It is probably not the advice that anyone who has dealt with a workplace bully wants to hear.

But conflict resolution expert Gavan Podbury says that people who call themselves bullying victims are "losers" who need to learn how to resolve their own disputes.

Mr Podbury, a social Researcher and presenter, has conducted seminars around Australia teaching individuals and corporations how to communicate more effectively and deal with conflict.

"A lot of people talk about bullying these days (and) I'm going to be contentious and say that only losers call themselves victims," Mr Podbury said.

Comment: Anyone who is not equipped with the necessary knowledge to deal with pathological behaviour is a potential victim. That knowledge will have to include: the nature of the individuals and how they function; the methods they use to deceive and manipulate; effective strategies for defending oneself against them.

Everyone must take personal responsibility to educate themselves to this effect. However this same knowledge is consciously suppressed in our society by just those psychopaths who wish to take advantage of our ignorance. So calling those who have been denied this knowledge 'losers' is tantamount to blaming the victim.

"Think about it - once you're in a position where you are complaining about being bullied, you've already lost.

"Australians need to acquire conflict resolution skills and they need to get the motivation to use them."

Mr Podbury said developing tools for positively resolving conflict is essential because relying on colleagues to solve your problems will earn you a bad reputation.

HOW do you deal with workplace bullies? Tell us below.

"Everyone says they won't hold a complaint against you but they will," he said.

"It's easy to get a reputation as a whinger or a complainer, if you don't develop the skills necessary to deal with difficult people."

Bullying's high on workplaces

A report released by the Productivity Commission in August this year found that "the average cost of claims for work-related mental stress were much higher than the average cost for all workers' compensation claims."

The report took National Safe Work Australia (SWA) data showing a total of 5950 accepted or successful mental stress claims in 2007-08.

Australian Human Resources Institute head Serge Sardo said employers are responsible by law for preventing bullying in the workplace.

"There is also a strong moral obligation that is often neglected," Mr Sardo said.

He said that while many workplaces were becoming more effective at educating employees about bullying there were still problems "where the rubber hits the road."

"Even the most assertive, empowered and confident employee will not address bullying directly if they believe the culture of the organisation, particularly the leadership culture is not one that encourages employees to be assertive," he said.

"By allowing abusive managers to continue without reprimand because they achieve high sales ... (you) send a clear message to employees that regardless of the espoused rhetoric, bullying remains tolerated in this organisation."

Dealing with bullies

According to Mr Podbury, recognising different personality traits is the first step to resolving a conflict.

"People basically are born with one of four quite different temperaments," he said.

"I refer to them as the blue, gold, green and orange temperaments. Most managers tend to have the green temperament - they are driven to achieve outcomes and are often insensitive to people's needs and feelings."

Orange types need to have the opportunity to vary what they do, Mr Pobury said.

"Being in the same job for a long time is death to them... expect oranges to be always looking for something new - and preferably something active that has some adventure."

This contrasts with those with a blue temperament. They tend to be "natural people's people" who care deeply for others and are sensitive to their needs.

"Blues want you to say hello to them in the morning, and may be deeply offended if you don't," he said.

Finally, gold types tend to make up the vast majority of administration workers, Mr Podbury said.

"They are people who crave predictability and structure, (so you should) tell them what you want and leave them alone.

"Whatever you do, do not change the position of the goal posts - this upsets and alienates them. Golds who are under stress whinge a lot."

Comment: Missing from this picture, is the disproportionate havoc that is caused by psychopathic personalities in the workplace, usually unrecognised. Psychopaths work under the cover of secrecy, oppression, deception and misdirection. 'Snakes In Suits' by Hare and Babiak provides a detailed description. In order to defend yourself against them, first you have to Spot The Psychopath If You Can.

Top tips for dealing with conflict:

- Remember the 3 As - for every situation you are in you can accept, alter or avoid the problem.

- Tell people what you can do, not what you can't do - presenting solutions to an identified problem will help defuse the situation.

- Behaviour that's ignored is behaviour that's endorsed - most people will ignore a behaviour they disapprove of but complain to their friends or co-workers.

- Not all problems are solvable - sometimes you need to know how to cut your losses.

- Some problems are solvable but the solutions are not palatable - dealing with conflict means you will sometimes have to make hard decisions.

Lifeline - 13 11 14 (24-hour help line)
SANE Australia on 1800 18 SANE (7263)
Beyondblue Info Line 1300 22 4636