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Merv

Bullying in the Workplace

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Folks

 

Just preparing for a manager who has a proven record for folding like a deck of cards under pressure.

 

The associated behaviour that accompanies this is tantrums and shouting episodes.

 

Not everyone is aware of the approaching incompetence.

 

If subjected to any of this behaviour, the plan is to exit the conversation asap and see support.

 

I have a fair understanding of the topic, just looking for current practices being used and if the apply to all sectors equally

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There is a senior manager in my place notorious for bullying. He's not my manager, nor has any management over me or my teams, but I'm in a position where I can over rule a decision from this manager or his staff, if that decision comes into my scope of work. I once got asked "has he ever bullied you?" because of this oversight. I burst out laughing and replied: "he'd better be bigger, faster and a damned side harder than I am if he wants to try". Yes, I know bullying isn't just physical, but if he even tried raising his voice to me...

 

Anyway, one of my teams gets called in for the Compliance investigation that would follow a complaint of bullying; we'd work with Legal and HR on the investigation.

 

My company is hugely aggressive in the sales area - the most aggressive in our industry. Within the sales side, it would seem that the 'bullying baseline' is extremely high. There are clear displays of what in the majority of companies would be classed as obvious bullying, but nobody blinks an eye. We have a very strict policy, process, and reporting structures for such things, but I feel that the effectiveness of the actions - perhaps I should say the effectiveness of following current practices to reply to your point - are down to the competency and confidence of the HR person engaging in the process.

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I send my most formal, technically correct emails to people who are bullying fools like you describe. Brings out the best passive aggressive in me.

 

I also have recently walked out of a meeting where said person was bullying another team member. He confronted me afterwards and said not to dare do that again. My response was that if you treat anyone like that in my presence, I'll do it again.

 

Managemnet did NOTHING.

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Merv,

 

My advice is to go into any meeting with a firm resolve to remain calm at all costs. If you can, try to have a reliable witness present (use any excuse, "Jane is a excel guru, would you mind her sitting in for this discussion") etc, and have yourself and them document everything as soon as you can post all meetings. Be deliberate in all of your actions and think harder on how they are going to be perceived by the manager in question.

 

Once HR gets involved, their modus operandi will be likely to interview all parties (including witnesses) individually and see where there is co-operation of stories. Unfortunately in He says / He says type scenarios this is the only fair way for them to proceed.

 

Good luck, my previous company had a senior manager that displayed some of the worse bullying ever seen. Despite numerous complaints and 3/4 of the HR team openly telling the HR director and MD he had to go, neither had the balls to even start a conversation with him. Hope the same scenario does not apply there.

 

Tenpints - Sales is usually one of the worse areas for this. Unfortunately most companies will turn a blind eye when results are being exceeded.

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Dig anything up prince ?

oops sorry,

 

treat it like any performance management issue. Part of the role of a manager is to lead by example, coach etc. Bullying is a serious issue and it may just take one disgruntled employee to go to Fair Work.

 

Fair Work actually look after workplace bullying now. it used to be the Anti discrimination commission, but no longer. It is actually better because the employee can not receive compensation this way, but fair work would investigate and ensure you have some things in place, i.e policies etc. They would have to engage a lawyer.

 

if you have any questions let me know

 

so maybe ensure you do have a workplace bullying policy, perhaps if you didnt want to single this perosn out, let everyone know the policy has just been updated and send this to all employees. This will draw a line in the sand, but may not stop the managers behavior.

 

i think the best option really is to have a formal discussion in regards to this manager over his behaviour. Tell him, Managers are paid the money they are paid to set examples as well as the other duties.

 

it may be like throwing a grenade and he may well not take it well, but offer him EAP. So always start the performance management session with a positive, then hit them with the negative, then try and finish on a positive.

 

if you have any questions let me know.

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Ok thanks

 

I'd prefer the bully just to be so angry he'd take a swing at me, so I could get a shot in

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Ok thanks

 

I'd prefer the bully just to be so angry he'd take a swing at me, so I could get a shot in

not sure if you would both go to jail....you might ending up sharing a cell together with a black man called Jamal

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None of this may occur, but i do like to be prepared.

 

Witnesses do tend to be reluctant to participate fear of future repercussions.

 

The formal interview discussion would be in the presence of the bullys manager I presume.

 

Who would initiate EAP ?

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None of this may occur, but i do like to be prepared.

 

Witnesses do tend to be reluctant to participate fear of future repercussions.

 

The formal interview discussion would be in the presence of the bullys manager I presume.

