Image via Wikipedia
I found the above article by Laura Petrecc which I though may interest readers of my blog. She talks about bullying, how often the first thought when bullying is mentioned is that of phyical form of bullying, next comes bullying within schools. Often overlooked is the fact that bullying also happens in the workplace.
She talks about how bullying is assumed to target others on the grounds of;
- or anything that is physically manifested such as disability or difference in appearance or behavior.
Work bullying does not restrict itself to that of colleagues but also comes from those who benefit from managerial positions. Click on the link above to read her full article.
Many organisations including the public sector carry out staff surveys and sadly there is often a notable percentage of staff who have experienced or witnessed workplace bullying, additionally we often also see an percentage of staff surveyed who decline to comment on this. What is the reason why someone would decline to comment on a confidential staff survey? Is it because despite assurances from senior management that the workforce simply do not believe that ‘confidentiality’ is exactly that?
Another source who wished not to be named claimed that he, being a fresh graduate from the same company’s training of six months, had to request a sick leave due to stress after the manager demanded that he ought to make even more sales. He had made more than half-a-dozen sales in three weeks, a significant number for a ‘newbie.’
Do managers foster insecurity within the workforce? Do employees live in fear that if they speak up because they or their colleagues are being bullied that, especially in the current financial climate, they would be putting their employment at risk of termination or that they themselves would also become a victim because they are speaking out in support of others?
Many organisations have HR departments who are there to protect managers but who does the employee have to turn too? Many are told they can also turn to HR for assistance but how is the information utilised? Where there is a conflict how does the HR person deal with it if both sides of a situation are turning to them for advice or support?
What is the percentage of staff who are experiencing stress and difficulties in the workplace which can be put down to the culture of the management and the way they run the organisation with focus purely on hitting targets and not valuing the workforce they have already or not investing in them?
This entry was posted in Workplace and tagged bullying, disability, ethnicity, HR, HR departments, managers, public sector, race, sexual orientation, staff surveys, stress, wokplace, workplace bulling.
Image via Wikipedia
Check out these findings on work place bullying in America. There is no place for bullying in todays society whether it be in the school yard, online social networking sites or in the workplace. It is important people are given support and help when they speak up and out the bullies.
* 35% of workers have experienced bullying firsthand (37% in 2007, given the MOE, essentially equivalent)
* 62% of bullies are men; 58% of targets are women
* Women bullies target women in 80% of cases
* Bullying is 4X more prevalent than illegal harassment (2007)
* The majority (68%) of bullying is same-gender harassment
Prevalence of Workplace Bullying
35% of the U.S. workforce (an est. 53.5 million Americans) report being bullied at work; an additional 15% witness it. Half of all Americans have directly experienced it. Simultaneously, 50% report neither experiencing nor witnessing bullying. Hence, a “silent epidemic.”
Gender and Workplace Bullying
Both men and women bully, but the majority of bullying is same-gender harassment, which is mostly legal according to anti-discrimination laws and workplace policies. Women target women.
Cover of Nasty People
ONE of Wall Street’s most feared traders declares that employees who gossip about co-workers will be fired for behaving like “slimy weasels”.
Self-made billionaire Ray Dalio’s list of rules to his 1000 employees detailing behaviour that he would not tolerate at his firm, Bridgewater Associates, was leaked onto the internet.
Mr Dalio, who is estimated to be worth $4.75 billion, said any staff members who were overhead gossiping maliciously about a colleague three times would be fired, The Australian reports.
“Never say anything about a person you wouldn’t say to him directly,” he wrote in the document, called ‘Dalio rules’.
“If you do, you are a slimy weasel.”
The rule cuts both ways, with company meetings stored in a “transparency library” so staff can find out what their managers are saying about them. In turn, bosses can hear any nasty nicknames they have acquired.
Mr Dalio said that his workers loved his anti-gossip rules which he claimed promoted honesty within the workplace.
Gossip is passive bullying
Gossip is considered a passive form of bullying, where the victim is undermined behind their back, experts say.
