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Is a bully lurking among your staff?

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HC Online | 08 Jan 2014, 12:02 PM Agree 0
With the new anti-bullying laws now in effect there is more onus on employers to stamp out the anti-social behaviour, but how can you spot a bully?
  • Peter | 09 Jan 2014, 12:18 PM Agree 0
    There is so much material about and focus on bullies these days it is so hard to know where to begin. A bully is so hard to spot these days unless they are the 'screaming mimi' type described above. The others could represent a snapshot of almost any office. Rather than trying to identify real or potential bullies (that aren't obvious) should we not develop training strategies for potential victims or teach how to report a (perveived) bully without drawing attention to yourself. While not trying to denigrate the issue I believe it is getting out of hand. I have no doubt there are real bullies and real victims but I am feeling all the renewed attention is creating issues of its own. I recall one situation where a newbie complained that an oldie (7 year veteran) was a bully. The oldie was not a bully, just not a very good trainer, whose career could have been ruined by a false report and having responsibilities they were not capable of. It is also becoming a crutch for ineffective people to attack more competent people who may very well not be 'bullies'.
  • Bernie Althofer | 14 Jan 2014, 02:33 PM Agree 0
    It can be an issue for some workplaces that put fairly high standards in place and then jump on people for not meeting those standards. In addition there appears a need to rush in an investigate every time there is a disagreement in the workplace when in some cases, the situation is made worse by the environment in which the parties are working e.g. heavy workloads, short time frames, poor communication styles, lack of awareness etc, in addition to the hazards such as change, negative leadership styles etc.

    I think the point being made by Peter is valid. Sometimes those with the real cause for complaint get lost in the system because everyone is running around trying to solve a problem they think is bullying, without first trying to find out exactly what the problem is.

    In addition, some people will take a list of descriptors and then try and match their work colleagues with the list. This can be very good way of interrupting the promising career of someone.

    It is important to focus on workplace hazards that contribute to situations where individuals feel the need to bully others, or where they feel as they though are being targeted. Unfortunately it seems that addressing these type of workplace hazards fall in the 'too hard basket', and it is probably not helped when risk assessments have not been conducted.
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