I was recently invited to speak about bullying in the workpalce with the talenetd David Frizzell from Team Guru.
I was asked to speak about bullying from a variety of angles to provide the listeners with little more insight into this insidious disease that is wreaking have on our workplaces and the individual.
As we know Workplace bullying can be enormously destructive to a workplace and devastating for individuals.
But what exactly is bullying? How do we recognise it? What do we do about it? How can we prevent it?
In this episode of the Team Guru Podcast – we take you through the working definition of bullying and talk about some of the industry’s in which bullying is most prevalent. We talk about the tips on how to recognise it. And we provide an understanding on the impact it can have on us as people and on an organisation’s bottom line.
There are also gives some handy tips on what we, as leaders, can do to deal with it effectively and put measures in place that will prevent it from happening again.
Here’s what I took from the episode:
Maureen’s definition of workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour that’s directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety. It includes behaviour that intimidates, humiliates, degrades, undermines and threatens.
Bullying can result in psychological and physical harm.
Under the Australian Work Health and Safety legislation, bullying is an occupational health and safety hazard.
It can also entail a single incident – as opposed to the definition that describes bullying as ‘on going’.
Sometimes a person who has been subjected to ongoing bullying behaviour can snap and lash out or threaten and then in turn become the person who is exhibiting bullying behaviour.
According to Maureen, people who are the victim of domestic violence can become the bully when they enter the workplace.
In Australia around 74% of people have been bullied in the workplace. Of those, 65% say they have been threatened or verbally abused by a co-worker or manager.
62% of those bullied are bullied by men. Their targets are generally (58%) women.
Female bullies also predominantly target women (80%).
Maureen believes that bullying, and its definition, is well understood in the workplace but that people are reluctant to act on it. They are reluctant to report it because of fear of retaliation from the perpetrator or losing their job. People who are particularly vulnerable include new employees, people reaching the end of their working life, people who are financially vulnerable and young people and apprentices.
Often Maureen hears people say (in reference to reporting bullying), ‘It’s just too hard’. They are often concerned that they won’t be believed.
Because of that, individuals within the workplace must be aware of their own behaviour style, so they can better understand the impact they are having on those around them. Maureen referenced DISC as a way of thinking about the different types of people within a workplace.
Tools like DISC, MBTI, HBDI, Leadership Circle – or any number of similar tools – help us to gain a greater understanding of ourselves so we can better understand the impact we are having on those around us. This is important, because people are not judging our behaviour by what we intend, they are judging us by their interpretation of our behaviour.
Developing respect within the workplace is the key to eliminating bullying behaviour.
Individual – anxiety, illness, lost productivity, lower confidence and lack of performance and effort.
Research tells us that at normal levels employees work for about 52% of the time at work. If people are feeling bullied that percentage goes down further.
Bullying is usually best handled internally, but if that is not possible (perhaps it’s the boss who’s the problem) there are external agencies that can help such as: Fair Work; The EEO Commission.