How to create a bully-free work environment
The job of a leader has become more difficult and dangerous than ever courtesy of anti-bullying laws. State governments have been caving in to public pressure to pass tough anti-bullying laws to make the workplace safer for employees. However, they are a Catch-22: the harder you try to comply with them, the worse the bullying gets.
There is a good chance that you, too, have supported the passage of anti-bullying laws, in the belief they will get rid of bullying in the workplace and make your job easier. What you may not have realized is that anti-bullying laws do not make bullying magically disappear. What they really do is make you legally responsible for making the bullying disappear. When Jane feels bullied by John, the law makes it your fault and Jane sues you–not John. Furthermore, since the great majority of alleged workplace bullies are bosses, you are the one most likely to be prosecuted for being a bully.
Now, not only must you run your department well, you are also required to know how to make all employees happy with they way their coworkers treat them. Do you wonder how anti-bullying laws imbued you with this incredible ability? Don’t you wish you knew how to create complete harmony at home? Moreover, research has shown that the leading bullying prevention programs rarely reduce bullying and often result in an increase. Absurdly, you can now be brought to court for failing to accomplish what the bullying experts don’t know how to do.
Being a defendant in a bullying lawsuit is a losing proposition because even if you win, you will spend lots of money, experience tons of stress, and lose sleep. Hostilities among the parties involved will grow. They will spend less time on work and more on fighting legal battles. This process is likely to decrease the company’s efficiency, hurting the bottom line and even pushing it into bankruptcy.
So, what should you do to avoid bullying lawsuits? The answer is simple: be a great leader. The company environment is a trickle-down affair; you set the tone for everyone under you.
Wise people have known for thousands of years that the secret formula for harmony is the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated if you were in their situation. You may think you know what this means, but you may not fully understand it. The message is radical. It is contrary to our nature.
Our nature is to treat others the way they treat us. When others are nice to us, we feel like being nice back. When they are mean to us, we feel like being mean back. However, if you treat others the way they treat you, you are putting them in control of you. Their behavior determines your behavior.