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Leadership vs. Bullying

An interesting article on the BBC (see link) on why bullies flourish in the workplace.

Unfortunately this is the critical reality of the workplace. Bosses don’t necessarily deliberately let this environment flourish, it tends to be passive rather than active. Bosses take the path of least resistance, and for the reasons given in the article go for an easy life. With the new business reality of organisations downsizing, the HR function is more focussed on business support and recruitment, than in the more traditional role of employee welfare. This means that the role of the coach/mentor is even more important in the workplace. Everyone needs a confidant and someone to talk to privately. People won’t always approach people for help and advice when needed for all sorts of reasons. Even if they do approach HR or equivalent the “bullying” damage has been done.

Leaders need to be aware the workplace dynamic, and create the right atmosphere, and challenge bullying at every junction. Bullying is a cancer, and away from the personal impacts, has a huge negative impact on team and business performance. 

I have witnessed bullying in its various different guises first hand, and the good news is that there is respite. Bullying is not sustainable, and leaders need to understand that it takes energy to bully. Early and appropriate confrontation of the situation is key. However, if there is the right atmosphere, leaders role modelling the  correct behaviour, and having a zero tolerance to bullying, is the fundamental principle and correct approach. 

True leaders are never bullies themselves, and would never condone bullying in the workplace, either passively or actively. 

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