There are no exact figures on the level of workplace bullying in Australia but research shows that around one in five people have experienced bullying in the workplace.
One New York life coach, Beth Weissenberger, teaches executives to find the source of gossip and punish the rumour-monger.
“Everyone draws up their own definition of what makes harmful gossip,” Ms Weissenberger said.
“I am not talking about the silly stuff – celebrities are fair game – but the toxic spite and resentment which kills camaraderie and gets in the way of running a business.
“(However) I have not heard of people being fired for gossip: that is new.”
One person’s ‘gossip‘ is another person’s way of networking, relationship building, sharing ideas and talking through technical problems. As an intravert, I love the idea of a peaceful office where I have more control over interruptions …
Publish Date: 07/06/2010 17:09
There’s an office gossip in every company. The only employee who thinks gardening means tending the office grapevine. The person who knows so much you’d swear s/he is bugging your office, and filling in the blanks with National Inquirer …
Publish Date: 06/30/2010 8:44
The market for coffee machines are better than ever … and without these consumer devices, where we were to hold the meeting Office gossip … there really is no place better suited to office gossip and office gossip “coffee … but do …
Publish Date: 07/05/2010 6:39
Founder of WORKS by Nicole Williams and author of best-selling career book Wildly Sophisiticated, Nicole Williams gives her unique perspective on what WORKS in the office. In this segment, Nicole Williams gives all the do’s and dont’s of office gossi…
From the D-generation
Gossip In The Office And Workplace / Educational Video. Production Company: Calvin Company; Keywords: workplace politics. Gossip in the workplace is a form of social interaction between two or more co-workers in which speculation and opinion about ot…
How to deal with workplace bullying
By Josie Chun
When you think of bullies, you may think of the beefy kid at school pushing and shoving the runt of the class. But bullies are no longer consigned to the school playground. They can be found in the workplace lurking around office cubicles, behind counters and desks or loitering around the water cooler – and more than your lunch money could be at stake.
Workplace bullying is not always overt; it can be subtle but insidious. It is a serious issue that not only causes a risk to the health and safety of the victim, but can also affect the whole business. And occasionally, as in the tragic case of 19-year-old Brodie Panlock who committed suicide as a response to workplace bullying, the consequences can be dire.
Bullying is more common than many people realise, with WorkSafe’s annual research consistently showing that 14 per cent of Victorian workers had experienced bullying.
No bullies in our house
While you may be extremely lucky to have a relaxed workplace, remember that not everyone shares the same sense of humour. People have different sensitivities and sometimes what is intended as playful joking can come across like a personal attack. Employees can be reluctant to tell employers how they feel for fear of causing trouble or losing their job. As an employer you may be unaware that bullying is taking place in your office, but it is your duty to provide a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of your workers.
It is also the responsibility of co-workers to speak up if they witness bullying in the workplace. Workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of others in the workplace. They also have a duty to cooperate with actions their employer takes to comply with OHS laws.
What is bullying?
Bullying can come in many forms but can generally be defined as repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety. Whether intended or not, bullying is an OHS hazard.
Bullying behaviour can be direct and can run the gamut from verbal abuse and putting someone down to spreading rumours or innuendo about someone, or interfering with someone’s personal property or work equipment.
It can also be indirect and includes behaviours such as unjustified criticism or complaints, deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities, deliberately denying access to information or other resources, withholding information that is vital for effective work performance, setting tasks that are unreasonably above or below a worker’s ability, deliberately changing work arrangements, such as rosters and leave, to inconvenience a particular worker or workers, setting timelines that are very difficult to achieve, and excessive scrutiny at work.
Bullying does not, however, include things like constructive feedback, downsizing or deciding not to select a worker for promotion.
The effects of bullying
Bullying has profound effects on both individuals and organisations, leading to loss of productivity, high staff turnover, increased absenteeism, drops in employee performance, low morale and possible legal costs. These are not things that businesses can afford to ignore, either from a professional or ethical standpoint.
