Home > Business Strategy, Leadership > Crisis Prevention 101: The Workplace Bully

Crisis Prevention 101: The Workplace Bully

I’m sitting in my family room this morning sipping my coffee and watching NFL AM (yes, I’m a football geek), and watching a bully do his thing.Captain Jack

Bella (the Diva) has made herself a very comfortable place to sleep on the couch. She has managed to choose her favorite blanket and completely encircle herself within the blanket for her post-breakfast nap. Captain Jack, (the precocious one aka The Bully) has decided to pull the blanket off of her. I’ve watched this routine before. He doesn’t really want the blanket as there are others around for him to use. He solely wants to be a bully. He wants to irritate, anger, and put himself in the spotlight.Even as I (the boss) cajole him to stop being a bully, he persists when I’m “not watching.” Captain Jack probably can’t be reformed, as he knows he will not be dismissed from the family. He ha the upper hand.

In your organization, you just might have your own bully that operates outside your vision. Workplace bullying has exploded on the national scene thanks to the Miami Dolphins saga with Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. At some level, regardless of the number of employees you have, there is some level of “bullying” going on. If you allow it to persist (like I do with Captain Jack) then you risk a number of bad things happening – losing a good employee, loss of reputation, poor morale, loss of productivity, and maybe even a lawsuit.

What does bullying in the workplace look like? Here re some examples that I’ve seen in my life of working in multiple organizations:

  • Passive-aggressive behavior and language
  • Nastiness and rudeness
  • Crude and inappropriate personal jokes
  • Refusal to work with others
  • Bad language
  • Intimidation

Don’t think your employee family is exempt from this behavior. In smaller organizations, it might even be worse and you might be more reticent to take action for fear of losing employees. You need to keep your eyes open and be alert for this type of behavior. You need to create written policies and communicate them to your employees. You need to be swift to reach and tough with your discipline. The consequences today are serious. With a raised awareness (just as with Employment Practices Liability) you must be more vigilant.

Otherwise, your bullying dog may just bite you in the butt.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

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