Many managers and supervisors don’t believe they are a bullying supervisor, but often their employees disagree. It is much easier to practice bullying behaviors than many supervisor realize.
In fact, many managers are surprised to learn than their employees view them as bullies. One idea that these leaders possess is that bullying in the workplace as a problem is more or less a fad, egged on by the media. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
These supervisor remain at risk for large problems associated with their leadership styles. And the cost of employee complaints are enormous when you begin calculating direct and indirect costs. From turnover and absenteeism and from a disturbed home life or time-consuming processing of stress with coworkers, bullying by managers has many dominos of cost.
Complaining about workplace bullying is not a strategy employed by workers as a manipulative means to keep supervisors at bay or a way to prevent them from being confronted for their sub-par job performance. (Well, I would say, that in the 35 years of interacting with employees and businesses while in the trenches of employee assistance programming, I have never seen this happen.)
Research has now documented sexual harassment's true cost. Bullying in the workplace is rapidly receiving the same level of recognition, also supported by research. See the citation on abusive supervision at http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-11397-011.
Bullying can often be identified by simple questions. Do you ridicule employees? Have you put employees down in front of others? Have you accused them of incompetence, kept them away from “the good assignments,” not given them credit for their work, yelled at them, or invaded their privacy by asking probing personal questions?
Many of these behaviors were once considered natural elements of the traditional workplace, but not today. Talk to the EAP about making changes. Most employees who complain to supervisors about bullying say they do not see substantive changes from their tormentors. This implies that changing these behaviors can be tough. Still, you could remain at risk for employment or legal claims if your tactics don’t shift.
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