Bullied individuals can be physically or psychologically damaged and are more likely to make mistakes that lead to injuries. They can also experience increased muscular tension and are more likely to develop occupational overuse syndromes and low back pain.
Workplaces need to develop and implement a policy on bullying prevention that sets out standards of behaviour and clearly identifies inappropriate behaviour that will not be tolerated.
Procedures should outline how reports of bullying will be dealt with and ensure that the process is objective, fair and transparent, as well as confidential.
The employer’s response should be guided by the following principles:
* Treat all matters seriously
* Act promptly
* Don’t victimise anyone who raises an issue of bullying
* Once a complaint has been made, all involved parties should be advised of available support and treated with sensitivity, respect and courtesy
* Act with impartiality towards all parties, avoiding any personal or professional bias
* Communicate with all parties about the process (how long it will take and what will happen), providing clear reasons for any actions taken
* Consult with health and safety representatives
* Treat all complaints with confidentiality, revealing details only to those directly involved
* Document the process, recording all meetings and interviews with details of who was present and agreed outcomes
How to deal with workplace bullying
Sometimes a clear and polite request to stop the behaviour, which can be made by the person affected, their supervisor or manager, or another appropriate person, is all that is required to stop the bullying behaviour. The supervisor or manager should document the request and its outcome.
In other cases, when the direct approach does not resolve the issue, mediation or discussion with a third party may be required. A neutral and independent person can assist resolution through discussion of the issues when all concerned parties agree to this approach.
When a serious allegation has been made, a formal investigation should be conducted to determine if the report of bullying is valid. At the end of an investigation, recommendations should be made about the measures that should be undertaken to resolve the matter, with the outcome communicated to the involved parties in a fair and unbiased way.
Strategies for resolution
There are a number of strategies that managers and employers can implement to put an end to bullying behaviour in the workplace:
* Gain a commitment from the perpetrator to cease the behaviour (direct approach)
* Move the perpetrator away from the affected person
* Require an apology
* Implement disciplinary action
* Mediation (where both parties agree to mediation and to the mediator)
* Provide coaching, counselling support and/or mentoring to the affected person
* Provide a structured program to reintegrate the person into the workplace
* Review workplace policy with all workers and managers
* Run an awareness update
* Provide workgroup and organisation-wide training
Join Valerie Cade as she explains the difference between working with workplace bullies vs. difficult people. Valerie is a workplace bullying expert, speaker and author of Bully Free at Work which is distributed in over 100 countries worldwide.
Slide show about the ineffectiveness of most organization’s dealing with a workplace bully.
A significant number of U.S. workers say they are— and soon those in New York may be able to sue their employers, including small businesses, for any suffering they experience at the hands of a toxic boss or other workplace bully. …
Publish Date: 05/26/2010 22:06
Bully for you: Intimidation at work
Personal intimidation in the workplace can be hard to define and doesn’t always come from above. Cath Janes looks at the grey area where bluntness ends and bullying begins
Bullying happens in many places, put is often hard to define in the workplace. Illustration: Simon Pemberton
The allegations levelled against Gordon Brown this week are a timely reminder that bullying is not simply the domain of the playground. Workplace bullying is on the rise, a by-product of the added pressure placed on workers and employers by the recession.
It can be hard to know where to draw the line between gruff management style and intimidation of a darker, more personal nature. Yet for some, the question of whether their boss is a bully needs no debate.
“Early in my career I had a boss so awful that I used to cry over the things he said,” says lawyer Julie English. “Nothing I did ever seemed good enough and he used to have tantrums and shout at people. Then two years later I found myself working with a boss who prided himself on his honesty. He was really brutal and I sometimes wondered if he too was deliberately trying to make me cry. Looking back, I was surrounded by dysfunctional people.”
