Creating Awareness in Bullying Prevention Training on Power Checks and Balances
Let’s not kid ourselves, irrespective of the organizational model we work under (Matrix; Horizontal, Divisional; Line and Team etc.), we still have “bosses”. There are channels to follow. People coordinating and controlling. Chains of command and positional prerogative. Plus, a myriad of prescribed processes that reinforcing who gets to call the final shots. There are those that have the ability to evaluate. Influencing ratings, hiring, promotions and firing.
All these structures, incorporating specified functions, are created on sound underlying principles. Each focused on supporting effective performance. However, it only takes a few destructive people to corrupt these principles and discredit both the model, their creators and adopters.
Regrettably, whilst bullying can happen across any relationship configurations at work, those who hold legitimate organizational power often are notoriously at fault and the hardest to uncover.
Redressing One Sided Power
When a bully uses power, it is sinister. Understanding the psychological dynamics of this power use and associated harm is developed in bullying prevention training. What we also need deal with decisively is the ripe structural opportunities for the misuse of power. Acknowledging the inherent structural realities, progressive businesses will take additional steps to redress this meaningfully. They accept the potential for bullying is ever-present and often prevalent.
Our starting point is that without additional “built-in” preventative strategies, the unshackled and unbalanced power relationships that exist at work can easily support systematic bullying exploitation.
Additional Perks and Solutions
Within bullying prevention training we can also create awareness on the strong structural bullying prevention remedies available. We can highlight and strengthen internal cultural commitment to abolish all persistent patterns of mistreatment. Through training, bullying personalities are also put on notice that such behaviour is not to be tolerated.
During bullying prevention training we can admit that whilst we screen comprehensively, given human psychological complexity, it is difficult to detect people with a predisposition for the shopping list for overt and covert bullying behavior: aggression; false accusations; mood swings; criticism; discrediting; blaming; belittling; rumor mongering; tormenting; isolating; humiliating; tantrums; lying; public scrutiny; retaliation; put downs; insults; unrealistic demands; unfair judgement; hostile intent etc. Dysfunctional traits are masked.
During training we confirm we know they work the systems and policies like consummate professionals. Pro-activity on curative measure help to alleviate the fight or flight dilemma of victims.
Some structural solutions that put everyone back on an equal footing include:
- Confidential “Speak up” and “Whistle blower” systems.
- Independent Grievance procedures (outside of the line).
- Appeal at senior levels.
- Disciplinary codes that have real consequences for bullying.
- 360 performance review systems.
- Calibration systems with multiple stakeholder inputs.
- Employee surveys incorporating bullying.
- Use of projects to elicit diverse views on people.
- Analytics on trends.
- Published codes of ethics etc.
Whilst we may not all be “the same” when it comes to structural power, with checks and balances, the scales of justice can be evenly balanced again. Bullying prevention training will give the confidence and courage that they work.