Workplace Bullying: Here Is A Solution.
I find it intriguing that in a new age of beliefs and practices people have become more open minded to an array of concepts and methodologies that help them live better lives. For example, people are seemingly more open to trying a variety of healing modalities, ones that include energy healing, Spiritual quests, and deep meditation, concepts and practices that only a decade ago would seem to be a type of “voodoo” for most people. We are starting to speak of Mental Health and Mental Health Awareness in workplaces, and creating campaigns to stop bulling and harassment. But, I find some organizations are missing the boat when it comes to addressing workplace bullying. While the term “workplace bullying” is still one that makes many people cringe, it is one that is still widely subjective, criticized and yet commonly experienced by many people.
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, approximately 66 million Americans were affected by bullying in their workplace in 2015. Bullying affects employee satisfaction and performance- which are essential to a thriving workplace. http://tylerclementi.org/resources-for-the-workplace/
These are not small numbers we are talking about, and these statistics do not include the people who are secondary in being affected by workplace bullying. For example: A man, who is bullied in his workplace all day long, returns home to his family, only to find himself taking his anger and anxiety out on the people he loves. This is the secondary affect of being bullied in the workplace. My point here is that more then just those who are directly experiencing being bullied are not the only ones being affected. I have seeing workplace’s putting on campaigns to create mental health awareness, and they are the very same organizations that at times seem to be unaware of the bullying that happens right in their organizations. I have also observed organizations who are aware of the bullying and simply refuse to acknowledge it in a way that could help people overcome their bullying experience. It is quite disturbing in fact.
So what is the solution?
I truly believe that we have to build communities within organizations that allow people to growth and discover who they are as a first step. Sure this may seem incredibly “out there”, but so was the idea of healing through energy sources and using our hands to transfer energies throughout our bodies to align our energy sources. So the idea of working to establish support mechanism for employees and employers is what I believe to be the most engaged and active method of ensuring people’s needs are being met. It’s not voodoo in fact it’s really the ultimate way to building a thriving business in any environment. When we take a look at an example, which I believe to be a typical scenario of the makings of a workplace-bullying situation; Let’s start with a manager X who is not being supported in their work and in their day-to-day tasks. They are being told to get their project completed and to do so successfully within the timelines and tight budget presented to them. Manager X does not feel they have the tools or resources they need to ensure the project’s success, and instead of asking for support for the obvious hesitation of showing their weakness as an example, or potentially for not wanting to disappoint their executives, they attempt to conduct their work and progress to reach their goals. Soon they find themselves not getting any traction, their goals in the distant future, and now feeling the heat even more so from their senior executives. That lack of communication, and thus support creates stress, which then accumulates and is then directed towards those employees who report directly to that manager X. The employees now are subject to the bullying that the senior manager X is being subjected to, and the cyclic workplace bullying scenario continues until the needs of all those involved are identified, and a support mechanism is put in place. Identifying needs and creating support mechanism in many cases never actually happens, and organizations respond to the failure to achieve objectives by restructuring their organization and creating lay-offs to those they feel are the culprits. And then a new victim is hired, excited and anxious to demonstrate their skills and talent, only to be at the helm of yet another disastrous bullying situation.
The idea I am proposing is for organizations to work with executive coaches and employee coaches to identify employee and employer needs. This is the first step for any organizations to build a community of sorts within their organization and start creating a culture of thriving workers. Without taking the time to identify employee and employer needs, we end up making assumptions about what our employees needs are. This approach is absolutely ridiculous, as well as it simply continues to perpetuate the workplace bullying cycle because we still do not have a key piece of the puzzle, which is, knowing what the gaps are with our employees and employers – what do they need to perform their job effectively and efficiently? We all come from a variety of backgrounds, with different experiences and talents, and to assume we all have the same needs is truly unprofessional and in the absence of compassion and business acumen.
If the key step in identifying employer and employee needs is made then creating a thriving organization is well underway and you can as an organization begin to move ahead to make better decisions to fill the gaps that have been identified. This will save time and money in knowing exactly where people need support to perform their roles adequately and effectively. Employee coaching programs can take on an array of formats, from one on one coaching sessions, to workshops where everyone learns together.
An important point to note is that employee coaching is most effective when employees and employers also take part. This can be done again in a variety of formats, but having both parties engaged in self-development is the key to truly creating cohesive communities within an organization where all people’s needs are being identified and addressed.
Bullying is not an easy thing to handle for anyone, including HR departments. It is uncomfortable, and we simply sometimes do not have the skills to work with people to identify their needs, and sometimes it is a case of their needs not being identified that begins to foster an environment of hostility and bullying. I get it is uncomfortable for people to work through these issues, but without working through these issues, we can run all the campaigns we want, but true awareness is not being sought, we are simply perpetuating the effects of bullying and not addressing the cause.
Formula To Foster Thriving Workplaces
- Identify employee needs
- Build a program that can address employee needs
- Identify employer needs
- Build a program that can address employer needs
- Life long opportunities to continue this process and identify and support people’s needs.