Ethical Businesses Prevent Workplace Bullying
May 25, 2011 Leave a comment
A Leaders’ Impact
We know that how we treat people as leaders matters to our businesses – our leadership impacts employee engagement, performance, learning, the quality of customer service and so much more. Through our leadership behavior, we create a work environment that is either high-stress and unproductive or low-stress and productive.
There is a growing body of research that shows that the impact of our interpersonal behavior as leaders is more important than we had previously thought, that the impact of negative workplace behaviors is more damaging than we thought, and that preventing bullying is part of ethical business leadership.
David Yamada has researched and reported major health problems associated with workplace bullying.
“Some targets have developed symptoms consistent with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
“Targeted workers are not the only ones negatively impacted by mistreatment. Co-workers who witness or learn of this behavior may become intimidated or fearful, experiencing anxieties that affect the quality of their work lives as well.”
Yamada, David C., Workplace Bullying and Ethical Leadership. Journal of Values-Based Leadership, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 49, 2008; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 08-37. SSRN:http://ssrn.com/abstract=1301554
Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute has led research that brings attention to the scope of the problem. The 2010 WBI study showed that
“Bullying remains a problem for over a third of the population.”
Namie, Gary, Research Director for the Workplace Bullying Institute, The WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey 2010, conducted by Zogby International. http://workplacebullying.org/docs/WBI_2010_Natl_Survey.pdf
Highlighting The Importance of Respectful Behavior
In his recent article in the Financial Post (Canada), Workplace Bullying: North America’s Silent Epidemic Ray Williams describes research studies on the physical and psychological harm caused by bullying behaviors in the workplace and calls for us to return to a “culture of civility.”
Questions for Reflection
- Is anyone in our organization being mistreated by a leader or co-worker?
- Have we made it safe to report bullying? Have we stopped it when we knew about it?
- Are any of the perpetrators in our organization in senior level positions?
- Are we unintentionally supporting negative behavior by looking the other way?
- Have we considered the catastrophic impact to our people and our bottom line of allowing any negative workplace behaviors to continue?
- Have we made it clear in our company performance standards and leadership expectations that we have no tolerance for such behaviors? Have we backed it up with accountability and action?
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