Stand Up Against Bullying

Stopping and Preventing Workplace Bullying: What Does it Take?

Workplace Bullying Leadership
white character with hands up inside  The red circle with a white border that signifies "stop"
It is no secret that workplace bullying is a complex and challenging issue plaguing organizations in the United States as well as globally. One of the questions I often get is whether an organization can truly stop and manage workplace bullying. Yes, I believe the answer to this question is yes. To stop workplace bullying, an organization must take certain measures.

The first step for organizations is to understand what workplace bullying is. Most organizations do not educate their leaders and workers about workplace bullying. The training they receive on conflict resolution is frequently assumed to be sufficient. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Please read my blog on the differences between conflict and workplace bullying. By treating workplace bullying like conflict, it almost always exacerbates the problem rather than solving it.  To begin addressing workplace bullying in an organization, organizations need a clear understanding of the problem.

In addition, organizations must acknowledge the possibility that their work environment could be toxic or that bullying could exist. A crucial component of finding solutions is admitting that there is a problem or issue that needs to be addressed. When a company refuses to acknowledge that workplace bullying exists, it cannot develop effective resolutions. That's just not possible.

It is also crucial for an organization to maintain integrity, be fair, and hold its employees accountable. When I say employees, I refer to all employees, not just the leaders, but also the rest of the workforce. The entire organization is included in this. The overall working relationship will be improved as a result of fair treatment of workers. Last but not least, flexibility is essential for organizations. In order to determine whether a solution is effective, they must try different solutions and evaluate them.  When organizations are not making progress in reducing workplace bullying, their solutions need to be adjusted.  The interventions of organizations must be reviewed continuously and adapted as needed. Their evaluation will allow them to prevent future workplace violence as well as ensure that workplace bullying stops.

Last but not least, we must remember that workplace bullying cultures don't change overnight. In order for it to succeed, leaders must be willing to stay the course. Establish a professional standard. All people, including yourself, should follow it and be held accountable for not following it. If we have patience, integrity, professionalism, and accountability, we are able to change bully cultures and prevent them from occurring.

CALL TO ACTION:

Find out what your coworkers know about workplace bullying this week.  In this way, you can gauge where your organization stands when it comes to understanding and addressing workplace bullying.