How do I Stop my Staff Member from being a Bully?

Assess my Current Business Systems and Processes

What is Bullying?

Bullying can be defined as ongoing intimidation and threats designed to demean the other person and build themselves up in the process. A Bully will often single out someone and make that person's life miserable with the goal of forcing the target out of the workplace, and usually they succeed.

Gary Namie, PhD, co-founder and president of the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, conducted an online survey of 1,000 people who claimed to have been bullied at work, finding that 37% were eventually fired, and 33% quit their jobs.

How do I Recognise a Bully?

Bullies over-control, micromanage, and display contempt for others, usually by repeated verbal abuse and sheer exploitation. They constantly put others down with snide remarks or harsh, repetitive, and unfair criticism. They don't just differ with others, they differ with specific people contemptuously; they question their adequacy and their commitment. They humiliate the 'victim' in front of others.

The top ten bullying behaviours in the workplace catalogued by the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute are:

Why Do I need to Stop the Bully

Bullies do a lot of damage in organisations, they:

Don't tolerate bullying in your business. It's too costly. By not stopping the bullying, you are missing an excellent recruitment and retention edge.

How can I Stop a Bully

Prevention is Better than Cure

You must create an environment that does not tolerate this type of conduct. To protect employees from bullying, discrimination and harassment, employers need to:

Employers must demonstrate, not only by policy, but also example, that bullying, discrimination and harassment is neither appropriate, nor tolerated. This includes timely and decisive intervention when such conduct occurs.

When Prevention Doesn't Work

Recognise when its Happening

The first step is to recognize when it's happening. Repetitive verbal abuse. Micromanagement. Exploitation. Any activity that repeatedly demeans others or is discourteous. Whenever people are put down repeatedly, you're dealing with a bully. Sometimes it's a one-off, we all get caught up in that--once. They apologize and it's over. But bullies don't recognize their inappropriate behaviour and they NEVER apologize.

Confront the Bully

As an employer you need to let them know you will not put up with their bullying. There are two ways do this:

Conduct the confrontation in private - behind closed doors.

Describe the behavior that's unworkable "When you tell people that they are incompetent fool me in front of other workers." Don't play armchair psychologist. Focus the discussion on specific behaviors, not theories of why you think they do it.

Describe the effects "That kind of behavior destroys morale and has no place here".

Specify the behavioural change you want Clearly describe the behaviour you want e.g. "I want you to talk to people in private if you have any issues with their performance, and describe their performance in specific terms. e.g the conclusion was confusing."

Clarify the consequences Make it clear the positive consequences of the new behaviour or the negative consequences of not changing. "If you do this you wil find that you earn the respect of your colleagues", or "If you don't do this then we will need to undertake disciplinary procedures".

Take action through formal disciplinary procedures. Develop a customised letter of warning that give the bully time to shape up--or else.

Get in Touch with Jump

If you need help, or you answered no or unsure to any of the questions in the assessment tool, then Jump Business Solutions can help you. Phone us on +64 6 754 8987 or +64 27 450 5271 or email and Jump will come to you, discover your needs, and develop a solution that will create real, long-term and positive change for you and your business.