How to stop bullying in your team

 

This post is about how to stop bullying in your team when you’re the line manager responsible for that team. I’ve had a number of experiences working with this – working with bullying from people reporting to me, groups of people reporting to me, or people who work with my team and are bullying my team.

Read more below or watch the video.

 

It isn’t a pleasant experience to go through as a manager, and it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced as a manager. It is a very stressful personal experience.  One where you really need to have a structured framework to help you work through the situation to minimise the stress and maximise the opportunity to improve for your team.

The first part of this post is about how to identify bullying in your team and the second one will be about how do you actually go about stopping the bullying.

How to identify bullying in your team. 

If you suspect that there’s bullying in your team, I pretty much guarantee that there actually is.

The things to look for include:

  • Are people regularly crying in the office or around the office?
  • Do you have some people who are suddenly having a lot of extra sick leave or illnesses that seem completely out of character, out of norm, and don’t have really any explanation?
  • Do you find that people seem upset, but don’t want to talk about it? 
  • Do you find that you’ve got a small group of people that are regularly huddled together in and around the office space?
  • Do you repeatedly see one or two members of your team excluded from events, huddles or meetings? (Exclusion is a big way to identify bullying and is probably one of the favourite techniques of bullies to impact someone at work).
  • Do people have strange nicknames for other people in the team so that they can talk about them openly without being caught?
  • Do a small group of people repeatedly bring up issues about one person, which you have never witnessed yourself? (This is a real tactic of bullies is to target someone with made up stuff.)
  • Do one or two people in your team seem extremely stressed, panicky, second guessing themselves and losing confidence, with no real explanation? 
  • Have people come to you with complaints or concerns about those one or two people, about how one of those people are being treated? So often what you’ll find when people are bullying, other people actually will stand up for them. The person being bullied will often have had their confidence so destroyed that they won’t be able to raise the issue themselves and won’t be confident enough to talk through it because they’re afraid – they’re afraid of not being believed.
  • Have you had people make up provable lies about someone? 
  • Have people raised an issue about someone that seems completely out of character and cannot be proven? So again, making up myths, stories and lies to put someone down and exclude them and make them look bad in the workplace, is another favourite of bullies.
  • Has one or two people’s work performance slid recently and is there one person that everyone complains about?

The top things there are look for are people being excluded, put down, unsupported in the work place, made fun of.

How do you stop bullying once you’ve identified it? 

Get Your Boss’s Support

The first thing is, if you’re in a large organization, get the problem acknowledged by your boss and preferably your boss’ boss as well. The reason that I say that is I have gone about trying to deal with bullying in a work place without my boss’ support and had my boss actively support the people who are doing the bullying because they wanted to be part of the group. I can’t explain that, but it made it really difficult to deal with the bullying because what happens is that as soon as you start to deal with it, the bullies will go to your boss, or someone more senior, to get support and say that they’re being victimized by bullying. So you need to get ahead of that straight away, and I would actually say do not proceed with addressing bullying unless you have that support.

Create a Plan of Action

Work out a plan of action and ensure your HR department, if you’ve got a HR department, is informed and supportive and is very clearly saying what you can and can’t do. Once you’ve got that plan, start to enact it and what you’ll need to do is individually discuss the issues with each bully, making sure that you have a witness present. Ensure that all meetings are minuted and minutes are sent out to all the stakeholders. Ensure you have at least a weekly meeting to discuss with your boss what is happening, if not daily.

Also ensure you have a meeting with the person being bullied, but I will deal with that in a separate post, because that’s a whole different strategy.

The Bully Must Acknowledge the IMPACT of their behaviour

The key is, the bully must acknowledge the problem, the bully must accept the negative impact of their behaviour, the bully must apologise directly to that individual and preferably publicly as well with the team. The bully must commit to change, the bully must immediately demonstrate change.

Those are the things that you have to work on, and nothing is going to change until you have all of that in place.

If you’ve got a gang of bullies, split them up. They cannot sit together, preferably they shouldn’t be working together, you’ll have to rearrange assignments and projects, whatever it is, you need to make sure that you separate those people.

Remove the person being bullied from that group. So if there’s someone who’s sitting in a group, say a group of four, and three of them are bullying one person, that person you’ve got to get them away from that group because they’re basically in an unsafe situation, and nothing’s going to improve until you disperse this whole group and the whole culture that’s happening there, and separating people so they’re not sitting together is a very quick, simple way to do that.

Get support. 

Everyone involved, including yourself as the manager, is going to be going through an incredible amount of stress, and there’s probably been a lot of stress leading up to the bullying being dealt wtih. Make sure that you are getting regular counseling, coaching and support yourself. And I would recommend weekly counselling for yourself as a manager.

Time box it. 

