Identifying and Addressing Executive Bullying & Harassment

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Do you know the signs of toxic leadership within your workplace? If your business or organization seems to have a higher than usual attrition problem, but your team seems to get along well with one another, you may have a toxic leader in your rank. Bullying and harassment is a major issue within today’s workforce, with many HR blogs and seminars focusing on dealing with peer-to-peer relationships and creating harmony within our own teams.

While there’s certainly no denying that peer-based bullying is a significant point of concern, one of the lesser addressed matters is how to identify and address toxic management in the workplace. Poor leadership can spell disaster for your company or organization, and left unchecked you could find yourself facing an employee shortage — or worse. From belittling to ignoring, harassing, and alienating, bad bosses make for bad business, with 75% of employees saying they are more apt to leave their job due to a bad manager rather than the position itself. At Pivot HR, we know just how important it is to create and foster positive, inclusive workspaces that allow everyone to grow equally. Below, we’ll cover 6 ways you can eliminate bullying within your leadership. Read on to learn more!

Set the Bar

As with any form of leadership, the best way to inspire change is to set initiatives that influence from the top down. When it comes to removing the potential for the abuse of power or harassment in the workplace, you need to ensure that your leadership, as well as the rest of your employees, are held to a clear standard that even the highest-ranking members of your team adhere to. Have a clear set of rules and guidelines, and be prepared to enforce them as needed.

Hire and Promote With Care

Sometimes, bullying can be the result of a poor cultural fit with an external leadership role being brought in from outside the company, a member of the team transferring over from another department, etc. Make sure that any new managers or executives are aware of your expectation when it comes to maintaining a positive and safe atmosphere and have a set of values and leadership goals to hold them accountable.

Zero Tolerance

It’s not enough to talk the talk; if you really want to tackle bullying and harassment head-on (and you should), there’s no room for exceptions. Implementing a very clear zero-tolerance policy will make your stance apparent to all members of your leadership team, as well as more junior employees as well. If someone steps outside the lines of what’s acceptable, be prepared to address things quickly and in alignment with the standards you’ve laid out.

Foster Communication

A healthy office environment is one full of transparency and communication. One of the best ways to reduce the occurrence of bullying is to ensure that your leadership is focused on fostering healthy communication with their team members and that they have the training they need to do so effectively. Clarity often removes the chance for conflict before it has time to set in, saving everyone time and promoting better well-being for the whole team.

Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence

Finally, challenge your managers and executives to practice their self-awareness and emotional intelligence skills. Effective leaders not only know how to identify how they feel and how their emotions may be affecting them, but they also know how to anticipate and react to the emotions of their team. If you notice a growing disconnect between management and the rest of your staff, it might be time to do a ‘reboot’ where empathy and awareness is concerned.

Addressing Bullying in the Workplace

Whether it’s peer-to-peer or on the executive level, bullying in the workplace is never acceptable. You need to take any and all accusations of bullying or harassment seriously and conduct a thorough investigation to get to the matter as soon as possible. Doing so will provide you with a clear path forward, protect everyone’s best interests, and ensure that you are in compliance with all workplace regulations. If you’ve already begun to see the signs of discontent growing in your office, the time to act is now. Don’t wait for things to “work out”, support your team by taking a collaborative approach to conflict management and partnering with an experienced HR firm like Pivot HR that can help you navigate the situation efficiently.

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