Workplace harassment is a silent outbreak in the corporate world. It has been researched and evaluated widely over the years. Every person has some good and bad traits. So, there is always room for improving character. Clients and customers know a company through its employees. Employees with better character succeed in presenting a good impression of their company. Mature employees carry out smoother activities at work place. While the situation is reversed if the employees turn out to be bullies.
In this article, we will review the contour and character of a workplace bully and how to stop the work environment getting toxic in which such a behavior can crop up.
Hostile behaviors at office by Professor Joel Neuman, Center for Applied Management, State University of New York at New Paltz are:
1. Talking behind back.
2. Interrupting others while they are speaking or working.
3. Being pompous, acting in an arrogant manner.
4. Criticizing someone’s opinion in front of others.
5. Never returning phone calls or ignoring memos.
6. Giving silent treatment.
7. Being abusive.
8. Verbal forms of sexual harassment.
9. Staring, dirty looks or other negative eye contact.
10. Intentionally damning with faint praise.
11. The need to control others through verbal threats and physical actions.
12. Quicker to anger and sooner to use force than others.
A workplace bully is always with a history of aggressive behavior. The positive and negative habits and to maintain them or break them respectively need to be focused. Routine behaviors in the case of a bully become the chosen way to relate with people at work place. Such a behavior is toxic, vicious and often times, illegitimate. The workplace never promotes bullying behavior, but there are some environments which become favorable for aggressive behaviors.
From the top:
The image of any industry or organization is formulated by the top management. It is the head who sets the attitude of / for the company starting from the vision statement to the treatment of employees at all levels. One of the most caustic working environments is one where major gaps exist between the company and its treatment of employees. So when bullying and other forms of workplace harassments are not taken seriously at high levels it is understood that the HR and the managers do not take the behaviors and attitudes seriously.
Lack of self-respect:
When a work place fails to promote an atmosphere of self-respect toward and among its employees, all manners of discourtesy, resentment and aggression floats into the organizational structure. Self-respect is the right of every individual. When it is denied, people become victims of bad behaviors at work. Such environments are perfect for the toxic behavior of bullies. When individual dignity is ignored, the mentality of the bully reigns. So it is the duty of the company to provide nurturing environments by applying certain rules which bound all employees at all levels.
Overlooking difficult employees:
A company that fails to create rules of conduct with regard to hostile behavior, or other forms of unsatisfactory demeanor at work place, fails to protect its employees and indirectly its customers. Both large as well as small problems which are dismissed denied or allowed to go unresolved become an inferno with time. Such pattern for an organization is destructive & illegal. Remember, the more productive an environment for the employee is the farther the company will grow and produce results.
Non encouraging behavior:
Downsizing, increase in work load & reforming takes a toll on all employees. The stress involved needs to be acknowledged and employees need to be given the opportunity to adjust to whatever their individual circumstances become. This takes a commitment from management to be aware and pro-active during stressful transitions. Putting time, energy and money into viable programs goes a long way to assist employees to make the adjustments that will allow them to continue to be productive during difficult times of change.
Prevention, Policies & Procedures:
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure for companies who see to it that their employees are trained to identify the potential signs of workplace violence. When companies do not educate employees about this problem, the early warning signs of problematic behavior go undetected. As fire drills are intended to train people on how to respond in case of fire similarly training employees about the warning signs of aggressive and hostile behavior offers them knowledge of how to respond and what procedures to follow. To fail to offer such training may result in overwhelming damage.
• The article above has focused on one form of workplace bullying, that of co-worker to co-worker. Make no mistake; bullying is a form of workplace violence. It exists in the boardroom, on the work line and anywhere in between. Bullies come in both genders. They can wear Armani suits, plain street clothes or company uniforms. They may be subtle, slick and sly, or they can be loud, outrageous and blatant. No matter the style or preference of the bully, the intention is always the same – to control, to subjugate and to hurt.
• As a manager you must be able to do many things at once. One of your primary tasks involves being the eyes and ears of your division, being on top of all matters that affect your employees in the workplace — both positively and negatively.
• Of course, it’s impossible for you to know about everything that’s going on behind the scenes. But if you begin to notice a marked change in either the behavior or quality of work of a previously exemplary employee (or employees), you may want to pay close attention to the dynamics of your staff.
• Do you notice that there is an employee who seems to intimidate his or her coworkers? Perhaps someone who is a master at grandstanding, prone to making loud jokes (at the expense of others), or who seems to simply provoke negative feelings around the office? Unfortunately, you may have a problem on your hands that is not that uncommon — an office bully.
Below are helpful tips for managers who recognize that a specific employee may be behaving in a bullying fashion in the workplace:
• Be sure to have several specific, documented examples of the employee’s negative behavior to present at the meeting. As you listen to his or her responses, be understanding (to a point) but firm, and make sure the employee understands that these actions are upsetting coworkers and disrupting their ability to do their jobs.
• Never allow the employee to direct the conversation back to any employee(s) who may have lodged a complaint — make sure the person is aware that this meeting is about him/her.
• Be crystal clear about the behavior you want halted. Should there be another incident after your meeting, inform the bully that his or her job may be in jeopardy if an improvement in behavior is not seen immediately. (Many managers put this warning in writing to drive home just how important the command is).
• Talk with your superiors in the company about the issue. People who have been on the job longer may be able to offer some helpful insight into combating this kind of detrimental behavior and dealing with “bad apples.” Surely, everyone has had at least one on their staff at one time or another.
• Be sure to check in with your other employees after you’ve had your meeting. Oftentimes the bully, out of anger or spite, will take the bullying outside the office, where he or she may feel immune to chastisement. This could present an even more severe problem, since the bully’s threats could become more serious.
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