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WORK LIFE - YOU'RE ALL BIG BULLIES

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As a leader in your organisation do you bully people? If the answer is no, please take on the wider social responsi...
As a leader in your organisation do you bully people? If the answer is no, please take on the wider social responsibility of preventing others from doing it. If the answer is yes, please stop it.

If jobs are not pressured enough, why on earth should anybody be expected to put up with their managers' or colleagues' bad behaviour?

There have been well-documented cases in the press recently about concerns expressed by NHS staff and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers, which has highlighted the unacceptability of bullying relationships between the odd council leader and their chief executives.

Some people think we should just grin and bear this kind of behaviour. After all, why shouldn't we be ridiculing pieces of work performed by incompetents?

If you have answered yes to that question you need help. People by and large turn up to work to do a good job. If they do not manage to fulfil that intent we need to look at why and then choose an appropriate route to resolve the problem. That could mean training and development, an adjustment to workload, better equipment or straightforward disciplinary acton.

All of the paths to good management require communication with the people you work with. Statements from a manager about how useless someone is without any constructive solutions raise questions about the competence of that manager.

Attempting to bully people into good performance will not work. Sufferers lose confidence and self esteem, make mistakes, dread coming to work, take their mood home with them and have an unpleasant life.

If you are not convinced by the moral argument take a look at the business case. When staff are not firing on all cylinders they fail to deliver top performance. This will cost your organisation money and will tarnish its reputation as an employer.

Good organisations have policies and procedures to deal with this issue. The best actively use them. It would of course be great if we did not have to because people behaved in a reasonable way.

It is a sad thing that they do not and this is why the leaders in organisations must take a very firm line on bullying and harassment. They should all make their position clear to colleagues, managers and subordinates. That intent must be translated into doing something when required.

Watching bullying go on is something we must not allow ourselves to do. We must eradicate this form of management and ensure that the most precious of resources we look after can work and flourish in an environment conducive to getting the best out of people.

Alan Warner

Corporate director, people and property, Hertfordshire CC

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