I had the distinct pleasure of encountering a workplace bully yesterday and today. Over what isn't important, but Bully decided that the correct response to a miscommunication (on Bully's part, not on mine) was to attack and threaten. Even the medium used - a chat system - was used to intimidate, oh and to not leave a record. He could have easily called or emailed to ask, but instead it was in a medium that assumes a level of privacy and intimacy, leaving me no choice but to feel the full extent of this wrath. The best way to deal with him, as far as I can tell is to remain calm, and treat the situation like I do when T, my 2 and a half year old, has a meltdown over some equally important issue (missing bunny, doesn't want to go potty ever again, wants waffles, now doesn't want waffles, etc). However, with Bully, he then tends to escalate his rage to someone really important, and I find that I am just the stepping stone in the building anger pyramid.
What I find remarkable is that Bully seems to be consistent in his path to anger and his approach: Ask question that appears to be reasonable, freak out at answer he knew was coming, harass me on chat and threaten livelihood, then go yell at someone really important. What I don't understand is that if Bully has this reputation, and it's growing, why everyone allows this behavior. I've taken to documenting Bully's chats just in case he actually does freak out and physically harm someone, as he threatens. Good times.