Bullying Has No Place in a Healthy Workplace

You may have read that Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick announced his resignation recently. This followed months of chaos and revelations of a bullying and toxic corporate culture at Uber. Corporate culture can have a major effect on people so there is a real need for organisations and managers to focus on promoting two very important qualities – they are dignity and respect for everyone while at work.

It stands to reason that the health of any corporate culture can affect productivity. If the culture is toxic, it can be hugely detrimental to those caught up in it. When an organisation has robust procedures and zero tolerance policies against bullying in place, this will go a long way towards deterring bullies. When there are signs of stress levers such as intimidation and harassment at work, management should deal effectively with them. Having said that, it’s often difficult to identify the early signs and symptoms of bullying.

To understand this better, we need to ask ourselves –
• How does bullying behaviour manifest itself in the workplace?
• Why does one person regard a particular behaviour as bullying, while someone else sees it as tolerable, simply indicating a dominant attitude (even if such an attitude may be unwelcome)?

 

Bullying behaviour can be overt or covert

Bullying behaviour relies on a wide range of tactics – overt and covert. Disparaging remarks or criticism made by colleagues or managers can have harmful effects on an individual at the receiving end. This individual then feels their professional competence is being called into question – and it’s undermining their work.

Overt tactics can include public rebuke for alleged errors made by an individual in their work. Covert tactics can take the form of circulating rumours or gossip appearing to question an individual’s ability. These tactics can also be expressed as inaction.

For example, failing to acknowledge or approve work that’s been done well. Or omitting to ask for someone’s opinion, when that someone is clearly best qualified to comment.

You can recognise bullies, because typically they –
• Make unreasonable demands on their chosen target
• Shout at victims publicly, as a deliberate tactic to disempower them
• Give instructions which they then change for no apparent reason
• Allocate tasks which they know are beyond an individual’s ability
• Block promotion by refusing to give fair appraisals
• Fail to endorse pay increases or bonus awards, though fully earned
• Exclude an individual from discussions germane to their work responsibilities
You may well have observed some of these behaviours happening in work situations yourself – sadly, they’re not that uncommon.

How does bullying affect people?

People who are bullied at work often feel they’ve lost control, and they’re no longer able to carry out their duties efficiently. They try to regain the semblance of normality – but frequently this is unsuccessful. After a while, people who’ve been bullied may become tense, anxious, prone to emotional outbursts, and behave un-cooperatively. Worse still, the stress that bullying causes often leads to minor illnesses, such as headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and fatigue. When people experience stress over time, this can result in more serious health problems – for example, very unpleasant conditions such as ‘burnout’.

When they’re being subjected to bullying, people are often reluctant to discuss their experience for fear of reprisal or further intimidation. Talking about it may be seen as a ‘black mark’ against them that could damage their career progression. Most victims of bullying have two main aims – they want to keep their job and they want the situation to return to normal.

What actions can an organisation take to prevent bullying?

• Introduce policies to counteract bullying and harassment
• Train HR people to recognise the signs and symptoms of bullying
• Carry out stress and culture audits to identify ‘hot spots’
• Focus on developing soft skills
• Mediate between ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’
• Ask a question such as ‘Have you ever experienced bullying in this organisation?’ during exit interviews

What you should remember

• Bullying behaviour is always unacceptable
• Your people may need to be taught how to confront bullies
• Anti-bullying policies should complement your organisational culture

With over 25 years of providing training, mediation and consultancy in the field of workplace bullying, contact us if we can help in any way: info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk

 

 

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Are you going through a Mid-life Crisis?

 

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4 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

Last week, it was reported in the international media that Google’s Main Board Finance Director, 52 year old, CFO Patrick Pichette had announced that he will be giving up his multi-million dollar job in California to spend more time with his family and maybe to go back-packing around the world.

So was this a mid-life-crisis action taken on the spur of the moment or a carefully considered decision made after examining all the priorities, in conjunction with his immediate family and friends?  Was it, possibly, a moment when he saw his world before his eyes and thought of his ‘bucket list’ with all those things not yet experienced, or completed, and then thought that he might be going to run out of time with all those hopes and dreams unfulfilled?

When does it start?

Midlife crisis can happen when someone suddenly thinks they have reached a point halfway through their life and for many, it can come as a complete surprise as they had thought that life was just beginning. They can start to develop anxieties that appear to indicate that everything is going backwards – or at least not moving forwards – both in their career and personal life, and can experience mood-swings or possibly bouts of self-doubt and even depression.

This crisis usually occurs, if at all, between the ages of 35 and 50, and can sometimes last for maybe five or even ten years. The term mid-life crisis was first coined in 1965 where early analysis suggested that it could happen anywhere between the ages of 40 and 60, but it is now shown to start much earlier.

Let us look at some of the signs that could indicate whether or not you could be heading for, or currently experiencing, your own mid-life crisis. Continue reading

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How to fast-track your promotion

www.showstresswhosboss.co.uk

Most people want to get on in life and improve their career prospects but in the competitive workplace in which we work, promotional prospects are not always easy to achieve.

 

So, in order to o successfully advance your career may mean embracing an approach that is less about you and more about your colleagues, team leaders and the specific organisation within which you work.

Build empathy with your boss

If your immediate boss feels that you have empathy with his, or her, challenges as well as their successes, they are more likely to want to see you also succeed.   It is important that you are aware of their interests and what motivates and inspires them.  Be aware that people tend to favour those who share their aims and objectives. Continue reading

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Work in Progress

Find out how to deal with stress

4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

Last week, I received a letter from Claudia, a 41 year old female doctor working in an Accident & Emergency department in a central London hospital.

“Dear Carole, I feel trapped in a mundane existence.  I feel that I am stuck; my life is out of control and I am going nowhere!  When I first started out, I believed that a better life was possible.  I dreamed of achieving great things and living a life full of value and purpose.  I wanted to become a great doctor and make a difference to society – there was nothing more important to me.  However, over the years, the demands and frustrations of the job have crushed my dreams and I have now settled for an unremarkable existence, having lost my vision for the future.  Can you help me to get off this endless treadmill onto a new, more rewarding path?” Continue reading

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