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A BUSINESSLIKE DEFINITION

To facilitate managerial efforts to remedy bullying in the workplace prospectively, a business definition is called for rather than the constructs of law, psychoanalysis, or medicine. To be practical, it must further operational needs, rather than interfere with them. It must provide criteria every bit as clear as found in any manual. When efforts are ongoing, we can’t shut down for debate or a therapy session. As with any other difficulty, it has to be results-oriented. Pursuit of established goals is the criteria. It addresses quantifiable behaviors and not motivations, malice, or harm. It leaves room for reasonable implementation but, ultimately, a workplace Bully is a renegade. He or she compromises human resources through anti-social behaviors, adds zero value to the undertaking, and causes the employer calculable and considerable costs. This approach examines the alleged Bully’s misuse of not only human resources but employer resources in general. We are to look beyond perhaps odd events for patterns over time.

 

It addresses the matter in familiar terms as an occupational health and safety issue. It points to the creation of policies and cultures with zero tolerance for both physical and psychological violence. It is never businesslike or legitimate for anyone to use the largeness of institutional authority to bully, harm, or hound a politically weaker subordinate employee. If there are genuine problems with an employee, and there frequently is, there exist legitimate procedures that, unlike independent bullying, include consideration of the employer’s interests. Leaders focus on the work. That’s what they are there for. This necessarily includes nurturing and protecting the strength of the individuals who make the work happen. It does not include stalking. It offers language we can deal with when faced with a bullying circumstance that can be baffling when narrowly observed as an independent, interpersonal incident.

Copyright © 2007 Bullying Bosses: A Survivor’s Guide