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Bullying at work is estimated to affect tens of millions of people in the U K and U S alone.
It disfigures individual lives
and it disfigures the workplaces in which it's allowed to take root
from small family firms to world-renowned institutions.
It thrives in silence: the silence of targets who are too intimidated to complain;
of colleagues who witness bullying but don't speak up;
of negligent employers who fail or refuse to deal with the problem.
So let's bring the subject out into the open and talk about it.
This video explains what workplace bullying is.
It dispels some of the myths that bullies and their enablers use
to try to play down the seriousness of the problem
and looks at what employers should be doing to stamp it out.
Workplace bullying is abusive behaviour
that creates an intimidating or humiliating working environment
with the purpose or effect of harming others' dignity, safety and well-being.
It can take many forms:
physical abuse;
verbal abuse;
making demands that go against terms of employment;
isolating or excluding others;
unfair monitoring;
constant criticism;
spreading malicious rumours;
withholding information and resources;
sabotaging someone else's work, or stealing credit for it;
removing duties and responsibilities;
and blocking advancement.
There can be one or more targets or perpetrators
and although bullying nearly always reveals itself in a pattern of behaviour
it can consist of a single incident.
Bullying is not a personality clash
or a relationship conflict for which both parties are responsible.
It's misconduct by the perpetrator.
Nor do we need evidence of someone's intention before condemning *abusive* behaviour.
There are standards of acceptable conduct;
behaviour that violates those standards is unacceptable whether or not it's intentional
and staying focused on behaviour also stops us getting tangled up in futile arguments
about the motives of the perpetrator
who is unlikely to admit intending to bully or cause harm.
And contrary to what some would have us believe
bullying is not a leadership style.
It's the opposite of leadership.
Leaders inspire and build functional teams.
They value others, reward competence and encourage contribution.
They set good examples
holding themselves to the same high standards they expect of others.
They aim for clarity, behave with integrity and maturity
and take responsibility for their mistakes.
They let others work without interfering.
They resolve conflict.
By contrast, bullies erode and disrupt functional teams.
They may use team language but they're not team players.
They devalue others, feel threatened by competent staff and stifle contribution.
They set bad examples and exhibit hypocrisy.
They pollute the workplace by projecting their own negative stuff onto others
creating confusion and uncertainty.
They lack integrity and maturity.
They lie and blame others to disguise their own failings.
They focus on petty fault-finding.
They generate conflict.
And when their bullying is rooted in personality problems
their behaviour is unlikely to change.
Bullying is bad news both for staff and for organisations.
It causes staff stress-related illness and psychological injury.
And it's extremely costly to employers
losing them money and productivity through sickness absence.
Failing to tackle bullying is a reliable way of losing good workers.
Organisations that ignore it, allowing it to become a defining feature of the workplace
lose loyalty, trust, good will, and valuable skills when staff leave.
An employer's reputation also suffers when its neglect is publicly exposed.
So there are many reasons why it's in the employer's interest to get rid of bullying.
Employers who don't protect targets, who defend bullies and find excuses not to help
not only fail their staff; they fail themselves.
When bullying is reported, there's an opportunity for positive action.
Employers who take bullying seriously protect targets
act transparently and investigate thoroughly.
They're also wise to the tricks bullies play, such as portraying themselves as victims
when their targets complain.
Making malicious allegations, a disciplinary offence in many companies
is a well-known tactic to evade accountability
and divert attention from the bully's misconduct, as shrewd employers are aware.
On a broader level, responsible organisations develop specific anti-bullying policies
incorporating informal and formal procedures.
But policies are worthless if they're not followed.
And as countless targets discover
commitments declared in policy often don't translate into practice.
Even world-famous organisations with awards for 'Investment in People'
hide a shameful record of neglect when it comes to bullying.
Instead of working to end it
too many employers just get more creative at avoiding the issue
forcing targets down formal grievance procedures rather than taking the matter in hand.
Organisations committed to stamping out bullying are proactive;
they don't make the injured party drive the process.
If you're watching this video because you're being bullied
and you're confused by your company's lack of action, be in no doubt:
this is a familiar, predictable pattern.
Many companies avoid action for months, even years
so that targets already harmed by bullying will be so worn down
they'll stop complaining or resign.
But the scandalous reality is that what this inaction ends up doing all too often
is leaving targets feeling suicidal.
Bullying doesn't just damage companies and careers; it costs lives.
Hadyn Olsen of Workplaces Against Violence in Employment - or WAVE
a New Zealand organisation helping to make progress against bullying
points out that it's one of the most common causes of workplace-related suicide
noting the bitter irony that those who raise awareness about bullying
are actually their companies' best friends
championing the values of respect, dignity and safety.
They're not trouble-makers
but individuals who have the courage to speak up and seek change.
How do employers handle bullying destructively?
Some ignore it.
Some fail to gather all the evidence, overlooking the scale of the problem.
Some invent false advice to minimise the problem.
