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.
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Jessica Hickman is a professional member of these associations: