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When we walked out of those school gates for the final time, there were things that we thought would stay in the past…bad first kisses, acne, coming out of the toilet with your skirt stuck in your knickers, and playground bullies. Unfortunately, some of these things followed us into adulthood and the workplace. While none are ideal, bullying is another story altogether.

Bullying in the workplace can cause immeasurable damage. It can be severely harmful to the confidence and mental health of those on the receiving end. It creates unease in the team and, depending on the level and amount of workplace bullying. It can create a toxic culture, cause high employee turnover and damage the company’s employer branding, making it difficult to recruit good talent.

Conversations around bullying are one of those dreaded ‘difficult conversations’. They are not nice conversations to have. Many of us dread them. Sometimes we put them off or try to avoid them altogether. However, as a manager or leader, it is your responsibility to ensure your team feel safe and supported in the workplace. Part of that responsibility is to reduce the risk of workplace bullying and nip it in the bud if and when it occurs.

Here are some guidelines to help you make sure your workplace promotes a safe and secure environment for all the team:

Set your stall out from the outset

Make it clear that there is no place for bullying in your team and the actions you will take should it occur. Refer your team to the company’s anti-bullying policy.

Ensure mutual understanding

Opinions may differ about what constitutes bullying behaviour. As well as ensuring that you and your team are aware of the company’s anti-bullying policy, involve your team in discussions about bullying so they are clear on what is and is not acceptable behaviour.

Always investigate

If someone complains about bullying, ensure you investigate the issues thoroughly in a caring, empathetic, and timely manner.

Responding to a bullying complaint

The circumstances will largely dictate the best way to address the matter and the people involved. Always consider all options and all factors before taking action. Often an informal approach at the start can help resolve issues, especially where they are related to poor communication or a lack of self or social awareness.

If you’re unsure or apprehensive about dealing with a matter, seek support from HR, your manager, or a Coach. If you struggle with difficult conversations or particular personality types and you would like to discuss how Delphinium can support you to develop the skills and confidence to tackle bullying in the workplace, arrange a free consultation now.

Author: Gemma Rolstone | Published 9th November 2021