It’s a familiar tale: tears, tantrums, the nagging feeling that you’re no good. So it may surprise you to know that English doesn’t believe this was bullying. “It never even occurred to me that this constituted bullying,” she says. “They were difficult colleagues but they made me raise my game and made me a better lawyer. I learned a lot of lessons from them that other, kinder bosses failed to teach me.”
Employers should have zero tolerance for intimidation or bullying, but does that mean there is no place for straight talking?
According to the Department of Trade and Industry, bullying is the intimidation of an employee by physical or verbal violence, abuse or humiliation. It includes being picked on, being unfairly treated or blamed for incidents, being routinely overworked and consistently denied career or training opportunities. It is behaviour that happens privately or in front of colleagues and in any form of communication.
It is an issue underpinned by startling statistics. A recent survey by the Unison union and Company magazine revealed one-third of young women claim to have been bullied, often by other women. The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) claims 70% of managers have witnessed bullying in the last three years and that bullying costs the UK £13.8bn per year.
Yet there is a danger in confusing bullying with straight talking. To assume that the latter is always the former could make us incapable of looking our colleagues in the eye for fear of unbalancing their delicate constitutions. So when is a bullying boss really only a gruff manager?
When their comments are connected to the work and not the person, says Mandy Rutter, clinical manager at Axa Icas, health and wellbeing specialist: “They won’t have personal criticisms about that person, won’t single them out and will be consistently straight talking with everybody. It may be difficult to hear comments connected to performance or behaviour but it is also adult-to-adult communication with evidence to back it up.”
Honesty can be warranted yet cruel and, according to Rutter, when we are under stress we respond emotionally.
There are occasions, though, when tough talking is needed. The recession has demonstrated this and redundancies, restructuring and bankruptcy have forced us to have the difficult conversations we’d rather avoid.
“We need to get better at having robust dialogue because difficult conversations about employee performance are one of the biggest challenges for managers and it’s too often avoided,” says Penny de Valk, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership and Management. “If there is not a performance culture in an organisation some employees will see this as bullying because they haven’t experienced it before. In fact it can be beneficial to have a frank approach and staff can thrive on that clarity. It is not bullying to address important issues, gain clarity or acknowledge what an employee has done to contribute to an issue. Softening the message too much means it can get lost.”
Nina Dar, founder of Cheeky Monkey, a change management consultancy, agrees. She admits she shocks clients’ employees because she is direct and honest, but believes this is the key to success.
“I’ve had grown men tell me that I’m scary. I’ve also seen people cry because of my comments. Yet increasingly we see employees who are happy to work with this style because they want to be treated like adults who can handle challenges,” she says.
“This is different to bullying, which means hurting someone, lashing out at them, being inconsistent and chipping away at their confidence. I recognise that if employees want to work as a team they have to talk to each other honestly. It’s about having adult conversations and enjoying the results.”
Yet tough talking can become bullying, an easy line to cross. Bullies erode an employee’s judgment, sometimes so subtly that it is hard to know what is unacceptable. The issue is further complicated by the stereotypes. We can be so busy scrutinising superiors for bullying behaviour we forget to scrutinise those alongside or below us.
“I took on a job with managerial responsibility and one colleague, to whom I was senior, caused me enormous problems,” says teacher Mike Durrant. “He was an awkward character and refused to co-operate with the changes I was proposing. He’d deliberately miss meetings and refuse to share tasks. I complained to our line manager and was told to learn to deal with him.
“It got worse. He’d shout at me in classrooms or meetings and became determined to battle me. I also discovered that my predecessor had left because of him, as had someone more senior. I had no control over him and my managers did nothing either, so I had no one to turn to for help.”
Durrant developed such serious depression he had to be hospitalised and has been unable to work since 2008. He is in no doubt this bullying is responsible for his ill health.
According to a CMI survey, 63% of managers have witnessed bullying between peers and 30% have witnessed subordinates bullying their managers.
Yet while some behaviour, such as discrimination, threats or violence, is clearly defined legally, bullying is a grey area. Elin Pinnell, an employment law specialist at Capital Law LLP, says: “There should be zero tolerance of bullying in any workplace yet there is no rule book about what defines it. Take swearing. If you work on a building site and it is part of the daily banter, does this constitute bullying? You can debate it until you are blue in the face but it really does depend on the impact it has upon each employee.”
