Why Workplace Bullying is a Leadership Issue

diverse business leaders meeting

Savvan Learning has developed a training course to provide business leaders with needed tools to identify and prevent workplace bullying. It was developed based on research findings on the frequency of abusive behavior in the workplace.  This is the second article in a 3-part series.

Program Viewpoints

A review of how in tune you are in recognizing how your behaviors affect yourself and your actions in relationships with others. How your actions propel forward and hinder your performance. A discussion of self-awareness, awareness of others, and the cultural awareness within your organization.

The path to prevention of bullying in the workplace begins once there is a genuine awareness of the abusive conduct in the leadership, management and employees. Based on WBI information 56% of bullies are bosses, typically they bully several job roles beneath their current level.

Bosses Peers Subordinates w-o tag

There often is a groupthink type of behavior; a pack mentality. Typically there is a willingness for more than one leader or manager to not only be aware of the bullying of a target, but actively involved in the process of supporting the bullying and abusive conduct in the workplace. Ultimately we would like to have accountability for the abusive conduct. Heinz Leymann uses the term, ‘mobbing’ to describe health-harming abusive conduct at work. Mobbing implies multiple perpetrators.

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

~ Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft

The workshop is ‘Bullying is a Leadership Issue, and That Leaders Can Change’. For Leadership there will be steps on how to address the changes in your organizational culture and how to address anti-bullying prevention policies and governance. For the individual (target), steps on what you can do to protect and arm yourself in the workplace.

(Please note, going to HR and upper management without a well-thought out plan and strategy will not net the needed support and will make negative outcomes inevitable for the target).

There will be a focus on gender, in both the bully (perpetrator) and the victim (target). We will provide causal evidence as to why leadership and management are part of the current problem today and how they can be part of the solution in their organizations.

Lastly, we will look at competitive work environments and sports minded leadership and management and how these behaviors can contribute to the excessive aggressive behaviors being demonstrated as abusive conduct.  As humans we tend to support those individuals who are most like ourselves.

We will highlight in these organizational cultures established practices of aggressive and competitive behaviors. These behaviors may be reflected in our communities, and in our sports environments including on and off the field.

Organizational Culture

The work culture is designed and set by the executives, the leadership, and the management of an organization and is supported by HR. The HR role is to support leadership and management.

In work environments that are predominately male in nature, research shows that aggressive behavior is even more pronounced.

As noted above, leadership and management make up the largest part of those who are bullies, i.e., perpetrators. What percentage are males? What percentage are females? Workplace bullying is an equal opportunity for abusive conduct by either sex. The queen-bee mentality is in both men and women. Race is also part of the equation.

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Gender Impact Includes Loss of Work, Health, and Financial Loss

What we do know is 69% of bullies are men and 31% are women. Therefore, based on the research about male bullies being more aggressive, we know that men target men at 30% and women at 39% and women target 68% women and 32% men. The targets that lose their jobs most often are not the leadership, but the subordinates. Therefore we can speculate that more women lose their jobs than men. We can surmise the bully (perpetrator) stays, the individual (target) leaves the current workplace.

Who Should Take This Course

The business leadership includes CXO executives, Leadership, Management and HR. The Individual (Target) is an individual who is currently being bullying and needs the steps to notify the proper authorities and to put a plan together. It is for the Bystander who is supportive of the Target and wants to assist the Target in putting plan together. The is for Individuals who have been bullied and need to understand what they can do to prevent these behaviors from occurring again and to help them be advocates of programs to assist other Targets and a Healthy Workplace Bill. The program is for Fortune 500 organizations, and Small-Medium (SMB) Size Businesses.

The program deliverable type includes virtual instructor led training as well as classroom style face-to-face offerings. The program features small groups for the most effective teaming principles, under 10 people in a virtual setting and multiple classroom offerings.

Additional Reading:

Course Overview: Workplace Bullying is a Leadership Issue that Leaders Can Change

Characteristic Types, Roles and Groups of Bullying

Laws, Legality of Bullying in the Workplace

Workplace Bullying Definitions

Source: Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct the online survey of 1,000 adults in the U.S., January 27-28, 2014. The margin of error is +/-3.2 % points. Graphic Images, (WBI).

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About Linda Savanauskas

An accomplished talent management professional with experience in curriculum design, development of learning strategies, and professional skills development training programs for the workplace. Collaboration in training programs includes small and medium size businesses (SMB) to larger organizations from Raleigh to Charlotte, North Carolina. Virtual instructor led training can be offered to any location.