Face it. There's always going to be a bully somewhere, sometime in every office, and it can definitely destroy entire careers.
So what can the boss do to about it-because it's basically HIS or HER problem?
Bill McBean, author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don't says," regardless of who's doing the bullying, at the end of the day it is the owner's responsibility to have the backbone, and the guts, to stand up and protect his or her entire staff, even if it means firing good individual performers, and, on occasion, good customers,"
The fact is that bullying is a real problem in business, and can become a major issue if it's ignored or unchecked. It's something that can happen in any business, which successful owners understand and, when necessary, take steps to overcome. McBean adds.
There are actually several different kinds of bullying, and as an owner it's essential that you know how to deal with all of them. Some of the most common forms are:
Customers Bullying Employees. Whoever said the customer is always right was full of crap. Part of your job as an owner is to protect your employees, and that includes protecting them from abusive customers. What that means in practice is that if you see-or hear about-a customer who bullies a member of your staff, you have to step in and let the customer know that he or she is upsetting your employees as well as other customers. And if they continue to act that way, you can ask them to leave.
Owners Bullying Employees. "A skunk stinks from the head down," McBean says, and if the owner is a bully, it sets the stage for the rest of the staff to act the same way. And they will.
Managers or Supervisors Bullying Employees. Like the owner's role, management's role is to show leadership, create controls and processes, motivate, educate, and develop an environment in which everyone can succeed. "If someone at the higher levels of your company is a bully, it usually means you have the wrong person in that position, and the sooner he or she is released the better," McBean asserts.
Employees Bullying Each Other. As in the case with the Dolphins, owners and managers who allow their employees to bully other employees create a problem for the whole organization. It shows management weakness, and an uncaring attitude toward the staff that creates an environment where teamwork and safe working conditions are foreign concepts, dissatisfied employees are common, and success is uncommon. "As an owner or manager, it's your responsibility to let bullies know that their conduct is unacceptable, and that if they don't change they will be gone," McBean instructs.
Employees Bullying Managers and Owners. This happens a lot more often than you might think. Management is often under pressure to produce results, and because of that, they sometimes allow high producers to dictate how a business is operated.
"But you can't let the tail wag the dog, and if a company is going to be successful in the long run, you must have the courage to push back," McBean says. "This is especially true of owners. As an owner, it's essential that you remember it's your company, and that what you want matters. And if your authority is challenged, you have to take swift and firm action."
"This isn't a complete 'bully' list-just some of the more common ways it can happen in your business," McBean concludes. "And believe me, no one is immune to it. At the same time, the actions I've suggested aren't always easy to do. But doing them is important, because it separates the great-and most profitable-owners from the average ones."
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