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© Kitt & Corbett Workplace Bullying- Myths & Misconceptions Building a Positive Work Environment in Schools Jacinta Kitt
© Kitt & Corbett Organisational Responses to Bullying Dismissive Minimum Compliance Reactive Proactive
© Kitt & Corbett Organisational Beliefs & Attitudes Dismissive The behaviours that constitute bullying are an inevitable part of working life. Bullying is not a form of abuse. Supervisors can’t manage without being accused of bullying People may bully, but they get the job done. The people who complain of bullying are weak, timid, oversensitive &/or paranoid. Some people are “victims” & would be bullied irrespective of where they are or whom they are with. People who complain of bullying are at best nuisances, at worst troublemakers & should be silenced. Bullying is the flavour of the month…if we ignore it it will go away. People should put up, shut up or get out!
© Kitt & Corbett Organisational Beliefs & Attitudes Bullying is a nuisance. We have to be seen to do something. If we do the required minimum we will be covered. Bullying behaviour in itself is not the problem, the complaints are the problem. This is a sufficient response…this is all we need to do. The organisation has no real role in resolving issues informally, people with complaints should put them in writing. Minimum Compliance
© Kitt & Corbett Organisational Beliefs & Attitudes Bullying is a problem. We have to do something. It is sufficient to deal with bullying problems on an individual, case by case basis, without reference to the organisational context in which the behaviour takes place. Having good policies & procedures is an effective & adequate response. Having sanctions for breaches of policies & procedures is an adequate deterrent for bullying. We can’t really prevent bullying, we can only deal with it. Reactive
© Kitt & Corbett Organisational Beliefs & Attitudes Bullying is a form of abuse, with serious individual & organisational effects. We have to do something. Creating a bullying free environment will have knock on beneficial effects on effectiveness & productivity. The organisation’s culture & climate can prevent or promote bullying. Bullying will not thrive in an organisation with a positive effective work environment. The organisation’s response must cover prevention, intervention & minimisation. Problems are more quickly resolved when aired & dealt with than when repressed or hidden. It is the organisation’s responsibility to provide a psychologically safe working environment. Proactive
© Kitt & Corbett When bullying occurs... Dismissive Minimum compliance Reactive Proactive High stress, resentment, frustration, anger Negative atmosphere Poor productivity, high turnover Expectation of resolution Disappointment, disillusionment, frustration Escalation of problems Opportunities for resolution Addressing symptoms Potential for re-occurrence of problems High level of resolution Addresses causes Less likelihood of problems re-occurring
© Kitt & Corbett Workplace Bullying - The Facts Bullying is a serious problem It causes indescribable pain & suffering It is psychological abuse and nothing less Anyone can be targeted - irrespective of personality or ability If characteristics of timidity & weakness appear in victims - they are generally as a result of bullying
© Kitt & Corbett Workplace Bullying - The Facts continued Those exhibiting bullying behaviour are generally personally & professionally inadequate Bullying is extremely detrimental to organisational effectiveness Bullying would not thrive in organisations with respectful, open & collaborative cultures
© Kitt & Corbett Best Practice Organisational Response Audit / risk assessment of organisation
© Kitt & Corbett Bullying Risk Assessment Process Step 1: Identification Where are we now? Purpose: To systematically gather information on bullying in the organisation. Step 2: Assessment What does it mean? Purpose: To analyse information in order to prioritise areas for action. Step 3: Develop & implement control strategies What should we do? Purpose: To reduce the risk of bullying behaviour occurring Step 4: Evaluate & monitor Has it worked & how can we improve? Purpose: To determine effectiveness of process & strategies
© Kitt & Corbett Management vs. Bullying Good management is rarely confused with bullying Bad management is sometimes confused with bullying Bullying is never about managing it is all about destroying
© Kitt & Corbett Definition A work environment that provides a high quality service/product in an atmosphere of respect, collaboration, openness & equality. Positive / effective work environment
© Kitt & Corbett Characteristics of a Positive/Effective Work Environment A positive & supportive atmosphere Assertive communication Appropriate inter-personal behaviour Collaboration & Team –Work ( minimal internal competition) Warm friendly climate Appropriate manager behaviour Open discussion & resolution of conflict
© Kitt & Corbett Characteristics of a Positive/Effective Work Environment Recognition, feedback and praise All allowed to reach their potential Respectful & fair treatment of all staff No cliques Fair system of selection & promotion based on competence Effective procedures for dealing with problems Laughter and fun! continued
© Kitt & Corbett Anti-Bullying & Harassment Policy 1Stated intolerance of bullying & harassment 2Definition & manifestations of workplace bullying & harassment 3Senior management commitment 4Rights & responsibilities of all parties 5Procedures for addressing allegations: 5a informal 5b formal 6List of contact officers
© Kitt & Corbett Training & awareness All staff Managers at all levels Specialist roles -contact officers -resolution facilitators -investigators
© Kitt & Corbett Managing Change Motivating Empowering Managing Conflict Problem Solving Assertiveness Perceptiveness Building Teams Personal Power Interpersonal Leadership Skills Self-awareness “Likeability”Effort Legitimacy & Integrity Competence Elements of Effective Management
© Kitt & Corbett Contact Officer: Assists individual to clarify their own situation Provides information about range of options available Presents recognised strategies for dealing with bullying situations Individual makes decision on how to proceed. Self-initiated attempts at resolution Individual attempts to resolve the situation – using learned strategies for dealing with & challenging behaviour. Assisted attempts at resolution Individual approaches: manager HR manager employee representative designated resolution facilitator to seek assistance to resolve the issue informally. Resolution facilitator informs alleged bully of concern & attempts to facilitate an informal resolution. Individual makes a formal written complaint to: manager HR manager employee representative designated complaints officer (not involved in informal) Alleged bully is informed in writing of complaint. Appropriate course of action is determined. Investigation undertaken if required. Recommendations for action implemented. On-going relevant support from Contact Officer Consultation with Contact Officer Formal Complaint Informal Approach
© Kitt & Corbett People “deal with” bullying better When; they recognise the behaviour at an early stage They have access to supportive/effective procedures Bullying is an aberration rather than the norm
© Kitt & Corbett The organisation understands bullying as destructive behaviour that can affect anyone The organisation has a genuine and demonstrated intolerance of bullying All inappropriate behaviour is considered a performance issue and challenged as such
© Kitt & Corbett Bullied victims generally do not want retribution or revenge. They want the bullying to stop. They want to get on with their work They want peace in their lives.
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