The Organisation

Why does the Organization allow bullying?

  • Many organizations don't understand the connection between leadership and culture on their staff wellbeing and productivity.
  • They don't understand that bullying is a sign of interpersonal difficulties and therefore professional incompetence.
  • They don't realise that bullying damages people and profits.
  • They don’t want to use feedback to improve their company goals.
  • They can’t confront change without bullying.
  • They confuse bullying with leadership! Good leaders don’t need to bully.
  • They have poor management skills and lack suitable training and accountability.
  • They bully instead of dealing with conflict.
  • They don't want to know about any interpersonal, work or safety difficulties.
  • Many managers are disengaged themselves from their company’s goals.
  • Their social capital audit and financial accountability is low.
  • Their management skills are limited.
  • Job descriptions can be inaccurate or change on a whim without due consultation and training.
  • They misuse nepotism and favouritism.
  • They empower the "boys club" or "girls group" at the expense of others.
  • Their staff training to develop social wellbeing is negligible.
  • Their responsibility to respect each employee's perspective is restricted.
  • They allow bullying to take the focus off other difficulties.
  • They use bullying to disguise incompetence, fraud, malpractice or criminal behaviours.
  • They allow others to bully and support bullying, including peers/bystanders/witnesses/onlookers and subordinates (upwards bullying).
  • They forget or are unaware that work safety and well-being lead to improved performance and productivity!
  • In other words: Most organizations have a MAJOR BLIND SPOT; they think that unhappy employees work hard. In fact, they become disengaged, waste time, make mistakes and ultimately sabotage their employer’s need to remain productive and profitable

Managers who bully or condone it:

  • Lacks assertive leadership and management skills.
  • Incompetent.
  • Unconfident.
  • Lacks respect and empathy for staff.
  • Under pressure to achieve goals.
  • Under threat to protect their job.
  • Poor social survival skills.
  • Mean, aggressive, or psychopathic.
  • Abuse or use people instead of guiding them.
  • Expected to bully to achieve.
  • Believe it's OK to bully as long as the work is done.
  • Empowered by their organization, because they seem to obtain good, short term results.
  • Enabled by their organization to bully.
  • They turn a blind eye to bullies because they're ignorant or it reflects badly upon employer to denigrate and dismiss them (until they're too hot to handle and then dismiss them.)
  • Bully to remain in control or enable others to bully, creating a pattern for everyone else.

The impact of workplace bullying

The organization loses money

The loss to organizations has been calculated at between $AUD 17 and 36 billion for Australia, a relatively small population! (Workplace Bullying Project Team, Griffith's University (2001). Some examples:

  • Lost productivity
  • Bullies are inefficient
  • Reduced motivation
  • Poor team work
  • Brain drain - good employees leave
  • Employees waste time defending and protecting themselves
  • Bystander fear and distress
  • Frustration and apathy
  • Negative public relations
  • Expensive mistakes
  • Can't identify fraud and unethical behaviours or waste resources disguising them
  • Unnecessary administration, Workcover and other costs etc.

The economy as a whole also suffers

This includes general community costs such as unemployment benefits, expensive mistakes (eg bullying leading to machinery breakdown) family breakdown, car accidents, illness, medical costs and hospital care.

How do you prevent and reduce workplace bullying?

  • Take responsibility and insure a safe workplace.
  • Install effective polices, programs and preventative measures.
  • Validate targets' concerns.
  • Treat bully with respect and provide coaching
  • Use collaborative approaches to resolving differences not adversarial ones.
  • Employ laws of natural justice.
  • Read the appropriate chapters in Bully Blocking at Work ( 2010)

Targets - bullying is bad - but you have many options to stay at work and cope or to move on before you are seriously injured!!!