 

Who would initiate EAP ?

 

 

you just offer it. they usually don't take it up, but it just covers you.i would also keep have the bulls manager there. and keep notes.. you have to cover yourself you never now where it will lead to.

 

A short letter detailing expectations in the future is also good, Just stating what is expected of the bully. If you ever need examples, let me know, happy to assist.

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Some very good advice here. Bullies don't expect that you won't tolerate their behaviour. In the manager subordinate relationship they don't for one minute forget that they have power through position.

 

Staying clam, pointing out their behaviour to them is a first step. The true nutter will still keep going after a number of repetitions, tell them that you are leaving the meeting.

 

Stay calm, document what happened when where, share with some one you trust if for no other reason than that person can document the impact the bullying had on you. They can' comment on what happened but they can make a statement on how it impacted you.

 

Meet as soon as possible afterwards with the two up manager and or HR

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Bully's just like at school are trying to feel better about themselves. In school it was a bit harder often it was about being overweight, in the closet, things going wrong at home. Or in some cases just being a turd.

 

Office bullies usually try to make up for being thick (some of them know they are some don't). So assuming you don't go to pieces as soon as you get bullied and can stay calm, there are a few tricks even with a passive or worse line management:

 

Know your rights and code of conduct and highlight where they are missing the mark.

 

Have the discussions with the door open where other people can hear you.

 

If you feel at anytime threatened or that the behaviour is not acceptable, tell them so and terminate the meeting for that reason.

 

If they are doing tricky things such as framing unreasonable work expectations, listen let them tire themselves out, then as them some questions, "can you remind me of the objective", when they say things like I didn't say that or my expectation was x, bring out the email or tasking statement they set.

 

Even if you don't have those records (good if you do), the very act of reminding them when and what they directed was x generally will send them into a fit of more outrageous behaviour that a witness or those within earshot can't ignore.

 

Keep documenting, even if your management does not help, you will have a case. Employing some of the tactics above always ends in the true nutter exploding in a group setting where they recognise theyhave gone too far.

 

They are thick so will always follow that pattern and get themselves in trouble

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A person who has the respect of the troops, doesn't have to resort to such tactics.

 

I think it is a far reaching problem in business

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A person who has the respect of the troops, doesn't have to resort to such tactics.

 

I think it is a far reaching problem in business

do you mean the bully or the bully dealing tactics

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Bully

Ah yes, they don't but they also don't care. I've always found that going head to head is what they want so outsmart them and a bit of passive resistance works well.

 

Documenting is your friend with a third party supporting. Even if you can't prove the behaviour you can prove the impact thus your employer will find it harder to ignore the duty of care

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I'm in passive resistance mode with a project manager right now.

Everything goes in an email, and when his ignorance of the project subject matter is exposed, I resort to incredibly formal responses using all the correct technical terms and very proper grammar and language.

Meetings is a different challenge as he likes to have one on one "chats", so I'm starting to send a confirming email of my take on the agreed actions, even when there are none.

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In this situation, make it clear that you are not comfortable meeting one on one. Bullies like the one on one, as the subject has no support and the bully is free to do whatever they want. You don't have to accept the one to one.

 

You do have to accept the meeting, take a third party. Make it clear that you are not comfortable meeting with them alone and state why referring back to your code etc.

 

If the bully still tries to force the one on one without addressing the concern, they are by definition bullying you more.

 

Any decent sized company when confronted with a documented pattern of bullying, WHS etc even if they are toxic will deal with it in a way that gives you some way out. A decent lawyer might help as well, as they can always fire you even if they are in the wrong, it will take a while to get a remedy.

 

Having said that in this type of situation the best way is get a new job some place else. Why would anyone want to work with such a toxic culture

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Don't also be misled that a Manager cannot talk to his team harshly, but he must also give praise when required. i have also defended my company at times because 'the employee lodged a complaint' under stress leave through Workcover because they did not like the way the manager spoke to the, The Manager simply asked one of our employees if he had been drinking as he thought he smell alcohol on his breath. Sounds like the manager shouldn't have done this as it appears to intimidation/ singling out right. The employee also recorded it on his cell phone covertly, the whole conversation. the worker went home stating the manager was referring to him as an alcoholic and he had no right to ask the question. h

 

 

so then i can tell the companies side, the Employee was one of our traffic controllers who at times had to direct busy traffic whilst trucks came tot he site. The Manager was the OH&S site Manager. He was within his rights to do this and the claim was thrown out of course, the unions by the way wanted this manager sacked and that also were able themselves to force another senior foreman to do a anger management course or they wanted him removed from site. This was not the companies decision, they just put down the ultimatum. If the snr foreman lodged a claim under fir work for unfair dismissal they would have easily won the case and received prob 6 mths salary.

