Staffing Management

Dear Workforce How Do We Stop a Bully Director?

By Staff Report

Aug. 15, 2011

Dear Perception and Reality:

Bullying and abusive behaviors are action-and-response interactions that may be experienced—and perceived—differently, depending on an individual’s mindset and the company’s workplace values.

Tackle your problem head-on. You should:

• Assess the behavioral actions of the director in the context of workplace cultures and practices.

• Listen to the director’s perspective. Probe for knowledge of what bullying behavior is.

• Listen to the employees complaints and emerging work challenges driven by the director’s behavior.

• Check your records for historical complaints to see if there is a pattern of complaints of bullying or verbal abuse.

• Discuss the facts and the findings with HR colleagues and senior management to determine if bullying is occurring and actions to take.

If your company culture has unwittingly supported bullying (thus creating a perception that it is acceptable), it’s time to build new awareness, new structure and new processes.

According to research by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 70 percent of bullies are bosses. Those bosses get most of their support comes from human resources. Each of the players may perceive they have been reinforced positively for their behavior, unaware of how it fosters an unproductive work environment. Raise the awareness of management, your HR staff and employees about what bullying and mistreatment “look like”:

• Develop and implement a complaint-and-investigative process for accountability of all employees.

• Develop and implement rewards for changed behavior and results.

Remember, too, that executives and other leaders face the same badgering from bullies. This may make them unwilling to confront the bully, fearful of the conflict, the outcomes and potential lawsuits. Thus bullying thrives when the target remains silent–creating a perpetual cycle.

SOURCE: Rebecca Vaiuso, principal, Bottom Line Results Corp., Irvine, California

LEARN MORE: Experts say the economic slump has triggered a rise in belligerent behavior on the part of supervisors.

Workforce Management Online, August 2011Register Now!

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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