For people to be productive they need to be able to think clearly and make confident decisions. People who have been victimised, humiliated, undermined or threatened, are unable to be confident, and frequently their minds are cluttered with all sorts of confused thoughts.
People who are supported and treated with respect will be able to perform way better than those who have had their confidence stripped away by critism.
But how are the actions of employees corrected without resorting to the negative language of the bully?
The answer is elegantly simple: Critise the behavior not the person, and praise the person for who they are to you. I often hear employers complaining of an employee, yet when I say “why don’t you give them fair warning and sack them the answer will be: Oh but they are a great family man, or they cheer every one up in the morning.—Praise them for the things you really do value about them, ie the same reasons you let them keep their job!
The government has stepped in on the matter of bullying and insisted that all work places have a Bullying policy. Having a Policy and Zero tolerance to victimisation, humiliation, undermining or threatening behavior is not just a legal requirement, its good business. It sets the ground rules of what you will and will not accept in your business.
There has to be balance in this, and it is said that a high proportion of bullying claims taken to fair work are simply supervisors telling employees to get on with their work. The legislation covers this aspect.
But many bullies do not even realise that is what they are doing is bullying, for many reasons they fall into a habit of systematic abusive behavior., and unfortunately it’s the business owner that wears the cost of this destruction to the confidence and productivity of the workforce.
The challenge with bullies is that their behaviour is often a long term habit and they see no wrong in it.
To them they are just correcting other peoples faults by pointing them out. The issue is the language used–For Example “you are useless, why do you always make mistakes, can’t you ever do anything right?” Contained in this language is a clear lack of respect. Often it’s the bullies own frustration with their own failings that drives this language, their own failing are front of mind, so when they see them in others they are right on the case.
One defense is “I’m always having a go at my friends and they do it back”– The point here being that its among friends who are on an equal basis, and its friendly and 2 way. If its not friendly and not 2 way, chances are its bullying, and even if it is friendly and 2 way it could be still bullying if its not welcomed by the other person.
“But I don’t want to sack my best worker” …. Are they the best worker because they have the best skills, or because they have driven away or intimidated any one who might be as good as them?
Unfortunately if the person does not want to change then, unfortunately, there is little option but to terminate the offender, and in this case a clear policy is essential.
When can workplace bullying be an offense under