Monday, May 15, 2006

Bullying bosses rife in the workplace!

Please bear with me on this one, it is quite long but I hope I get some good points across and you can reflect and give your own experiences and thoughts.

This is a topic I am incredibly passionate about, although I can't claim to be the victim of a bullying boss I have first hand experience of it having watched my partner be subjected to it.

This also relates to a post I wrote a few days ago about Keeping your staff happy and efficient!

It came about because I read a
post on the BBC website regarding bullying by bosses. It's a post about bullying in the UK but I am sure it has relevance from where ever you are in the world. I have been meaning to write a post about how to deal with a bullying boss (more often than not I would just say quit but it's not always that easy) which I will do as part of the Improving you situation at work series I am currently writing.

Bullying is a horrible thing to go through at any stage of your life but unfortunately it seems to have become common in the workplace and often goes unnoticed or simply accepted as a management style. I don't care what anyone says, it is not a management style and it certainly should not be accepted, in my mind it is a breach of human rights.

Don't get me wrong, I know that sometimes as a manager, boss or company owner there are times you need to be a little harder than you normally would be to your staff. This is not what I am talking about, I am talking about the constant "picking on" of staff, the constant shouting, aggressive behavior and never letting up when they do something good.


There is a typical sort of workplace where bullying seems to be at a higher level and it is at the large companies in particular supermarkets where there are plenty of "pawns" available for particular exclusion.

Unfortunately all too many people seem to accept that the following is all part of having a boss;
  • Being screamed at.
  • Being told you are useless.
  • Constantly putting down despite successes.
  • Never being acknowledged for meeting targets.
  • Having your requests ignored.
  • Being called names.

Well let me tell you, no-one deserves to have any of the following done to them at the workplace, it doesn't matter if you are terrible at your job either, there is a way to tell someone. I believe that many of these, although accepted as common practice, is a breach of your human rights!

One of my close friends was a victim of bullying at work, I believe it was a case of jealousy. My friend is very ambitious and was always working hard, getting great results and constantly pushing for promotion. Unfortunately, the bosses felt threatened and always put her down and put her off promotion. They went as far as screaming at her in front of a packed store, in front of staff that she in turn had to manage. Despite this she pushed on, worked hard and got herself into a position for promotion several times. Unfortunately, the bullying continued and got to the point when she handed her notice in. At this point, several managers (who were not involved in the bullying) had a meeting with my friend and at this point they convinced her to stay as they didn't want to lose such a key member. At this point, the other managers were disciplined and they now treat her with more respect. Although not completely got rid of the problem she has now been accepted for promotion and will go on the relevant courses. She will then be an equal to the bullies, at which time I am sure they will completely stop the bullying.

I'm going to stop ranting now because I could go on ranting forever. Please take this piece of advice and try to take some inspiration from the above case study. You don't have to be a victim of bullying. When working for these large companies, as I have mentioned there is a "procedure" for everything...that includes bullying in the work place...use it.

  • Have you any experiences of being bullied, or being a bully yourself?
  • Do you think it is ok to use bullying tactics in the workplace?

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