask others for their input
• Stand up to bullies; identify the behavior when you see it and don’t participate
• Accept others for who they are, because everyone has something to contribute
• Adopt a new perspective and make women your allies, not your enemies
• Ask for support and be prepared to give it

This year I will traveling the country and the globe to spread the message of The Women’s Code. My next stop is New York City. If you are interested in attending please catch the details here.

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