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Does your management style facilitate workplace bullying?

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Research shows that there are many factors that allow bullying to thrive in the workplace. Check mark yes or no on the statements below to see if you might inadvertently be allowing bullying.

  1. I step in when I witness conflict among employees.
  2. I address any and all negative behaviors that occur, even if they are not illegal.
  3. I take responsibility for issues that arise in my work teams and don’t wait for them to solve themselves or be forgotten about.
  4. I keep an open-door policy for employees to voice both professional and personal issues.
  5. I listen when employees tell me about emotions or issues.
  6. I assist employees in solving problems.
  7. I provide guidance to employees on projects and other work assignments.
  8. I provide feedback good and bad to employees on a regular basis
  9. I praise employees who exhibit good behavior and/or complete a job well done.
  10. My employees would say I’m kind-hearted and approachable.
  11. I am patient with those employees who don’t understand something, or who ask a lot of questions, etc.
  12. I ask for feedback as I make decisions that affect my employees.
  13. I don’t make room for competition among my employees; instead I talk with them about how to be successful and coach them to do so.
  14. I regularly take steps to ensure my team’s atmosphere is collaborative and respectful.
  15. I try to offset possible team stress by encouraging employees to take a breath, telling them they’re doing just fine, etc.
  16. I spend time ensuring organizational and team goals are balanced with employee well-being.
  17. I keep a relatively “flat” management style, where titles and tenure matter less and commitment, quality and interpersonal skills matter more.
  18. My team has a fun and inclusive social atmosphere.

Hopefully you answered “yes” to all of the questions! If you did, it is likely your management style does not facilitate workplace bullying! Instead, it allows for open and honest communication.

If you answered “no” to some of the questions, then those are opportunities for improvement. While you might think, “that’s just how I manage and it’s not a big deal,” research shows that, for example, competition, high stress, bureaucracy (not asking opinions), and allowing problems to grow, are all risk factors for workplace bullying.

So, you are encouraged to take a closer look at your “no’s” and decide if they might evolve into action items for you. Are those things you can implement to make a difference in your management style and ultimately your organization’s culture?

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Catherine Mattice Zundel

About Catherine Mattice Zundel

Catherine Mattice Zundel, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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