One tactic here is to limit what people can report
by excluding witness statements, for example.
Any organization truly concerned about abuse will want to know when it's going on
from whoever sees it.
Witness statements are a normal part of any genuine investigation.
There's no reason to exclude them.
Another tactic is to tell targets they can't refer to incidents already reported.
This again is invalid advice to be roundly rejected.
With bullying, all incidents remain relevant, because they establish a pattern.
Some employers use buzzwords to discount complaints
dismissing the issue as "a matter of perception", for example.
But in fact, when we're talking about accepted standards of conduct
all perceptions are not equally valid.
There will be facts about how a bully has behaved.
If they've breached accepted standards
they should change their behaviour or leave the organization.
One route commonly suggested to targets of bullying is mediation
a voluntary process in which an independent mediator
helps two or more parties resolve a problem in a way that's acceptable to everyone.
Mediators can speak with parties separately or together.
Their role is not to judge or impose solutions, but to facilitate healthy communication.
Mediation is a private process; parties normally sign an agreement
to keep everything said during the process confidential.
It can help resolve many kinds of dispute.
But it's not a suitable method for addressing bullying.
Leah McLay, a mediator working in New Zealand
points out that, "Because of its confidential nature
mediation doesn’t contribute to setting community standards of behaviour."
Bullying, especially chronic bullying involving several targets
is a form of violence, needing clear intervention.
It should not be shrouded in a private process
and it's not the target's responsibility to solve the perpetrator's behaviour problems.
As Gary Namie, head of the Workplace Bullying Institute, points out:
"The target is already compromised; you don't compromise the compromised."
Certainly, bullies who've lied and denied their abuse
have already destroyed the trust needed for mediation to work.
We can also question mediation's emphasis on using neutral language.
Bullying is not a neutral matter, and trying to reframe it in neutral terms
will misrepresent the issue in the bully's favour.
In this way, far from containing the problem, mediation can end up contaminating it.
Often, targets of bullying need facts of the past acknowledged.
Indeed, a bully's denial of facts is usually a key feature of the problem.
However, mediation isn't geared to settling factual disputes
but to achieving agreements about the future:
another reason why investigation is more appropriate.
Lastly, if your employer's already responded poorly to your complaint
mediation may be mishandled too.
It's not unknown, for example, for incompetent or biased employers who set up mediation
to arrange it so the mediator speaks to the bully first.
How can companies get it right?
WAVE has published an interview with a C E O
who shared how they rectified a toxic work culture.
The Officer had been there two weeks when an employee came forward, terrified
to report long-term bullying by a line supervisor.
The previous General Manager had been asked to investigate by various people
including members of the target's family.
But despite having detailed bullying policies, the GM hadn't apply them.
The new Officer acted swiftly, becoming the target's supervisor instead of the bully
and organising an immediate formal investigation.
The Officer assured the target there'd be a first response within seven days
and kept to this timeline.
By documenting everything in a diary
the Officer was able to identify the bully's lies about the past.
It was recommended that the bully start counselling
which seemed to help her understand her bullying and what triggered it.
But when her abuse worsened shortly after the counselling ended
it was realised she wasn't going to change, and she was required to leave
at which point the Officer noted how the bully
who had at first presented herself as vulnerable and pathetic
became "hard as nails".
Her victim act evaporated in a transformation the Officer described as "incredible".
This story has some classic elements that will be familiar to many targets of bullying.
A company with detailed policies that hadn't been applied.
A manager who buried complaints.
A bully who feigned victimhood and lied.
But in this case, thanks to the Chief Officer's principled approach
a new, positive culture emerged.
The situation was turned around because the bullying was properly investigated
and the target was protected.
This is genuine investment in people, not just in word but in deed.
As the Officer explained, "If you just try and sweep it under the rug
it will come out somewhere else.
If you don’t address it when it's first handed to you it will get bigger
and people will suffer more.
As a manager you have a social responsibility
to take on the needs of your team when they come to you for help."
In the words of Steven Pinker, "There are standards for fair treatment
and this is something that other people care about."
Bullying is never a pleasant thing to deal with.
But everything depends on how organisations respond when it's reported.
Employers have a duty not to ignore or cover up this behaviour
but to tackle it decisively.
With too many organisations colluding with bullies to hide this abuse
effectively deceiving their staff by boasting grand commitments in policy
and routinely flouting them in practice
we must break the silence and make a collective stand
against this international disgrace
creating Bully-Intolerant Workplaces that are healthy and productive
and demanding that employers meet their duty of care.
No one should be expected to put up with bullying
or have their careers or well-being jeopardised in any way
because of someone else's misconduct.
The time is long overdue for us to educate our workforces about unacceptable behaviour
and establish reliable systems that protect everyone from this scourge of our workplaces.
We can and must do better.


Workplace Bullying

19314 タグ追加 保存
VoiceTube 2016 年 2 月 6 日 に公開
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