Bullying is a common buzzword for public schools, but adult bullying is also prevalent and can negatively affect your business. If you are noticing a trend of bullying behavior in your employee work environment, here are some basic strategies you can employ to help stop the problem.
1. Define the behavior.
Hold a staff meeting and confront the trouble head on. Directly define workplace bullying behaviors. These include creating a hostile environment with verbal or emotional abuse, intentionally withholding resources from team members, making examples of specific employees, discriminating based on race, age, or religion, stealing clients, undermining authority, or using authority to unfairly dominate over others. Often, pointing out the common behavior of workplace bullies can help victims to see they have support at work and can help perpetrators to see that you are noticing.
2. Hire a speaker.
One idea you might not have thought of is to hire a public speaker. A public speaker can be a great option to bring employee awareness toward a bullying problem. Generally, they share messages that are personal and have the ability to impact listeners and motivate change. As a third party, the speaker can make assumptions and call out behaviors that you, as a business owner or manager, are not in the position to change or professionally mention. Many people pay more respect to a figure that has the power of the stage, especially bullying types who may shrug off direct pressure from a manager.
3. Model correct business behavior.
Don't fall into the bullying trap yourself. Refrain from yelling at or manipulating employees. If you have rules, be sure they are equally applied to all areas of the office and to all personnel, no matter the difference in position and pay. When anti-bullying meetings are held, fully support them and take them seriously. If employees see you rolling your eyes at "another workplace environment improvement meeting," they will take their cue from you and see meetings and trainings as a joke or a burden.
4. Take reports of bullying seriously.
Many schools have a zero-tolerance bullying policy, meaning that bullies are either expelled or have one chance and then are expelled, depending on the severity. If this type of policy is an option for your workplace, implementing it can reduce bullying counts. People value their jobs and income, and being fired for bullying can destroy a professional reputation. Be sure you are willing to follow through with a strict no-bullying policy. If you make the policy but never act, bullies will learn not to take it seriously.