FaasI had a chance today to watch an insightful video about bullying in the workplace.  It’s sobering, because I can see the organizational dynamics which make this kind of thing possible.

We’re all trying to create environments where great people can succeed, right?  And to bring great value to the world through business.

Yet.  We’re dealing with humans here, and we have all kinds of failings.  Each of us.

So people fall into patterns which can seem like strong leadership, willpower, decisiveness, and fortitude.  Not bad things.  But when we interact with others, that can turn into … yes, even bullying.

It happens.  I’ve experienced it.  Thankfully, not much.

So here’s the questions for each of us here:  Can our attempts at being strong leaders turn into bullying and other unacceptable behaviors?  And do we have workplaces – even three people – where these kind of behaviors are happening and perhaps even rewarded?

Here’s how I’ve addressed it myself and with my clients:

  • Develop a personal trusting relationship with EACH person who works for you.
  • When somebody hints that they’re troubled about a workplace interaction, take them seriously.  It may just be the tip of the iceberg, but your employee needs to know that you’re creating a safe space for difficult discussions.
  • Listen.  Audibly, visually, empathetically.  Listen, watch, and sense.
  • Think deeply about your own behavior.  Not what YOU think you’re doing, but how it might be perceived by your people.

I’ve had occasions where I’ve had to tell a client that their behavior was too strong for the situation.  Fortunately, in a coaching discussion, it’s safe to talk through things like that.  So if you’re feeling the need for a sounding board, find someone you trust.

Or give me a call.  This is something you DO want to address.  Quickly, before it blows up on you.