Bullying and harassment have serious consequences for individuals and workplaces. It is up to everyone to change this and create a productive culture in which people feel safe and do their best work. As an effective communication consultant I have experienced and studied the direct relationship between communication skills and productivity in the workplace.
On the 1st January 2014 specific legislation came into force allowing the Australian Fair Work Commission to deal with bullying and harassment complaints. Accompanying the release of the legislation, it was stated that it is time for Australia to develop sophisticated workplaces.
Recently, I have travelled throughout regional NSW speaking about human resources management best practice, in particular the issue of bullying and harassment. During these training workshops it was evident that there is still considerable confusion surrounding not only what constitutes bullying but also the legal obligations associated with the issue.
What is bullying and how can you deal with it?
Bullying is behaviour that a reasonable person would find unreasonable, and that is repeated. It may include (but is not limited to) behaviour that: victimises, humiliates, intimidates or threatens. For an example it could be behaving aggressively; teasing, practical jokes; pressuring someone to behave inappropriately or in a way they don’t want to; excluding someone from work related events; placing unreasonable work demands on a worker, mind games, withholding information or resources a worker needs to get their work done, verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse.
It is a serious problem with serious consequences. Bullying affects both the organisation and the individuals involved. Issues of bullying cause workplace health and safety issues and in some cases criminal charges may be laid. Not to mention the productivity cost of a culture that propagates bullying.
One of the most essential steps towards preventing bullying in the workplace is training and educating all staff to identify these issues and their obligations in their workplace, equipping them to speak up and create a positive work environment.
In my coaching I am regularly and confidentially called upon to speak to individuals and teams about workplace bullying; to those being bullied and also who have either been accused or found to be bullying. The one thing that always stands out to me is that the person who is accused of being the bully is unaware that their behaviour constitutes bullying.This is when we embark on a course of learning about personal communication awareness and development.
93% of our communication comes from body language. Self awareness of our body language is the first step to becoming an effective communicator. Good communication is the basis of positive corporate culture and saves businesses time and money. Previously I’ve written articles about the direct relationship between communication skills and financial success. If you would like one on one coaching or a consultation about providing training for your workplace contact us to discuss your needs.