It would be difficult for anyone to be unaware of the epidemic of bullying and cyber-bullying plaguing our schools. Are you aware that bullying is epidemic in the workplace, as well? In fact, workplace bullying is so prevalent and its effects so costly that no leadership team can afford to ignore the issue in 2013. Therefore, a vital new year’s resolution for most firms in 2013 is mutual respect.
An employee bullied by an overbearing supervisor or an overzealous manager will become less productive. An employee bullied by a co-worker either will be reluctant to report the bullying or will discover that no one in a position of authority in the company is willing to stop it. This employee – who might be one of your most productive or innovative –either will leave your company or will become increasingly distressed and fearful, often to the point of becoming unproductive.
Corporate leaders who ignore bullying in the workplace are actually as guilty as the perpetrator. By refusing to take action or by ignoring the problem, leaders become complicit in the behavior. These leaders must ask themselves if they would tolerate a C-level team member bullying a manager? Most leaders would not tolerate this from the highest ranks of the firm. Yet many of these leaders choose to turn a blind eye on bullying at other levels of the company.
Would any firm choose to allow sales or customer service staff to bully customers into purchasing products and keeping damaged or poorly made items? How long would it take your leadership team to discover a customer service manager who believes the path to promotion lies in bullying customers into keeping damaged or defective products?
Perhaps 2013 is the right time to take a fresh look at how your managers and supervisors are achieving results. It is a good time to investigate why some of your most productive employees are suddenly failing to deliver. Bullying behavior will never vanish on its own, particularly in an environment that ignores or condones the behavior. Perhaps 2013 is the right time for a New Year’s resolution of mutual respect in your firm.