Helping You Cope With & Stop



What Holds Organizations Back From Stopping Bullying?

Most people want the best.  What holds an organization back from making sure it is it’s ‘best’?  One aspect  is ability or skill level (competence) to be able to create something for the best. Another factor is desire or motivation (belief) to be able to move forward. Decision making becomes a constant re-calculation of time, energy and resources. You know it ‘must be done’ and ‘it’s in your best interest’ to do something, yet many organizations hold out until it’s too late. Do you want to learn how to eat well and exercise after your heart attack?

Take a peek at three very important situations and what you could do to over-come the issues and move forward:

1. Situation:
You feel you’re being bullied and you go to your manager for help. Your manager says: “You just have to learn to get along. Why don’t you try talking to them and buy them a coffee?”

Why This Happens:

  • Your boss does not know how to help you with regard to being bullied (many bosses have not been trained on what to do; in fact many people have not been trained).
  • You may not have given your boss enough ‘documentation’ in order for your boss to help you.

What You Can Do:

  • Document the workplace bullying using a documentation log (This is on page 99 of Bully Free at Work). This will help to show you the repeated nature of the bully’s behavior. This will help your boss see ‘your facts’ and move you closer to making a request.
  • Make a formal request to your boss as to what you’d like to see happen instead. This involves some practice, but it can be done (I always say, they put a man on the moon; this can be done too)! (This is on page 168 of Bully Free at Work).
  • If your boss refuses to support or help you (authoritative power), then you must look to bully proof yourself from the workplace bullying. (This is on page 107 Bully Free at Work.

2. Situation:
You’ve seen workplace bullying increase and your workplace is starting to think they would be best to have a workplace bullying policy in place. Everyone seems to think this is a good idea – and it is…

What to Watch Out For:

  • Policies are guidelines for the organization to follow in order to guide ‘best behaviors’. A policy is only as good as the people and leadership who are committed to protecting and defending it. All policies must also be accompanied by a trusted plan to ensure the policy works.  This requires an integrated approach of information (awareness and education as to an agreed upon definition of workplace bullying and workplace bullying behaviors, inspiration (buy-in and commitment) and implementation(sustainability).
  • A list of behaviors and values that the organization wants, such respect, excellence, team-work, without a clear understanding of ‘what does this really mean’? This is where organizations get stuck due to the subjective nature of terms. The real key here is the ability to create an agreed-upon set of standards of conduct to allow for civility and productivity.
  • Also watch out for the big rush to have a policy in place, leaving employees with the illusion that the organization is going to ‘do whatever it takes’ to stop workplace bullying; as opposed to diving in beyond policy creation and ensuring everyone is on board. Stopping workplace bullying is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Consultants with very little experience in creating the respectful culture you deserve.  Many consultants are aware of the theory but have they actually taken an organization through the paces with success? Can they respond and navigate with flexibility through the various hurdles, politics and barriers to create change?

3. Situation:
Many organizations would like to create a respectful workplace and eliminate workplace bullying, but they fear that if they educate everyone with regard to workplace bullying, this will increase claims and interventions, and the organization will have the ‘tail wagging the dog’ situation of employee entitlement as opposed to a productive, results-based organization.

Great point and noteworthy concern. You can have both empowerment and productivity.

Know This:

  • Most people want a respectful workplace.
  • Most organizations do not know how to create the change management plan in order to ‘change their culture’ so they hesitate or live under the illusion that a ‘policy will do it’.
  • This further erodes trust with employees as the promise does not equal the delivery.
  • A very natural concern is to wonder if employees will not adhere to performance management standards and a results-driven culture, but rather ‘cry wolf’ whenever anyone rubs them the wrong way. The key factor here is to be very clear with what workplace bullying is and what it is not. In addition, it is important to note what workplace bullying behaviors are and the difference to effective performance management. When you deal with workplace bullying training effectively, you will also be able to create more ownership in your employee base as opposed to entitlement.
  • World class organizations decide to create a respectful workplace and do so. It is the same as a professional athlete deciding to ‘do whatever it takes’ to win. Even if there is no ‘know-how’, the decision and commitment get you half way there. Combine this with getting the right coach and imagine what you could do!

If you had a heart attack, the very next day you’d be interested in eating well, exercising and making room for any behavior change necessary to ‘save your life’. If you had a serious incident, law suite or potential threat to your organization (and it has happened), you would make the time necessary to find and create a system in order to prevent and stop workplace bullying, and create a respectful workplace; why not add  create a world class organization for years to come. After all, no one plans to have another heart attack…but it happens. What will you do now?


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One response to “What Holds Organizations Back From Stopping Bullying?”

  1. Phil Gebhardt says:

    Okay-this is all good, apart for 2 things. The HR department in my organization’s policy is to ‘defend line managers at all costs’-this includes turning a blind eye to my manager’s behaviour. When I complained to HR about the bullying I suffered at the hands of my line manager they at first pretended to be sympathetic…and then promptly turned the whole thing into a ‘performance management’ issue and put me on a discipliniary-in other words they completely betrayed me.They then approached me to move to a new department, not because they care but to because they wanted to mitigate against any possible legal action. In my organization I consider the Human Resources department to be ‘the secret police’ for office bullies and line managers. I see no will or desire from them to change the status quo……. I don’t think they even understand the term ‘respect in the workplace’They claim to be an ‘ethical company’ by the way ….

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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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