Dr. Laura Crawshaw, A.K.A The Boss Whisperer will speak at the forthcoming Bloggers Masterclass on Saturday April 5, 2014. The Healthivate Masterclass series is designed to provide bloggers with access to leading thought leaders as we discuss social issues of significance. The first masterclass for 2014 is Start a Conversation, Say NO to workplace bullying, it’s bad for your health and productivity. In 2014 new workplace laws will see the Fair Work Commission empowered to help stop workplace bullying and victims given a voice.
The 2012 National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying found the following:
Bullying undermines the victim’s deepest sense of self, of who they are. As adults we think we have figured out who we are, and so to have that completely undermined and stripped away is utterly crippling and that is why it is so destructive.
Bullying is the key workplace health and safety issue of our time. It can affect anyone in any job, regardless of what task they perform, what kind of people they work with, or of what industry they are part. These issues are not easy and they need to be tackled head on, rather than ignored until they become so unbearable for people that they cannot face going to work.
Carlo Caponecchia and Anne Wyatt, Preventing Workplace Bullying: An evidence-based guide for managers
The Inquiry consulted a wide range of health, employer and business organisations with some of the findings highlighted below. You can read the full report here:
“There is also the fear that taking action to prevent and control psychological hazards will unleash a flood of similar complaints, and ultimately end in litigation, finger pointing and threatened careers. These perceptions are baseless, inadequate [and] irresponsible”.
The Australian Institute of Employment Rights observed that for an increasing number of Australians, their experience of work and treatment within the workplace is a negative one.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) describes workplace bullying as a form of psychological violence. The ILO argues:
Workplace bullying constitutes offensive behaviour through vindictive, cruel, malicious or humiliating attempts to undermine an individual or groups of employees. Such persistently negative attacks on their personal and professional performance are typically unpredictable, irrational and unfair.
According to Davidson Trahaire Corpsych (DTC), a leading organisational psychology consulting firm, the most common form of workplace bullying is verbal abuse: shouting, swearing, malicious sarcasm, intimidating behaviours and undeserved evaluations.
Examples of bullying include:
- abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments;
- undue criticism;
- excluding, isolating or marginalising a person form normal work activities;
- withholding information that is vital for effective work performance;
- unreasonably overloading a person with work or not providing enough work;
- setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines;
- setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level;
- denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources such that it has a detriment to the worker;
- spreading misinformation or malicious rumours;
- changing work arrangements, such as rosters and leave, to the detriment of a worker or workers; and
- unreasonable treatment in relation to accessing workplace entitlements such as leave or training.
Bullying can also manifest in more predatory activities. In a case that gained national attention in 2006, Brodie Panlock, a 19 year old waitress, tragically took her own life after enduring persistent and vicious bullying at work. Evidence raised in the resulting court case revealed that Brodie had been the subject of continual physical and emotional abuse. In one of the more horrific incidents, Brodie was physically restrained whilst her manager, and cafe owner, poured oil over her. Mrs Rae Panlock, Brodie’s mother commented on her daughter’s experience:
She was a very strong person. I think I have said it a few times, but she used to soldier on and get over whatever was going on. But the impact was just too much. It was not just one person; it was four men: the owner and three individuals. They just kept on pursuing her. This is the other thing. The people who worked there other than these men did try but did not try enough. A lot of them said in the court case they wished they had done more.
Dr. Crawshaw said abrasive managers are often achievers for the organisation but their management style has a huge economic impact on their workplace. Look for these tell tale signs:
Symptoms of abrasive leadership?
Symptoms of abrasive leadership may include, but are not limited to:
- Complaints regarding the individual’s interactions with coworkers
- Requests to transfer out of the leader’s department
- Attrition of valued employees
- Decreased morale and motivation
- Potential or actual harassment litigation
Dr. Crawshaw will speak at the Healthivate Masterclass about how she works with the abrasive manager and how she helps tame the individual. Describing her interest in working with difficult people Dr. Crawshaw said she first encountered the severity of the distress abrasive managers inflict when she received an urgent request for an appointment from a senior male manager. She said he then proceeded to rattle off all these terrible things his boss was doing to him, ultimately ending the conversation with “I’m going to kill him’. When Dr Crawshaw asked how, he indicated he had a gun in the boot of his car. Dr Crawshaw managed to get the distressed employee to hand over the gun to her and witnessed the overwhelming relief the employee felt when he was being validated, that someone believed the horrific things the employee was being forced to endure. You can read this story in her book, Taming the Abrasive Manager, How to End Unnecessary Roughness in the Workplace.
Here is a brief snapshot of Dr Crawshaw’s approach in working with abrasive managers and how self aware organisations are insisting managers with abrasive management styles learn new ways to manage with empathy to achieve results and improve the bottom line. Watch the video interview below:Read More