Bul­ly­ing is still a prob­lem be­ing ig­nored in too many work­places, says Me­lanie Burgess

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Front Page -

MANY work­ers have ex­pe­ri­enced a bad boss and the worst kind is a bully. They can turn a job that was once ful­fill­ing and en­joy­able into one that is hard to get out of bed for.

Lead­er­ship ex­pert Mike Irving of Ad­vanced Busi­ness Abil­i­ties says bully bosses are most com­mon in fi­nan­cial, re­sources and sales in­dus­tries.

“Too many work­places are run by ag­gres­sive dic­ta­tors aim­ing to get the best from their staff through fear and con­trol when in re­al­ity they could get more if they did the ex­act op­po­site,” Irving says. “De­spite anti-bul­ly­ing laws and a height­ened aware­ness that it ex­ists it is still a prob­lem be­ing swept un­der the car­pet in too many of­fices.”

GoldMind gen­eral man­ager Melissa Arm­strong agrees bully bosses are an is­sue but says a worker must first be able to iden­tify if their boss gen­uinely fits the de­scrip­tion.

“There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween a bully boss, a bad boss and a tough boss,” she says. “Some­times tough bosses aren’t bad, it might just be their style and they still have your best in­ter­ests at heart. They might push you out of your com­fort zone so you grow.

“A bad boss might come in late and not of­fer sup­port.

“A bully boss might use ver­bal abuse or of­fen­sive be­hav­iour or in­tim­i­date and hu­mil­i­ate work­ers in front of peo­ple.”

Karen Gately, peo­ple man­age­ment spe­cial­ist and co-founder of Ryan Gately, says bul­ly­ing is de­fined by re­peated un­rea­son­able be­hav­iour that cre­ates risk to health and safety.

She says a worker in that sit­u­a­tion has two op­tions: stand up for them­self or leave.

“The prob­lem isn’t go­ing to go away on its own,” she says.

“Choose to in­flu­ence pos­i­tive change or to leave and join an or­gan­i­sa­tion that un­der­stands how to have fun while main­tain­ing re­spect­ful stan­dards.”


POS­I­TIVE: Melissa Arm­strong of GoldMind says there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween a bad boss, a tough boss and a bully boss.

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