No more than eight weeks to get change to happen before you go into formal performance management. When you’ve exhausted all avenues then you need to make sure that you are aware of all the paths in the HR policy and performance management to addressing the bullying, and make sure you have a HR person on board.

The other thing I would get is legal advice. If you can’t get it via your company, get independent legal advice on if the behaviour is in fact criminal, and what your role in this means from a legal perspective and what happens if you’re not able to stop it.

Make sure you document everything.

I really hope that helps people. This is my framework for stopping bullying. I have used it, it is effective, but it’s only effective if the bully acknowledges their behaviour.

What you need to remember about bullying is that, the key questions you need to ask yourself is, is your workplace safe, mentally, emotionally and physically? 

Is the person being bullied safe, and do they consider themselves safe? 

Questions to ask bullies are:

  • Does your behaviour create a safe place for everyone in the team?
  • What are you doing to make the workplace safe or not safe?
  • What behaviour will you stop immediately, and what will you do now to make sure that that person feels is 100% safe and they feel safe all the time?

That ends the lesson.

Good luck!

 

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Beatrice’s Equality Day Dreams #5 – Making an important career decision is so easy

Can I be honest with you? I’m beginning to think my day dreams maybe a bit cynical.  When I read over this day dream that I wrote 5 months ago, it was part of a list of things I wish the workplace was vs wasn’t.

It shouldn’t be a dream that we are supported and progression is easy if we are ambitious and competent.  While writing my book and starting my life coaching business, every woman I have spoken to has talked about the challenge of finding out information on how to progress.

At work, a colleague came up to me (after reading my blog) and admitted she didn’t know that she was supposed to ask.  She has recently started working in Australia and asking wasn’t the custom in her previous country and in fact it might even have been deemed rude to ask.  People progressed once they met a benchmark and their manager would ask if they wanted to go up a level or take on a new role.

If you’re a manager, how transparent is it to your team how they progress? Are you over looking someone because they haven’t told you what they are interested in?  And, are you being overlooked because you are not asking?

One more story, recently a senior manager let me know that a role was available in his team and talked me through a series of names and I gave my thoughts.   I added an extra name to the list and we both agreed she’d be great for the role if she was interested.  In my gut, I thought she probably wasn’t.   Later, I asked her if she would be and let her know the role was available.  She surprised me by saying she was interested. So I said, “call him NOW and let him know NOW”.  She waited 5 days to speak to him (after another prompt from myself) and she missed out on the role.   The senior manager made a decision in 3 days.

If you hear of a role and you are interested, let the hiring manager know  straight away.  Don’t hesitate or let other work get in the way.

Just ask.

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How to be heard in every meeting

Today’s blog post is about how to be heard in meetings and this follows on from some of the work I’ve been posting on social media around getting your voice heard more often and easily in meetings.

Watch my latest FB live to hear more.

Grab the guide to be heard more today.

This work is part of a series I am putting together of helpful guides to help you be more confident at work and is part of work I am doing to set up my coaching business.  I help women to be seen living their true purpose so that they can radiantly embrace a lavish life. I truly believe that we all deserve to live a powerfully meaningful life.

Now on to my top tips to start getting your voice heard today.

Preparation = Credibility

My top tip to be heard more in meetings is to PREPARE.

Prepare three to five points that you want to speak to.  You can be confident going into any meeting with  credible comments to make knowing you have prepared some ideas around those comments before the meeting.

Meet the Chair before the meeting = Interest

Talk to the chair of the meeting prior to the meeting and let them know that you are really wanting to contribute to the meeting and you’ve got some points to talk about

Tip : ask them to call on you during the meeting if you haven’t spoken up.

Take in Post-Its

Take in your talking points on post-its  so it’s really clear that you’re prepared. Everyone will be looking at you going okay, she’s got the post-its so she knows what she’s talking about.  She’s prepared!  (Yes, this has happened to me. Slightly to my horror as I had only prepped those notes exactly 10 minutes before the meeting but suddenly my post its made me the expert that kept getting asked to contribute, quite possibly more than I was even hoping too.  It might sound a bit silly but its a simple strategy to get people’s attention and show you care.)

Eye contact = engagement

Make sure you’re making regular eye contact with the people who are speaking and the chair so that when you want to speak you can be like hi, this is now my time to talk. This also makes you look really engaged.

If you look interested, engaged and credible, you’ll be called on and if you’re trying to get into the conversation you’re more likely to be listened to and asked for your opinion.

Offer Support

The other way to contribute is to offer support for someone else’s idea, ask a follow up question or offer a solution for a problem. You can do this by asking a question that prompts discussion of that solution or simply providing a suggestion.

Follow Through

If you keep following these steps in every key meeting that you’re in and you do these regularly every day for four weeks, people will be asking you to contribute. They’ll be putting your ideas and name on the agenda and they’ll be asking your opinion leading into the meeting and during the meeting.

You have to be persistent and you have to be consistent.

