Does your work culture quash bullying or tolerate it? - SmartBrief

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Does your work culture quash bullying or tolerate it?

Workplace bullying is bad for people and business, and yet all too common. It's up to leaders to begin the change.

3 min read


Does your work culture quash bullying or tolerate it?

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Workplace bullying is profoundly prevalent in our workplaces. The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2021 US survey found that 30% of adult Americans have been bullied at work. 49% of respondents reported experiencing or witnessing bullying in their workplaces.

Remote workers are not immune. The WBI survey found that 43% of remote workers experienced bullying through online meetings (50% reported) and email (9% reported).

A single instance of workplace bullying is too much. The costs – to respect, wellbeing, sanity, safety, creativity, productivity, and more – are just too great. A 2020 study by the National University of Ireland Galway estimates that bullying in Irish workplaces cost the economy over €239 million — over $279 million in U.S. funds — per year.

We must do better, and we can. Leaders can transform their work culture by making respect as important as results.

Managing results is half the leader’s job. The other half is managing respect. What does that involve?

In our upcoming book, “Good Comes First,” co-author Mark S. Babbitt and I define respect as the demonstration and expression of validation and recognition of team members’ ideas, efforts and contributions, every day.

Leaders make respect as important as results when all leaders consistently model, celebrate, measure, coach and mentor respect in how they treat others daily. They demand respectful treatment in every interaction by all players.

Leaders ensure respect is as important as results when they measure how well leaders model their desired values and behaviors throughout their company. It isn’t enough for leaders to promise to be respectful. Leaders must conduct regular values surveys that gather employee perceptions of how leaders behave daily.

That undeniable data helps senior leaders to coach their peers and next-level leaders. They can celebrate aligned leader behaviors, rated by direct reports, and re-direct misaligned leader behaviors.

Over time, every leader realizes that treating others disrespectfully is not allowed in your workplace.

If you tolerate demeaning, discounting and disrespectful treatment of others by anyone, you’ll never have a purposeful, positive, productive work culture.

S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker, author and executive consultant with The Purposeful Culture Group, where he is founder and CEO. He has authored or co-authored seven books, including “The Culture Engine.” His next book, “Good Comes First,” is available for preorder now. It will publish on Sept. 28, 2021. His videos, posts and podcasts are available at Follow Edmonds on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apple Podcasts.

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