When left unchecked, bullying gives undeserved and unwarranted authority to the malefactor. This will throw the system in a workplace into total disarray. It will demoralize everyone exposed to the bully. Allowing one person to control a group with bullying tactics undermines respect for the organization. They begin to lose confidence in their own job. The stress bullying causes, affects worker production. It also effects whether employees want to come to work. The probability of loss time and workplace accidents may rise. Bullying can adversely affect every aspect of production.

The bully should not be the vocal point of this section. We want to take the focus off the bully, then, we can better understand how to reduce bullying. In order to reduce bullying we need to understand some simple principles. One of these principles is the complacency - complicity principle. This principle tells us that when someone is complacent long enough about a situation they become complicit to that situation. This means, that when we are watching one employee bullying another and say nothing, we then become part of problem. To clarify the complacency-complicity principle think about a campfire. The fire needs three elements to be able to burn: ignition, fuel, and oxygen.
Workplace bullying, to be effective, similarly needs three elements. The "igniter" is the bully. The "fuel" is the victim, and when we watch, or aware of, bullying and do nothing about it, or fail to report it we become the "oxygen." Take away the oxygen and the "fire" will go out. Taking away the igniter can be quite difficult. On the other hand, taking away the "oxygen" is much easier. You can take away the ignition only if you can foresee and prevent the bullying from occurring in the first place. However, when we watch a situation of unacceptable behaviour or bullying, and do something to stop it, or we report it, we no longer are complicit in that act. We take away the "oxygen" the bully needs to make the bullying worthwhile. Your employees must clearly understand this process. Broadcast it throughout the company. Managers are not there just to maintain production. They are directly responsible by law, for the health and welfare of employees, just as you are responsible for your own health and welfare. It is incumbent on every manager or supervisor, to ensure that bullying does not occur in the workplace.

A man that observes a bullying incident, then he writes out his grievance on an easy-to-fill-out form. There he can accurately explain what he observed. He presents three copies to management, perhaps through a drop box. One copy goes to his manager along with another copy for the manager to give to the person alleged to have committed the act of bad behaviour. The third the man keeps. He doesnt sign it. If the grievance proves to be justified, then management would be reprimand the misbehaving employee. They should demand that the bully give a written apology to the victim.
Companies need to recognize that when someone's health and welfare are in jeopardy because of bullying, the employee can put in a grievance against the company for overlooking situations and instances that jeopardized their health and welfare. To stop bullying at the point of the grievance is to management's benefit. Certainly, doing so may prevent a victim directing their next grievance at them.
Companies can be proactive in preventing bullying in the first place. The first step is to recognize that every worker has dignity and has a right to have their dignity respected. Bullies don't respect anyone's dignity, not even their own. A bully is a coward without dignity. Any person who feels a low level of self-worth doesn't have much dignity. One way to gain a sense of dignity or self-worth is to deprive others of theirs. That's what bullies do.
To prevent this from happening at your workplace, your company can take the responsibility for reinforcing the dignity of every person employed there. This will happen when every worker respects and reinforces the dignity of all the others. This process in itself reduces the desire to demoralize others, and reduces the incidence of bullying. Bullying can't even get through the door. When all workers feel they have dignity, they also feel that they are on the same team as their co-workers. They protect each other's person. When someone tries to bully another employee, all heads turn towards that bully. They refuse to give him or her, the audience needed to maintain his or her dignity. There has to a process through which each worker can similarly protect the dignity of the others. The company must provide a safe environment for all who come through the doors. If the bottom line is profit, it is in the best interest of the company that all the employees feel they are needed and respected. When employees feel they work in an environment where everyone is treated with dignity, the tub is plugged and the quality of those employees and their work increases.


Jim Jordan
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