Helping You Cope With & Stop



Protecting Your Organization From Workplace Bullying

Most people and organizations want a respectful workplace; yet if you asked employees, some would say “there are issues” and some employees (1 out of 6) would report they are being bullied or have been bullied.  The organization “keeps hoping” and the good employees “keep leaving”.  Employers rightfully do not want a system of “the tail wagging the dog” with little room for performance management. So how does one strike the balance?  Here at the 5 steps for leadership to protect itself from workplace bullying.

5 Steps:  Organizational Protection Against Workplace Bullying

1. Desire: It comes down to “Do you want to?”.  Desire is the fuel for change.  Anything that overrides desire is a different exercise altogether.  What creates desire?

  • When the benefits outweigh the perceived effort needed to go forward.
  • When the vision of the benefits are clear and more rewarding than not doing it.
  • When there is the belief that the system of change can really create the outcome desired.
  • Question to ask: Do we want to, and why?

2. Discernment: Evaluation of an effective, proven workplace bullying implementation process where every senior decision maker is at the table is key.  Allow for open discussion or worries, risks, doubts, wishes, hopes and dreams for what you want to stop and what you want to create.  Then look to see who is best qualified to assist you, not only in crating a policy and information (education) but who can help you to also create buy-in, sustainability, and a positive culture as a result.  Expertise in the workplace bullying topic area is a must, but this also must involve the ability to help you navigate in moving from A to Z smoothly, effectively and professionally.

  • Question to ask: Can we do this on our own effectively?  If not, ask:  Do we trust and like this person/company that could help us?

3. Decision: Once you evaluate your options, make a confident decision on your direction.  Make sure everyone is on board and that everyone understand what is required.  “Measure twice, cut once”.  This is the time to remove confusion, politics and risks.  When the promise is clear, the price is easy to pay.  If there is hesitation, put it on the table.  Hesitation not wrestled with at this stage creates procrastination, excuses, ignoring, etc.  (This is the real demotivator!).

4. Dedication: “No one said it would be easy!”.  This holds true for losing 30 pounds, for changing careers, moving, etc.  It also holds true for implementing a change process that will work.  Here are 3 reasons why workplace bullying processes do not work:

  • The leaders did not “buy-in” to start the process off on the right foot.  Ever hear of the game “Follow the Leader”?
  • Once the process got underway, senior leadership did not participate “when things got tough” or they did not participate, thinking they didn’t have to take part.  This is like trying to raise your child without ever going to their baseball game, gymnastics competition or concert.  Kids want their parents to participate with them – it lets them know they are valued, and they believe in their parents’ support.  The same is true for staff.  Employees benefit best by “following the leader”.
  • A policy alone does not work.  Training alone does not work.  Motivation alone does not work.  Research alone does not work.  Blending all of these aspects together creates the ingredients necessary to move forward well and solidly.
  • Question: Do you pull back when things get tough, or press forward?  What will you (leaders) do when you “don’t feel like it”?


  • The vision leads the leader.  Remember the promise.  Keep your reason for doing this in front of you at all times.
  • Keep your commitments.  Backing out or changing your mind is not an option – same as parenting.
  • Choose a workplace bullying consultant that can help “keep the momentum” … even for the leaders!

5. Dignity: You’ve heard it said – in fact, Stephen Covey says “Begin with the end in mind”.  What do you want in the end?  Envision your organization like this:

  • Where all employees look forward to coming to work.  Remember – people don’t leave organizations, they leave bosses.
  • Where senior leadership are respected, and employees are loyal to them, going the extra mile, even when they might not understand all decisions and policies”.  “There’s not really a traffic jam on the extra mile”.  Why not create a culture where going the extra mile is the desired norm, not just a behavioral discipline?
  • Where, if there are workplace bullying situations, the cases are handled clearly, effectively and in a timely manner, in order to minimize the stress for the target; the proper consequences if bullying is indeed the issue; and the discernment skills to be able to navigate through these situations with more ease.
  • At conferences all over the world, people and organizations are talking about you as “the model” because you took the time to do the right thing.

Be sure to contact us or check out our Resources for Leaders page in order to start protecting your organization from workplace bullying.

There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.  It’s not too late to do “something”.  Imagine … and like I’ve always said, we’ve put a man (and a woman) on the moon; surely we can stop workplace bullying!


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3 responses to “Protecting Your Organization From Workplace Bullying”

  1. Jason Campbell says:

    Very insightful and very true.. thank you for the poignancy

  2. Joyelle says:

    Your posting is absolutely on the point!

  3. Maggie says:

    These pieces really set a standard in the industry.

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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to

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