Workplace Bullying Examples: Being a Strong Leader

"Workplace Bullying, do you have the courage to get off the sideline?"

These workplace bullying examples are provided to highlight the power of good leadership.

Workplace Bullying Examples:

In my work experience I have seen workplace bullying in many forms and have identified a number of different organizational approaches to addressing bulling, some very successful, other not very successful at all.

These workplace bullying examples will highlight the power of good leadership in preventing bulling.

Workplace Bullying Example 1: Poor Leadership

This particular organization had a stronger focus on its political structure and no so much of a concern for it’s employees. One of the senior managers was well known for his bullying behavior, so well known that two senior HR advisers spoke openly about his poor behavior and the way he treated others in the business, and even more other senior managers commented to his victims that they were being bullied and they were not sure why he (the bully) was allowed to continue behaving this way.

One employee, who had been a victim of his bullying for a number of months contacted HR to raise a formal complaint about the managers ongoing bullying, the senior HR manager advised that the HR executive would black list (end the career of) anyone who raised a complaint about this particular managers behavior, as the bully and the HR executive were friends.

In this example of an organizations approach to managing bulling there are a number of areas of concern

  • The senior HR managers sat on their hands and did not speak up about known acts of bullying in the workplace. These two managers lack the courage of their roles and were poor examples of leaders.  
  • The advise that the HR executive would black list anyone making a complaint about this manager is unlawful and shows that the HR manager was more willing to break the law than stand up to the internal politics of the organization A good leader will sacrifice their job, if they have to, to stand up for what is right.
  • The other managers in the organization that would talk to victims of the bully and tell them that they were being bullied did not advise the victims that they have options and to explain these options to the victims.

A good leader will never walk past a wrong doing and turn the other way. This is an example of an organization that from the top down has failed to implement a policy to identify and resolve bullying in their business. It is no longer enough to have a policy, every member of the organization must be empowered to speak up and prevent bullying in the workplace.

All Good Leaders MUST stand up for and represent anyone being bullied in the workplace.

Workplace Bullying Example 2: Good Leadership

In another organization, the sales executive approached an employee who had only been in the organization for a few months and aggressively told them “I want the project plan by 2:00 pm, if I don’t have it I will smash you!”

The employee was concerned and asked other staff if this was common, they all replied “Yes, you get used to him”. The employee was not willing to accept this and spoke to the sale executives manager and asked if this behavior was acceptable or not?

The manager replied “No not under any circumstances, I will address it with him straight away”

Given the managers supportive response the employee responded with “If it is not acceptable I will discuss my concern with the sales executive, I just want to know I have the organizations backing”

The manager then replied “OK, I will ring you tomorrow to make sure you have had the chat and to find out how it went”

The employee raised the concern with the sales executive who apologized for his threat and the two continued to work closely together, and the incident never repeated.

In this example the manager showed strong leadership in supporting the employee to have the conversation and in addressing undesirable behaviors, he did follow up the following day and was please with the outcome.

However, the employees who have gotten used to the sales executives behavior should have spoken up earlier. It is not acceptable to get used to threatening behavior

Workplace Bullying Example 3: Good and Poor Leadership

A project manager would come to visit his team daily and would berate the team leader in front of the team every day. The team leader would leave the business each day and sit in his car and cry wondering why he was so bad at his job.

After about three weeks the team leader had a light bulb moment and realized that he was not the problem.

The team leader approached the project manager and discussed his undesirable behaviors, the project manager replied with “you shit me to tears”. The team leader then escalated to the general manager who took immediate action to address the current problem. The project manager apologized and changed his behavior

The following day the project manager advised the team leader that the team leader had ruined his (the project managers) career in the organization, this continued as a topic over the next few weeks. Within a few weeks the team leader requested a transfer and left the project team.

In this example the general manager showed great leadership in addressing the issue, but failed to follow up afterwards.  If he had followed up he would have found out what was going on and would have been able to take further action.

When the team leader requested a transfer an alarm bell should have been raised to look a little deeper into the situation.

Consulting Australia

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