Workplace Bully Can Destroy An Entire Business

How many bullies does it take to destroy an entire business? Just one workplace bully can.

When it comes to the workplace, one bad apple can spoil the bunch. It only takes a single bully to infect an entire organisation with negativity, fear, mistrust and stress.

The longer their behaviour is allowed to continue, the more it costs the business in reduced productivity and dwindling employee health. Increases in absenteeism and plunging morale affect efficient decision-making and chew up company time—a non-renewable resource.

Delivery of excellent business results is directly linked to positive work environments. Or where employees at every level feel comfortable debating, disagreeing and offering alternative solutions.

A high level of open communication and encouragement of objective feedback makes a company stronger—financially and culturally. But here’s the thing bullying is in direct opposite to these profit-making aims.

Failing to take appropriate action against a bully may be illegal because employers are obligated to maintain a safe work environment. Contravening existing laws related to unfair dismissal, sexual harassment, racial discrimination or gender equality can subject a business to the wrong end of a lawsuit.

The bad publicity surrounding harassment litigation can seriously damage a company’s reputation and brand too.

As an employer or manager, what are you doing to deal with bullying in your workplace? Are your business managers properly trained in practical anti-bullying strategies?

Have Your Managers Been Professionally Trained?

A global workplace bullying survey conducted by Executive Secretary magazine paints a grim picture of modern work environments. It was found that 60% of the respondents reported being bullied at least once during their career while two-thirds had been bullied more than three times.

However, the most worrying finding was how poorly businesses handled these bullying incidents.

A third of the respondents said their complaints were completely ignored. Meanwhile, over a quarter found that after they found the courage to speak up, their revelations were turned against them.

Although 29% of businesses spoke to the perpetrators about their behaviour, only 7% of the bullies had ANY form of disciplinary action taken against them. Moreover, a mere 1% were suspended pending an investigation.

Failing to address bullying loses money, wastes time and alienates employees.

Comprehensive anti-bullying training for managers can help your business to:

  • create a mutually respectful and professional workplace
  • boost staff productivity and engagement
  • save time by streamlining the way you deal with bullying incidents
  • address negative behaviours fairly and supportively
  • help management handle complex bullying situations more efficiently
  • create a more positive organisational culture where everyone feels valued
  • ensure your managers are aware of, and comply with laws applicable to workplace anti-discrimination, bullying and harassment
  • help your business establish a reputation as a fair employer that attracts (and keeps) top talent and cares about the health and well-being of its employees

If you feel ill-equipped to handle a bullying complaint for any reason, get help from other managers or HR staff. You can also seek external support organisations to help resolve the issue.

The best anti-bullying training explains exactly what bullying is (and isn’t), what specific behaviours it involves, how to recognise a toxic work environment and the steps needed to make it better.

It also outlines the severe mental and physical effects that bullying can cause. In addition, it advises people where to get immediate help to solve often complex workplace bullying issues. Moreover, it offers solutions that are easy to implement and have proven to work.

Quick Tips To Avoid Hiring A Workplace Bully

Hiring the right people is never as easy as it sounds.

Sometimes, the calm, intelligent, personable applicant sitting in that interview chair displays serial bully tendencies once they’ve been unleashed on your workforce. Before you know it, you’re losing talented staff, a climate of fear is spreading through the office and your productivity and profits are spiralling downward.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to help reduce the risk of hiring a chronic bully:

  • Be able to recognise a bullying personality—anti-bullying training can help with this.
  • Be thorough and diligent with background checks
  • Ask previous employers about staff turnover rates during the applicant’s tenure.
  • Find out if they’ve ever been subject to disciplinary action or had complaints made against them.

Ask applicants questions that will help you determine whether their personal and professional values are a good fit for your organisational culture. Check their public social media feeds for personality or behavioural clues.

Ask them about pranks they might have played on co-workers, about their weaknesses—bullies hate that question. Also ask about team successes they’ve been a part of—bullies tend to focus only on their role.

Ask them how they respond to criticism. Observe how well they listen—bullies are habitual interrupters. Also, look for non-verbal reactions to particularly challenging questions.

Then, cross your fingers…

Bullyology® is passionate about raising awareness on the effects of bullying and helping people break the silence. If you would like to book us for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.

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