4 Habits to Break if You Want to Stop Workplace Bullying

May 17, 2016
Stop Workplace Bullying

We published some advice a while back explaining how to identify workplace bullies and some good ways of dealing with them. But doing this is just fighting the flames – how do you tackle the root cause and stop workplace bullying before it even surfaces?

According to Forbes, there are 4 bad habits that you might have as a manager, which could actually encourage bullies and ignite the spread of employees treating colleagues unfairly.

Here are 4 of the worst habits you need to break right now if you want to stop workplace bullying.

1. You Let Inappropriate Behaviour Occur in Meetings

During meetings, you need to set good etiquette standards and keep a lid on inappropriate behaviour. For example, if you let people interrupt other people without good reason, or if you allow people to prevent others from speaking, then you’re essentially setting a standard that it is OK for people to place their own thoughts and feelings above others.

2. You Act as a Messenger Between People Who Dislike Each Other

If two people have a problem with each other, they might not feel like communicating. The worst thing you can do as a manager is act as the go-between – this prevents the two parties from settling their differences, and cements the divide they are placing between themselves.

3. You Fail to Act When the Opportunity is There

Have you ever spotted something happening between two people, but let it slide in the hopes that it will blow over on its own? This is a damaging approach and could lead to the behaviour getting worse. If you deal with issues directly, as and when you see them occur, you are modelling great leadership for your team and showing them that your company is a safe, respectful and collaborative place to work.

4. You Lend a Sympathetic Ear

You might think that listening to a victim of bullying and giving them a “shoulder to cry on” is helpful, but most of the time, it isn’t – especially if you are not in a position to help make it right. If somebody has a genuine problem with a workplace bully, then you should not be lulling them into a false sense of security by patting them on the back and telling them that you understand how they feel. You should either fix the problem yourself, or encourage them to take their grievances directly to somebody who can – such as HR.

What other bad habits have you seen in managers which seem to spread the problem of bullying in the workplace? What advice can you share with us about how to tackle this?

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