Bullying is a horrendous abuse issue in our schools and is now proving to be one of our best-kept corporate secrets. Bullying in the workplace is insidious, ongoing, and is quietly condoned by many individuals in management through non-action. They may not know what to do and so remain silent. Or, they truly believe that a bullying management style gets the best out of people.
Many in New Zealand management remain entrenched in industrial age positional power and control and it is their simple and proudly articulated belief that bullying is merely tough management. This belief is a naive stance and indicates a frightening lack of understanding of bullying and of leadership outcomes. Bullies are not managers tough or otherwise – they are simply bullies. Tough managers are fair, just, strong and results driven – not control driven.
Bullying continues to be accepted and seems to be escalating in New Zealand workplaces. The lack of action on workplace bullying ensures that it thrives on denial, misinformation, myth and, most importantly, the silencing of those who try to speak out.
A major issue seems to be that the targets -- individuals who are bullied -- are not believed. Responses from colleagues or senior management are often one of disbelief:
"I can’t believe that about George" or
"What did you do to upset him?" or
No – I’m sorry, I don’t believe that has happened. She would never say/do that" or
“Just toughen up – you’ll be right! She doesn’t mean any harm.” or
Disbelief by the Human Resources department and senior manager. or
Belief that this is no more than an autocratic manager squeezing the last drop of extra performance and production out of the employees.
Bullying in the workplace is described well by Tim Field in his book ‘Bully InSight'. His web site, http://www.bullyonline.org, provides descriptions of all types of bullying including information on how bullies select their targets, psychological profiles of the serial bully, strategies to address the bully, and much more.
Other sites that provide useful information have been identified on the Links page.
This site will not cover the specifics of bullying at school however Links to helpful sites and information are provided.
Written articles for management by Andrea Needham.
Address Workplace Bullying - it will save you money [ Download Article ]
The New Zealand Institute of Management - CentralLink