What is Bullying in the Workplace?

There are many working definitions of Bullying, but most agree that bullying encompasses.

Persistent, abusive, intimidating, abusive, insulting and offensive behaviour, abuse of position/power which results in the recipient individual (or indeed group) feeling humiliated, threatened, vulnerable or undermined.

Some may argue, and perhaps understandably argue that “How you feel is not my problem.”   Maybe so.  Emotional Intelligence helps us to understand that as individuals, as human beings, we have control over how we think, how we feel and how we respond to external stimuli.  This may be accurate.  Isn’t there also though the very real possibility that the instigator of bullying (or harassing) behaviour also has control over how s/he communicates, conducts him or herself, and impacts others?

Whichever position we choose to prefer, a balance needs to be achieved; and this balance, understanding and appreciation of our personal, professional and organisational responsibilities can be achieved in just one day with Summit.

The Problems with Most Bullying and Harassment Training Courses

  1. Those employees nominated to participate in the training wonder “Why me? What have I done wrong?”  As it is deemed to be some form of punishment rather than a learning opportunity, participants possessing this outlook tend not to engage fully or learn willingly.
  2. The training course turns into a political correctness overdose where the Trainer takes a “Be careful not to upset anyone” approach.  This is as lame as it is useless.  Remember, the human brain does not like being told what to do and what not to do.
  3. The well-meaning project sponsor (often but not always HR) take the position that once employees have participated in a bullying and harassment training course, all will be wonderful back in their workplace.  No.  Effective day to day people management and communication are absolutely essential to reinforcing learning, and providing appropriate reminders of standards, boundaries and expectations in how every employee conducts themselves, and manages their relationships with colleagues.

Positioning Bullying and Harassment Training Courses
Several simple steps can be taken to honestly and accurately position Bullying and Harassment Training with employees.

  1. Help employees understand the value of and need for being more aware of their individual and collective personal and professional obligations as part of your organisation.
  2. Instill the candid message that the organisation is there to serve its employees by taking a clear position on bullying and harassment.
  3. Encourage ownership and understanding of what bullying and harassment actually is; and also what it isn’t.
  4. Ensure Managers go first.  There is little if any value in an abundance of front-line employees participating in such training if Managers are somehow exempt…because they should already know this stuff!  It just doesn’t work that way.

If you are interested in exploring Bullying and Harassment Training for your organisation, and wish to enjoy an immersive, relevant learning rather than boring Powerpoint slides, why not get in touch?  The Summit one-day training programme can be viewed here.

Posted by on October 8, 2018

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