• Bullying at work

Avoid being a bully

Happy workers are effective workers

How do we know if we are bullying and what can we do to ensure our staff are happy and effective?

 "I don't bully my staff, but, if I don't shout at them they won't do the job."

Maybe they don't do the job because they have no respect for the manager, because the manager hasn't explained the objectives clearly or because they are frightened of making a mistake and being shouted at more.

A true leader (which is what a manager should be) will instil motivation into his/her staff. Leaders ensure their team is fully briefed, is aware of the objectives and deadlines. They use praise for success to motivate, rather than criticism for mistakes to demotivate.  Any necessary criticism is delivered in as positive a manner as possible.

You know your staff feel bullied if :

  • they aren't proactive
  • they don't make eye contact with you
  • they have very passive body language
  • they have trouble expressing themselves to you
  • they stop talking when you walk in the room
  • there is a bad atmosphere in the office
  • nobody is willing to put in extra hours
  • productivity is low
  • absences are common
  • staff turnover is high
  • vacancies are always filled from outside the organisation
  • there's no laughter in the workplace

How to motivate your staff:

  • ensure their health and safety
  • include them in projects
  • ensure collaboration; ask for their views
  • praise their successes
  • show total respect for the person
  • don't immediately criticise their ideas; encourage creativity
  • give negative feedback privately (see more below)
  • ensure a pleasant working environment (good desks, plants, light, etc)
  • ensure your body language and tone of voice, as well as your words, aren't aggressive
  • encourage team working; don't create divisions
  • encourage laughter

Of course, people make mistakes and sometimes more than is acceptable. However, negative feedback should always be given privately and constructively. Tell the person what they are doing wrong and the impact that this is having or may have.  Ask them why they think they are making the mistake and how they feel they could rectify it; people will be much more willing to improve if it's their idea.

Watch out for the words "just" and "but" as in "I'm just saying" or "You did a great job but...". Replace the "but" with an "and".  "You did a great job and when we sort the parking problem it will be terrific" - so much more motivating.

Use the word "yet"; as in "you've not got it right .... yet".

Finally, I mentioned laughter because I feel it is a vital part of an effective working environment.  It relieves stress, builds teams and means your clients are interacting with happy people - what is there to lose?






 A true leader will instil motivation into his/her staff. They use praise for success to motivate, rather than criticism for mistakes to demotivate.