This past week we discussed the issue of bullying in the workplace. This week, let’s fix it.
The greatest combatant we have against social abuse in the workplace is constructive confrontation. That is probably the scariest word that the majority of us hear as leaders. However, just the fact that you’re reading this and want to change the environment you influence influence in, is a great step in the right direction.
The following are common, but slightly covert, signs of bullying in the workplace to look out for:
-ignoring, not listening, turning away, or not responding to questions
-assigning higher workloads or more weekend shifts
-taking credit for others’ work
-withholding key patient information
A few more obvious ones
-exclusion from social events
-gossip and backstabbing
-failing to respect others through insults and jokes
This list is long, and you might be thinking you see this too often in the workplace to fix all of it.
The amazing thing about leadership is that everything is about small steps. One little choice at a time to correct and encourage and counteract matters immensely.
Your job as a leader isn’t to fix everything all at once, on the contrary, it’s to fix one thing at a time.
The following is an example list of phrases and ways to address bullying and be more confident as you do so:
“You don’t seem yourself today. What is going on?”
“I’m wondering about your tone. It’s coming across pretty abrasive.”
“I’m not sure you’re aware that your tone can come across as pretty sarcastic.”
-“Were you aware of how you sounded when you just talked with Jane? Is something upsetting you?
-“When you [state behavior] I feel [state feelings]”
If the situation gets too heated it’s fine to walk away and revisit it when things settle down as long as you advise the other person that is your intent. Just walking away can throw more fuel on the fire. The key is consistency. The greater consistency with which bullying is met the greater result in reducing it. Even if it’s the same person over and over again.
Your challenge this week is to confront one situation of bullying or incivility a day either by example or conversation to fix the behavior.
This may seem like a lot to handle, but one corrected tone, eye roll or little action a day, whether it be your own or someone else’s is one step in the right direction. Do not let the simplicity of the one action deceive you as to it’s power.
Good luck this week!