Why does the organisation allow bullying?
- Good leaders don’t need to bully.
- Many organisations confuse bullying with leadership!
- Many organisations don’t understand the connection between poor leadership, inept management and a toxic culture on their staff wellbeing and productivity.
- Although managers are paid to manage many have no training, are not audited for their management skills and not made accountable for them. They don’t understand that bullying is a sign of interpersonal difficulties and professional incompetence.
- They don’t realise that bullying damages people and profits.
- They don’t want to use feedback to improve their company goals and therefore bully whistle-blowers.
- They can’t confront change without bullying.
- 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.
- Job descriptions can be inaccurate or change on a whim without due consultation and training.
- They misuse nepotism and favouritism.
- They empower the “boy’s club” or “girl’s clique” 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!
- They favour adversarial practices not collaborative ones.
- Thus most organisations 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!
The impact of the Covid 19 lockdown, (2020)
- Although there may be other factors to consider as regards the benefits of remote working vs working onsite, it appears that employees appear to be working better at home.
- According to one study, Benefits of Working from Home remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year.
- More than two-thirds of workers say they are more productive working at home than in an office and one in three believe the switch has made them less stressed. Natasha Boddy. Apr 2, 2020
- New survey shows 47% increase in productivity: Chris Westfall, Forbes May 20, 2020
- It is also worth noting that in the Gallup poll, there has been an historic drop in engagement following a record rise in the USA, ie July 2020, Jim Harter: Historic Drop in Employee Engagement
Perhaps employees feel generally more engaged, valued and included, and there is less opportunity for malicious gossip, denigration, and bullying!
Managers who bully or condone it:
- Lacks assertive leadership and management skills.
- 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 organisation, because they seem to obtain good, short term results.
- Enabled by their organisation 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 organisation 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, ineffective,
- 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.
Poor work cultures leads to many other mistakes and ethical failings.
How do you prevent and reduce workplace bullying?
- Take overall responsibility and insure a safe workplace. (The fish rots from the head down)
- Establish a collaborative, respectful culture, not an adversarial one.
- Install effective polices, programs and preventative measures.
- Validate targets’ concerns.
- Treat bully with respect and provide coaching
- Audit managers regularly for the quality of their management skills.
- Change toxic cultures into respectful ones.
- Use collaborative approaches to resolving differences not adversarial ones.
- Employ laws of natural justice.
- Remember that bullying is bad!!
- It isn’t worth sacrificing your health and wellbeing for a job that may pay well, have nice clients/customers, be enjoyable but is extremely stressful or for employers who don’t care about your health and safety.
- You have many options, you can stay at work and get psychological help to manage your stresses and block the bullies’ power or you can move on before you are seriously injured.!!!