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Empowering Strategies: How to Effectively Deal with Cyberbullies

As a leader, you must have an online presence. Unfortunately, there are people who enjoy harassing or threatening others online. They are called cyberbullies.

In this article we will discus how you as a business owner and leader can protect yourself from cyberbullying. 

Cyberbullies is just limited to kids. Right?

A few years ago, I had the misfortune of meeting a cyberbully LinkedIn. This particular person took the time to create a post to shame my background and experience. It was amazing that a grown person would delight in trying to make others feel bad online.

This person did not stop there. In addition, he said that he went through all my social media accounts. Upon conclusion of his report, he said I was a nobody who with zero online engagement. 

That interaction hurt (to say the least). My biggest fears came to fruition. I was called a fraud, phony and a nobody - for all to see.

He deleted the original post and sent a sanitized version (less the insults) of the same message to me via direct message. In the private message he also invited me to a free consultation where he would teach me how to grow my network.

I’m convinced God wanted me to see who this person REALLY was. That’s why I was able to see his original message. I thanked him for the message but did not schedule an appointment with him.

I really thought that cyberbullies and online harassment happened to kids on Instagram. Well, I was wrong. Adults also can be the victim of this vicious form of assault.

Choose to be brave and confront your fears.

To be honest with you, I felt uncomfortable, vulnerable and unsure of what to do next. So, I decided to do the bravest thing I could imagine. I shared to my entire LinkedIn network (which included him) both messages he wrote to me.

As a result of that interaction, I wondered how many people are his clients BECAUSE of these aggressive and manipulative tactics. Probably many. It’s funny how so many people confused aggressive with confidence. 

Please, never let cyberbullies or anyone to treat you with wanton disrespect. In the past, I would have just ignored events like this. I would have pretended it didn’t happen. But not this time, I needed to take a stand. 

I hope you can and will take stand as well. Don’t allow anyone to treat as their own personal punching bag.

You don’t have to respond to bullying. There are other options. Block, mute or report the post are also other good choices.

LinkedIn has community standards regarding appropriate behavior on their platform. Take the time to read it when you get the chance. 

Need to create new connections with confidence?

Need to help to connect with others online without fear? Click here to listen to this podcast episode or press the play button below.

Next, let’s talk about how to recognize the signs for cyberbullying. This will help you to recognize if someone showing threatening or harmful behavior.

Recognize the signs of cyberbullying

Bullying on LinkedIn or other social networks happen more often that you think. Unfortunately, so many people do not recognize that it looks like.

In Shelly Elsliger’s article, “Add To Your LinkedIn ‘Superpowers’ By Building A Bully-Alert System” describes how you can be bullied in LinkedIn.

  • Undervaluing content from those they consider to have less knowledge and experience than them.
  • Trying to prove that others are not good enough by putting them down and slashing their credibility.
  • Calling others out and challenging their content in a negative, sarcastic and demeaning way.
  • Indulging in name-calling. Humiliating and embarrassing others, spreading rumors and intentionally excluding targeted people.
  • Negatively commenting on posts and stirring things up to get other bullies to follow the pack.
  • Discrediting others’ work.
  • Preying on peoples’ vulnerability.
  • Take a stand for yourself if someone does one or more of these things listed above.

You don't have to respond to bullying. Choose to block, mute or report harmful content.

I would advise you not to run away from bullying. Bullies thrive on the weakness and fear of their prey. Confronting them will help you become a stronger person.

We can be authentic while being vulnerable. That is why I am sharing my stories in the hope you can also be brave during moments of frustration, fear or stress.

“I’m not going to teach people to treat me like crap. Someone will attack my reputation and credibilty. This isn’t a question of if, but when.”

I remember my mentor Gina once saying that she was bad-mouthed by a former client online. Gina’s first reaction was to ignore it and feel embarrassed. 

Then my mentor summoned her inner courage took a stand for herself and said, “How I conduct my business isn’t a secret. I have nothing to hide.” 

And here I am now taking a stand for myself and anyone else who is intimidated by a stranger. And whatever happens, happens. 

Make no mistake, good or bad - everything happens FOR you, not TO or AGAINST you. 

Growing your business with support 

Growing a business is not easy, especially when you are facing criticism and judgment from strangers. If you need support, consider working with me today.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed and never let anyone steal your joy. ☺️

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