If you’ve looked into a behavioural incident at work and the facts confirm that bullying has occurred, you’ll need to decide on the appropriate action to take as a manager. This might include:
- Insisting that the bully apologise to their target(s)
- Issuing an official reprimand
- Providing counselling or anti-bullying training to the perpetrator
- Closely monitoring the bully’s conduct (be alert for possible retaliation)
- Clearly explaining the negative social, financial and reputation impacts that the bully’s behaviour causes the business – and how it affects the entire organisation, not just the target
- Imposing the threat of termination if negative behaviours continue – and following through if necessary
- Organising an external investigation if warranted
- Doing everything you can to support the target’s health, safety and well-being including, if necessary, directing them to outside support agencies or organisations; this support should also extend to witnesses, who may also be adversely affected by bullying incidents
- Encouraging change to the overall workplace culture by becoming a trusted and assertive anti-bullying advocate
- Taking a hard look at your own management style – is it making the work climate better or worse in relation to staff loyalty, enthusiasm and trust?
If you feel ill-equipped to handle a bullying complaint for any reason (personal bias, insufficient training, fear of repercussions, etc.), get help from other managers/HR staff or seek out external support organisations to help resolve the issue.
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