Also, those displaying this behaviour may be unaware of its impact. “I don’t know if he was being a bully,” says marketing manager Jim Davies of a former-colleague. “There were times when butter wouldn’t melt and he’d be upset to know he’d hurt you. But then his deviousness would be so transparent that he looked like a man who actually enjoyed bullying people.
“He was also very manipulative. He’d temper his comments with ‘I’m only being honest’, or ‘It’s not about you, it’s about the business’, which allowed him to say anything he liked. Work was one big guessing game and innocuous actions would cause him to explode. The shock meant you’d be incapable of responding to it.”
Remind you of anyone? There’s an argument that the management style of celebrities such as Gordon Ramsay, Sir Alan Sugar and Simon Cowell don’t help. Most people confronted by such an approach would feel humiliated yet we tune in to point and laugh at chefs, apprentices and singers who are clearly distressed. Is it any wonder that we struggle to distinguish tough talking from bullying?
“What works on TV just doesn’t work in reality,” says CMI chief executive Ruth Spellman. “You can recognise tough behaviour if you know how, though. Ask whether your colleague or boss is a tough listener as well as a tough talker. Can you have your say as much as they have theirs? And are you confident you can trust them, and that they are acting consistently? If so they’re not necessarily your enemy. That confidence, consistency and trust could benefit you in a way that a bully never could.”
Some names have been changed
What to do if you think you’re being bullied
First, talk it over with someone to establish whether the behaviour you are being subjected to really does constitute bullying. If you belong to a union, your rep should be able to help. DirectGov, Citizens Advice (0844 848 9600) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (0845 604 6610) are also good contacts.
Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (08457 474 747), offers advice and has a useful leaflet entitled Bullying and Harassment at Work, which is available by post or online. If you speak to an outside agency or charity, make sure it follows clear guidelines on maintaining confidentiality.
Once you are sure you are being bullied, take the following steps:
• Try to find out if anyone else you work with is suffering from or has witnessed bullying behaviour from the person concerned.
• Keep a diary of incidents, including dates, witnesses and your feelings at the time. Keep copies of emails you think form a wider pattern of bullying.
• Make the person aware of his or her behaviour and ask them to stop. You could ask a colleague or union official to act on your behalf.
• If you can’t confront the person, consider putting your objections to him or her in writing. Keep copies of any correspondence. Keep your tone unemotional, and stick to the facts.
• Employers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment. If you decide to complain to your employer, ask for information on its grievance procedures.
• Instead of taking disciplinary action, your employer (or you) may wish to follow different ways of resolving the situation, such as mediation.
• If you have to resign due to bullying, take legal advice. You cannot make a legal claim directly about bullying, but you may be able to make a constructive dismissal claim against your employer on the grounds that it is neglecting its “duty of care”. You will have a better chance of success if you can show the tribunal you have followed the steps above and complied with any attempt by your employer to resolve the situation.
• Complaints can also sometimes be made under laws covering discrimination and harassment if, for example, you think you are being bullied on the grounds of age, sex, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or any personal characteristic. Graham Snowdon
To minimise the risk of bullying, employers should encourage appropriate behaviour from all employees in the workplace. They should not tolerate unacceptable conduct, should address complaints promptly and appropriately, …
A City lawyer who had claimed £19m in compensation over workplace bullying has settled for an undisclosed multi-million-pound sum. Gill Switalski, 54,
If you are a manager it is your responsibility to prevent workplace bullying. If you are a recipient of bullying, you are not alone, take action. If you are a witness to workplace bullying, you can do something about it. …
Fighting Back: How to Fight Bullying In the Workplace by David Graves
I spoke to the deputy head at my daughters school this afternoon. She had spoken to my daughter, questioned her about why she did not want to go to school then made her apologise to the school staff for her behaviour. Frankly I am SO ANNOYED. I have always told my daughter never to hit first however she can lash out in self defence.
