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Why Management Can't Turn A Blind Eye to Bullying in the Workplace
Tue 16th June, 2015 lmc-solutions-facebook lmx-solutions-tweet lmc-solutions-linked-in lmc-solutions-google-plus lmc-solutions-tell-a-friend
My Side of the desk

Not so long ago I was witness to a pretty awful case of bullying in the work place. This was a situation where a staff member who had started some time back in the organisation with a fairly blunt personality and, unchecked, it had blossomed into a hurtful divisive force in the office. Staff were split between those that watched and enjoyed the spectacle (and hoped that they wouldn't get the finger of derision pointed at them) and the minority that repeatedly bore the brunt of the attacks and suffered!

In the grander scheme of things the organisation spoke at length about its anti-bullying culture and its zero tolerance standards so what I couldn’t understand was why this situation was allowed to continue. In reality, there was only one reason for this continuing contradiction, and that was the management team!

I just didn’t realise that this type of bullying fed directly into the company’s informal culture of management. The bully was very clever in establishing strong relationships with management and always being there for them, the bully always ensured that work done by subordinates always came through their hands – they became the go to person for getting things done and always appeared as if they were indispensable to all. In short they had established such a rapport with their senior managers that when others complained about their treatment from this bully the bosses refused to believe it!

After a great deal of procrastination, the bullying case was proven and the person was asked to leave. Sounds like a result, however because of the pre-disposition of the senior team the bully was allowed to leave in style and the victims were never really acknowledged as such. In fact there was a general sense of the victims being damaged goods and perhaps not suitable for the long term.

The leaders concerned suffered from a myopia that limited them solely to what they thought they knew and certainly to what they believed – at no stage did they connect with or emphasise with the bullied victims. In fact if the management team had seen what was happening long before the situation got out of hand and were able to nudge the behaviour into a better direction then a number of worhtwhile careers could have been saved!  

In the end the personal damage was immense and staff retention and productivity took a huge hit – all because leaders couldn’t put aside their own beliefs long enough to listen to others...  

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