Why business leaders can't afford to ignore bullying in the workplace

Bullying is something that many of us associate with schooldays and the playground, but the sad truth is that, in some cases, the tendency to bully persists into adulthood and often manifests itself in the work environment.

Business leaders and managers who have a suspicion that workplace bullying is taking place are ill-advised to turn a blind eye or hope that the problem will resolve itself. Although bullying has no binding legal definition it is clearly abusive behaviour which may be physical, verbal or psychological which is intended to intimidate, threaten or humiliate the victim. If you employ staff, you have a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of your employees. Therefore, being able to recognise and effectively tackle workplace bullying is an essential business skill.

Leadership and management training specialists Maguire Training offer expert guidance for dealing with workplace bullying. Their comprehensive course, Bullying and Harassment shows delegates how to recognise these forms of abuse, as well as providing an understanding of the motivations for bullying and effective strategies for dealing with it.

Bullying in the workplace can harm relationships and team working, undermining morale and thereby having a negative impact upon productivity. However, Maguire Training recommends the following simple steps which any business can take in order to minimise the likelihood and impact of workplace bullying.

  1. Explicitly refer to 'bullying' and 'harassment' in your company's Code of Conduct or Disciplinary Procedure, citing them as examples of gross misconduct and outlining the consequences for individuals who exhibit such behaviours.
  2. Ensure that both the complainant and the alleged bully's side of the story are thoroughly investigated to ensure that false, exaggerated or unjustified claims are not being made.
  3. Choose the method of dealing with workplace bullying which is both effective and most conducive to restoring and maintaining working relationships going forward. This may mean recommending an individual for counselling, engaging a mediation service, restructuring line management or, in the worst case, dismissal of the perpetrator.
  4. Remember that bullying takes many different forms and may not necessarily be restricted to your employees; external parties such as contractors, business partners, visitors or suppliers may be involved.

Failing to address bullying in the workplace quickly and effectively can have severe repercussions for a business owner or leader. Protecting yourself by acquiring the knowledge and strategies needed to tackle bullying and harassment before its harm becomes widespread is essential. 'Bullying and Harassment' from Maguire Training gives business leaders and managers everything they need to handle workplace bullying with confidence and is part of a suite of training programmes aimed at behavioural skills development. Many of these courses, such as Assertive Vs Aggressive Behaviour, for example, are conveniently delivered as online training, easily accessed via Maguire Training?s innovative E-learning system.

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