Is Your Anti-Bullying Policy Enough?

Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.

Having a solid anti-bullying policy in place is a good starting point for every business. But, how efficiently are you enforcing that policy? Also, how much anti-bullying training did your managers and employees receive?

An effective anti-bullying policy should include:

  • Clear definitions of workplace bullying.
  • Specific guidelines on the individual responsibilities of managers and employees when confronted with bullying.
  • Education of staff regarding the negative effects that bullying has on morale, cohesion and productivity.
  • Precisely defined consequences/penalties for non-compliance.
  • A commitment to confronting bullying behaviours immediately so there’s minimal delay between the incident and appropriate action.
  • A zero-tolerance approach to workplace bullying in any form.
  • Focusing on employee happiness, health and well-being.
  • A simple system for employees to report bullying incidents.

Statistics indicate that anti-bullying efforts are more successful when business leaders concentrate on improving organisational culture rather than focusing solely on the personalities of bullies and their victims.

Being in a position of authority, managers are often the most effective bullying deterrents in any workplace. An organisation primarily shapes its behavioural environment by being aware of bullying, taking preventive measures, and handling any arising incidents effectively.

How managers react to bullying incidents can affect the entire culture of the organisation. Further, they ultimately impact profitability, talent acquisition and retention, brand reputation and employee trust.

Are you a Proactive or Reactive Manager?

Workplace bullying isn’t a personality problem—it’s a leadership problem. 

Effectively handling negative behaviours in the workplace is a crucial responsibility for managers, as it impacts much more than just the specific incidents. Inaction by management only encourages bullies to see how much further they can push the aggression.

To prevent bullying, a manager must be proactive in providing and participating in anti-bullying training. Management should be observant and emotionally intelligent. Above all, they must lead by example.

Managers, supervisors, and department heads play a crucial role in shaping the culture of a business. If they’re calm, enthusiastic, respectful, collaborative and good listeners, the rest of the workforce will follow suit.

Managers need to continually assess the workplace atmosphere to promptly identify and address any emerging issues. Delaying action until multiple complaints arise is akin to allowing the cancer to worsen before starting treatment.

The pointy end of the Anti-Bullying Spear

Being a good manager means taking ownership of the workplace climate. This also involves making sure that every team member uniformly adheres to a zero-tolerance policy against bullying!

A manager in a busy workplace can be a bit like being a detective. In order to get a feel for the ‘emotional climate’, you must listen and observe. You also have to ask the right questions and ‘read between the lines’—especially with bullying.

Quite often, a bullying target will have a legitimate fear of backlash that keeps them quiet about their victimisation. In such situations, relying on circumstantial evidence might be the only option available.

Bullying can quickly gain a foothold if your staff don’t feel empowered to address negative behaviours. Moreover, there can be many unknown restraints preventing a victim from raising their concerns.

Managers must closely monitor the overall ‘vibe’ to detect when pessimism starts to creep in. It’s not enough to know that something should be done—you must know exactly what to do. 

Bullyology® is passionate about raising awareness of the effects of bullying and helping people break the silence.

To schedule a training session or invite us to a speaking event, please feel free to contact us!

Please share with like-minded colleagues who can benefit from our insights and get social with us.