Now, would you like to be seen living your true purpose? YES?

Then, set up  a complimentary consult with me to work through your next steps.

I am  passionate about about helping women to be seen living their true purpose and who want to radiantly embrace their life, find more meaning, purpose and growth in their career.  My strengths as a coach are empathy, warmth, belief in you and what you want to achieve and unwavering confidence that what you want is the right thing for you.  I absolutely hope to share and bring these out in you too.

I have a foundational offer running for :

(1) 6 * 1 hour session coaching series for $480

or

(2) 12 * 1 hour session coaching series for $960

Want more info on what a series involves? Below is a framework I follow to ensure your goal is met by the end of the series.

  • Session 1 :  Create an inspiring goal for you and set some key actions to understand where you are at now with that goal
  • Session 2 :  Making the goal real, setting intention and actions to achieve your goal in 6 or 12 sessions
  • Session 3-4 (or 11) : Structure support, appreciation, celebration.  Each fortnight set new actions to take, review your progress so far, take steps to keep on track, appreciate the journey and plan you big Goal achieved celebration.
  • Session 6 or 12: Celebration time!  Review your achievements, celebration what you’ve done and take learnings to help with the next chapter in your story.

Between each session you will complete homework as part of your actions and I will be available the whole way to support, provide feedback and help you achieve that big goal.

Want to start a coaching series? Book a complimentary consult now. 

Want to find out more about coaching, read more here.

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You’re Amazing!

You're Amazing!!
You’re Amazing!!

 

You’re Amazing!

Yes!! You are!

And, here’s why!

– you’re reading my latest post – woo hoo! (and Thank you!!)

– you care about your career and are seeking out information to help you with that!!

you are ambitious

– you are reading this quote instead of online Christmas shopping

– you have a really good attention span (because you read to the last bullet point!)

Now, I’d love to hear from you – why are you amazing?

What amazing things have you achieved this year?  

And, What amazing things are you planning for 2018?

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Beatrice’s Equality Day Dreams #3 – they just asked me what job I wanted!

“The leadership team called me into their management meeting and said there were 3 roles available and I could pick anyone of them! I mean that was a really hard decision”

Said no women ever!

Am I right ?

But wouldn’t it be awesome if it happened.

For this to occur, a management team would need to assess people on :

  • their work performed,
  • make hiring decisions as a group and in a transparent manner,
  • the company would be in a high growth phase and have lots of new roles on offer,
  • the culture would be open and inclusive (not paternal and closed),
  • individual choice would be valued and there would be a lack of a reward systems in place for people feeling ‘owed’ positions (I’m not sure what the opposite of that be – something like people progress and are rewarded on company wide performance and objective measures, maybe?)

Now I’d love to hear from you, would you love this to happen and (is it possible) has this ever happened to you ?

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Why I wrote ‘I’m Ready Now!’

I’m Ready Now! is available to purchase for Kindle and Kindle Reader on Amazon.

I always thought keeping a well run, no-surprise team with happy staff members was the way to progress in my career.

All it was, was the way to keep my job.

All I looked was competent.

Without anyone outside my boss knowing my achievements, I never got offered roles. I always had to ask for an opportunity.  Yet, I could see people around me being offered roles. How did that happen? Why were they being offered a role and I wasn’t?

So, I started to take a different approach.

I began to think of myself as my own PR Manager.

I began to talk openly about my challenges, ask for guidance, talk about my successes and talk about what I’d like to do. I looked for opportunities to create my own role or tweak my role to what I wanted to do and to play to my strengths.

When opportunities are presented I now have a ‘just say yes’ approach and work it out later.

Earlier in my career, I used to change jobs when a difficult situation seemed like an immovable blocker. Usually just when support was gathering around me.

To get to the other side of big problems demonstrates perseverance, courage and aptitude. It also demonstrates to senior leaders that you are able to ask for help and you’re able to learn and stick at it – you don’t let yourself or your team drown.

It takes time to build credibility.

And, there have been times I’ve needed to sound the alarm and ask for help and say things like ‘I’m overwhelmed’.

This has not led to the death of my career.

The important thing I’ve learnt is that  sometimes the philosophy of ‘I can do it on my own’ is not useful in the workplace.

Independence is great, isolation is not.

Be open to support. Everyone has troubles in the workplace – the crazy project, the poor performer, the bully to deal with.

I’ve learnt that by being patient, staying calm (mostly) and waiting things out (with limits) has led to greater support and acceptance of who I am and how I am as a leader.

If I can do this in a senior role in IT, you can too.

This is why I wrote ‘I’m Ready Now!’ to help provide a set of activities to build up your confidence, sense of direction and deliberately plan out your next promotion.

Subscribe to get the free My Promotion Plan and tool to help plan out your next promotion today!

And, to grab a copy of I’m Ready Now go to Amazon to purchase today!

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