One reason is that many leaders are bullies. Aggressive leaders are in charge and have power in the organization. Bully leaders are under the misconception that their bad behavior is professional. These types of leaders strongly believe that their acts of aggression make them seem strong and bullying is in fact good leadership. Aggressive leaders are unable to self-reflect or understand the implications of their behavior. Therefore, they are not even open to the idea that they could be a workplace bully. The target is the problem because they are unable to cope with their leadership style and the target is just a weak employee, bullying is not taken seriously.
Also, when allegations are made against the bully leader, they quickly annihilate the target along with the accusations. This sends a clear message to other workers that bullying in their work environment is a way of life and that is the way it is. Workers either join the bullying or they will most likely become a target.
Many times, leaders are promoted due to their expertise and/or longevity and not on their strong leadership abilities. As such, leaders may not have the skills to adequately manage workplace aggression and many are unwilling to seek consultation to develop the necessary expertise to do so. Organizations frequently do not have a clear expectation about the kind of leadership they want, nor do they train their administrators to be effective leaders. This leaves organizations controlled by managers who do not have the skills to oversee organizations plagued with bullying.
Another reason that organization do not address bullying is because it is a complicated, irrational, and organizational problem. Most organizations do not have the ability to solve complex personnel concerns that are integrated into the organizational, nor do they have the desire to put in the necessary processes to do so. As such, workplace bullying is often overlooked and ignored.
For organizations, it is much easier to ignore workplace bullying then it is to address it head it.
Solving workplace bullying and aggression requires time and commitment. It demands developing fair and equitable policies and procedures that are followed and carried out fairly. Managing aggression also necessitates the need for progressive discipline that organizations are willing to follow by holding workplace bullies accountable. It also requires providing training and education for leaders and workers on bullying. For organizations, this is often just too difficult.
Call to Action:
Is your organization at-risk for workplace bullying? Find out andd take the at-risk workplace bullying assessment here: