Organizations must also realize that the work environment will most likely get worse before it gets better. When bullies are held accountable, they push back and retaliate because intervention means they are losing their control over the culture. Aggressors become more covert and underhanded. Aggressors will also put increased pressure on bystanders to participate more in the bullying which makes it more difficult to identify who is perpetrating the violence. Leadership and organizations must plan their intervention strategies accordingly. This should include preparation for retaliation from the aggressor and bystanders. A clear means to protect witnesses and receivers from retaliation and further bullying must be incorporated into interventions.
Organizations often fail to recognize the complexity of workplace bullying and as such, they intervene only on one level. The most common strategy used by organizations is to intervene with the receiver. This increases workplace bullying causing additional harm and failing to address the real problem. Organizations need to fully understand that the workplace bullying culture is multi-faceted and includes the organization, the aggressor, the receiver, and the witnesses. As such, there needs to be systematic intervention tactics on each level to successfully manage, stop, and prevent workplace bullying.
Call to Action: Develop an understanding of the difference between workplace bullying and conflict.