In every workplace, the organisational culture is established by the leaders – for better or worse. The difference between a leader and a manager is that a manager dictates, while a leader provides support and direction to allows employees to perform at their peak. The most productive employees feel valued, listened to and respected.

Bullying thrives in a climate where leadership falters. I discovered this myself during my own bullying experience: my bully’s harassment, misogyny, belittlement and intimidation tactics were permitted to go on because upper management didn’t have the courage or any effective deterrent system in place to address his increasingly abusive antics.

A true leader’s most important skills are to observe, to listen, to value and to be constantly mindful of the emotional environment they’re fostering in the workplace. They must be self-aware and focused. A workplace leader is either part of the bullying problem or part of the solution.

An effective leader’s management style should spark discussion, not stifle it. It should include others in decision-making processes and respect alternative viewpoints. Leadership isn’t about domination, threats or coercion – it’s about empathy, negotiation and compromise – and when it’s done right, it brings out the best in everyone because they feel supported.

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from my insights and follow me on LinkedIn. I am passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people to break the silence.

If you would like to book me for a training course or speaking event, please get in touch.

Jessica Hickman is a professional member of these associations:

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