 

 

so my point is focus on what constitutes bullying behaviour. I won't go through the definition here and not supporting either side as i do tow the case,but for behaviour to change, it can be tough unless it is clearly defined. A small investigation can also be undertaken by HR on the quiet, pref off site, coffee shop chats, but even maybe upfront and let the manager know there has been a mention of bullying by an employee. HR will look into it further and don't need to really give the name of the person as yet. let them know later. Anyone i ramble as each case is different and there is many ways to achieve that you want to achieve. Keep your end goal in mind,

 

as you mentioned the end goal of the defence force leaders are to keep their fighters safe whilst killing the enemy. Maybe business is simply about getting the 'best' out of your employee, and each place i have worked at is in all different states of maturity /

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Need advice on this issue from HR types.

Young female (24) has been working for a firm in Sydney for about 12mths now, did not get on with first manager (female), shifted Depts and now having problems with 2nd manager also female (which raises the question, is she the problem, not the managers - but from what she tells us about conversations with 2nd manager, I think it might be the manager).

She is a very sensitive, non-confident type, working in marketing and this is pretty much an entry level job so she is paid peanuts.  Even so, she seems to have kicked some pretty impressive goals organising product launch events and even MCing them.  Has got some very positive feedback from the firms clients and has put her hand up to organise/MC upcoming product launches in Brisbane etc.

Has made a few mistakes as most people do (forgot to post some material to a client for a week, left an additional sticker on a box resulting it the mailing centre rejecting it as 'non-compliant').  Manager even threatened talking to HR about that last mistake (which seems like a piddling error to me in the scheme of things)!

Her manager is always hauling her over the coals for these minor things, and being a sensitive type, she often ends up in tears as happened y'day and she walked out & went home. It's got to the point where she does not want to go back in, and is thinking of writing to HR to document it all.

Manager says things like "I know there is some intelligence in there (name) but you need to think about the process the account managers go through and....".  To which she replies (often very emotionally) "but I have no information about what the account managers do to figure out that process. No one has ever explained it to me".  In the next breath the manager will tell her she is doing really well on X, Y and Z.  Despite being shy, she is not averse to stating her position/opinion & I suspect the manager takes this as undermining her authority.

Manager sounds like a micro-manager with no management skills, who is missing the big picture and only finding the small inconsequential errors.  Or maybe she is jealous that this young kid is taking on some big tasks (MCing product launch events) and getting praised by clients for her performance?

And as I've said before, I've found females in the workplace can be complete toxic competitive nutters to each other.

My concern is if she writes to HR, this will go pear shaped fast.  Or maybe it is what is needed as this woman needs a good upper-cut? 

And I'm aware I only have one side of the story, but if the exchanges I'm hearing about are accurate, something seems off here.

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Start documenting everything, no need to send it to HR, but best to get it all down so if things do get to the stage where HR is required, she has it all there.

Secondly, having 2 managers is not going to go over well if push comes to shove.  She really needs to work on the relationship with this manager, but if it is as bad as she is making out at the same time start with an exit strategy. 

I'd be suggesting that she needs to find a good mentor.  Doesn't have to be in the company she works for, or even in her profession.  If there is an industry body in her profession than that would be a good place to start, any good professional body has a formalised mentoring program.  The mentor should be able to catch up on a regular basis over coffee out of the office and be able to help her through the issues, be a sounding board and be able to throw some good but challenging questions back at her with the aim of making her think of how she could have handled things differently.  Failing finding a mentor, hiring a career coach may be another option

 

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34 minutes ago, Cottoneyes said:

Start documenting everything, no need to send it to HR, but best to get it all down so if things do get to the stage where HR is required, she has it all there.

Yup, that was also what I suggested.

I'd be suggesting that she needs to find a good mentor.  Doesn't have to be in the company she works for, or even in her profession.  If there is an industry body in her profession than that would be a good place to start, any good professional body has a formalised mentoring program.  The mentor should be able to catch up on a regular basis over coffee out of the office and be able to help her through the issues, be a sounding board and be able to throw some good but challenging questions back at her with the aim of making her think of how she could have handled things differently.  Failing finding a mentor, hiring a career coach may be another option

That is a great idea.  Maybe a male mentor too?  Just need to think about who.  Maybe her company has an industry body?

 

 

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