“Treat employees like partners, and they act like partners. ” ~ Fred Allen
A reader recently suggested I address the issue of bosses who bully. She pointed out there a growing awareness about bullying in schools, and steps have been taken to eliminate it. However, not so much has been written about bullying in the workplace. She makes an important point, and I thank her for the suggestion.
There may be the view that a boss has the right to reprimand or intimidate employees simply due to his or her position of power. Certainly an employer can, and should, point out when an employee is not performing as required. An employer may even express dissatisfaction or disappointment in an employee’s conduct.
However, it is never appropriate for an employer to yell at, belittle, or threaten a staff member. Nor is it appropriate to reprimand or criticize publicly. Employees are not children (even if they sometimes act that way) and bosses are not parents.
Paying someone a salary does not buy the right to demean them. Being further up the ladder does not bestow the right to step all over those beneath you. Being a supervisor in no way means that one is superior.
Everyone should be treated with the same respect and consideration regardless of their position in the workplace. A janitor should be shown no less courtesy than the president. A secretary should be given the same respect as one would show to a colleague.
Shouting, demeaning or publicly humiliating an employee is abusive behavior . Most schools have a zero tolerance policy for bullying, and the same should hold for the workplace.
Guidelines for appropriate treatment of employees should be made available to all in supervisory positions. All employees should be made aware of these policies, and the steps to take if the policy is violated.
An effective boss does not need to resort to bullying tactics. If bullying is occurring where you work, talk to others and see if you can bring it to the attention of someone who can put a stop to it.
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