Leadership development and executive coach explains how bullying behavior creates a toxic work environment for employees and makes for an ineffective manager.
After three decades helping executives become more effective and efficient communicators and leaders, it has become obvious that how they say and do it matters to the organizations. When leaders accurately inform expectations of work, create feedback loops, provide task support and offer pay and non-pay incentive, they can authentically inspire to bring out the best performance of people at work. If the leader is a bully, work performance slips and morale sinks. Bullying spreads in an organization and drowns out the truth of situations and can demotivate the people and cause a decrease in productivity.
Why Bullying is Not Leading
The Bully-Proof Workplace: Essential Strategies, Tips and Scripts for Dealing with the Office Sociopath, is a book to help people get back to creating productive work environments and welcomed efficiency and therefore effectiveness on the job. Bullying is not managing or leading the target of the bullying is likely to decrease their work effort, decrease the quality of their work, decrease their time working as they are recovering from the bullying incident, and decrease in their commitment to perform on the job. In many cases, if a manager chooses to bully his people, it is likely they have not approached management with the proper set of tools for creating efficiency at work. Bullying is a choice of an insecure and unskilled manager as they don’t provide the basic components for efficient work performance.
First, what are these components a manager must focus on to create an efficient work system? They are information, resources and incentives.
Information includes setting expectations for the performer and creating feedback loops. Expectations include: clear, accurate and complete directions for work are readily available and given in a timely manner. Feedback loops refer to channels of communication that allow the performer to reflect back to the manager any inefficiencies that occur between what is expected and what is observed in the actual performance. In other words, employees get to say when the directions they are receiving from management are not working to the benefit of the company. Feedback loops involve the manager as well so she can provide constructive, immediate, specific and frequent feedback about the performer’s performance.
Resources includes the necessary, reliable and effective safe implements for the job. Resources also include efficient procedures and sound methods to follow in order to be successful in the accomplishment of the job. Are unnecessary steps and unnecessary repetition removed in order for the performer to be efficient in his job.
Incentives are both pay and non-pay. Pay incentives include competitive compensation, bonuses and raises based on good performance and foreseeable job advancement. Non-pay incentives include a work environment free from incentives for poor performance, such as completing a task in record time without regard to the actual value the task brings to the organization. Other non-pay incentives could include recognition and career development such as training or coaching.
Creating and keeping the focus on Information, Resources and Incentives is the manager’s job. Bullying performers interrupts and loses the potential value of a well-managed unit which the above efficiencies bring. Being a good manager requires full commitment. Bullying takes the efficiency out of a work place.
What is bullying? Bullying is a repeated attempt to demean, diminish, defame, dominate or coerce through harassment to wear down another person or entity to give up their point of view. Bullies can single out a race, belief system, ethnic group, a newspaper, TV news channel, or anyone who opposes them. Bullies lie, block the truth, boast about their super-normal abilities or accomplishments, whether true or not, and say and do things impulsively.
Usually a bully abuses power that is gained or given to them. They seldom feel guilt or remorse and are unaware of how they make people feel as long as others have acquiesced to his or her point of view. Bullying is not managing or leading. Bullying is offensive and oppressive. Bullies create a hostile work atmosphere for men and women which in turn lowers efficient productivity. Bullying elicits the effects of hateful, angry and fearful feelings in people directly and negatively impacting the efficiency they bring to their job.
Peter J. Dean MS PhD and Molly D. Shepard MS MSM are partners in the Leaders Edge/Leaders By Design, a leadership development and executive coaching firm that is dedicated to helping C-suite executive and high-potential leaders enhance their skills including the ability to embrace understand and leverage the complexities inherent in the modern workforce. The company’s coaching protocols are based on research that they conduct on a regular basis. They are co-authors of The Bully-Proof Workplace: Essential Strategies, Tips, and Scripts for Dealing with the Office Sociopath.