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Tackling Workplace Bullying

Guest blog submitted Ruthann Weeks, Principal Consultant, Harmony In The Workplace

I Am Not Mad at My Bully

Although I talk about her often and about the situation that caused me so much pain many years ago as I tell my story, I hold no grudge, wish no retribution, nor keep up with her career or present-day life. I have released her to the ether with a blessing and gratitude for how the experience has shaped me and the trajectory of my career as an employee relations specialist. Had my bully not worked hard to get me fired those years ago, Harmony In The Workplace would not exist.

October 17th marks Workplace Bullying Awareness Week

Workplace bullies are a thriving breed that think it’s okay to manipulate, put-down, gaslight, and torture one, or multiple targets in the places they work. They may be in a position of authority, a supervisor, a co-worker, or a client.

Workplace targets are not the same as those school yard bullies pick. They are generally high functioning, engaged employees that the bully may perceive as a threat. Another unpopular truth is that, according to workplace investigation experts, 60% of the time it is women bullying other women.

In a world where leadership roles and board room seats are disproportionately filled by white men, women should be supporting each other to excel, and bring their skills, gifts, and unique perspectives up the ladder, not turning on each other like hungry dogs fighting over the meagre bone. Instead of a fight for the one seat at the table, let’s support one another and bring some sisters to the table with us.

3 Keys to End Workplace Bullying:

  1. Prepare: Establish clear expectations in workplace policies and procedures. Be detailed about expected and prohibited workplace conduct and make adherence to the prevention plans a condition of employment that is signed off on at every performance review.

  2. Communicate: Provide regular and comprehensive training on what the expectations are and how progressive discipline will be applied for infractions, up to and including termination of employment. Employees at every level should know how to file a complaint and what to expect in a typical investigative process. They should know that there will be no negative consequence to them for filing a complain unless it is filed with malicious intent.

  3. Enforce: Obtain buy-in at the top to make a culture of zero tolerance of workplace abuse and violence a priority, not just for the front line, but for all levels of employees. There is not a policy or procedure on the planet that keeps anyone safe without enforcement. Leaders must have HR’s back and support them in making decisions that keep all people safe at work. Leaders must walk the talk and be willing to make that hard right decision if the toxic influence is a top performer in other areas.

Providing Support

Creating a culture of safety and support is simple, but it’s not easy, and it doesn’t happen over night. We are in a social shift and today’s workers are not willing to tolerate a toxic status quo, and rightly so. A survey by Lifeworks in 2020, revealed that 77% of workers will make a lateral move to an organization with better supports for their psychological health. 60% will take a pay cut to move to a work environment with better supports.

Work environments free from workplace bullying and harassment are in demand and there is no better recruitment strategy than creating Harmony In The Workplace.

Is your people strategy a top priority for your organization in 2022?

Book a complimentary consult with Ruthann here or call 780-460-1019.

As her gift to you, access The Top Three Considerations When Building Effective Organizational Culture here.

Reach out to Ruthann to support you in building more harmony at your workplace:



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