The deputy head at the school said the staff members actions were of ‘encouragement’!!!!
Thanks to thefreedictionary.com I have a definition of encouragement;
|Noun||1.||encouragement – the expression of approval and support
commendation, approval – a message expressing a favorable opinion; “words of approval seldom passed his lips”
cheering, shouting – encouragement in the form of cheers from spectators; “it’s all over but the shouting”
advancement, furtherance, promotion – encouragement of the progress or growth or acceptance of something
goading, prod, prodding, spur, spurring, urging, goad – a verbalization that encourages you to attempt something; “the ceaseless prodding got on his nerves”
incitement, provocation – needed encouragement; “the result was a provocation of vigorous investigation”
vote of confidence – an expression of approval and encouragement; “they gave the chairman a vote of confidence”
discouragement – the expression of opposition and disapproval
|2.||encouragement – the act of giving hope or support to someone
assist, assistance, help, aid – the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose; “he gave me an assist with the housework”; “could not walk without assistance”; “rescue party went to their aid”; “offered his help in unloading”
|3.||encouragement – the feeling of being encouraged
hope – the general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled; “in spite of his troubles he never gave up hope”
Now I cannot see anything in the above definition that would support forcibly taking a very distressed child go into school away from her mother.
What really annoys me is that the teach did not speak to me or acknowledge my presence. Her only interaction was with my daughter when she told her that she had to go into school and made an attempt to get hold of her.
I was already dealing with the situation, I was taking to my daughter and encouraging her to go into school voluntarily. What the staff member did created an unnecessary situation and made things really bad. Had she not intervened my daughter would have gone merrily into school as she always does.
A coaching focused approach would have resolved the situation swiftly. What do I think she should have done?
Firstly not got involved. I was dealing with the situation well enough and she should have kept out of it. I am more than capable of getting my crying daughter into class.
Secondly if she wanted to become involved she should have spoken to me first, not ignored my presence and undermined me in front of my own daughter.
Thirdly she should not have made any attempt to physically take my child into school.
More things … yes loads. She made no attempt to find out what was going on, why my daughter was upset, there may have been a family bereavement or she may have been unwell. Without establishing the facts then she should have left well alone. If I wanted assistance from staff then I would have asked for it. An appropriate way to speak to my daughter would have been to lower herself to my young daughters height and talk to her nicely.
I found her manner towards my daughter intimidating and bullying. All schools have a no bullying policy. I believe that bullying is (amongst other things) when someone uses their age, position or size to mistreat or undermine another. No one deserves to be bullied or harassed but it could happen to any of us and in some shape and form it probably has happened to most of us and it isn’t nice.
What signals was the staff member sending out? She was saying that it is OK for an someone to be forcibly moved against their will. To barge into a situation that did not involve them and try to take over without firstly establishing the facts. I am sure they would have plenty to say if the school children were doing similar.
By making my daughter apologise to the school staff the deputy head has condoned their actions – and without speaking to me first to establish my viewpoint on what had happened. No surprise there then.
I believe that if the school expects my daughter to treat her peers and school staff with dignity and respect they should afford the same back, this should apply to all children no matter their age or size. School staff should not take advantage of their position to forcefully deal with a simple situation that does not involve them.
Related articles by Zemanta
- When is grabbing a school child acceptable? (geordiecoach.wordpress.com)
- Employers have failed to help victims of workplace bullying (geordiecoach.wordpress.com)
- Bullying in the workplace on the rise (geordiecoach.wordpress.com)
- Workplace Bullying: The War of the Nerves (geordiecoach.wordpress.com)
- Workplace Bullying: Applying Psychological Torture at Work (geordiecoach.wordpress.com)
- Victims of workplace bullying turn to suicide. (geordiecoach.wordpress.com)
- Short contracts blamed for culture of bullying in public service (geordiecoach.wordpress.com)