22 Sep

Is there a bully in your business?

If you think back to your school days, was there a class bully who ganged up against the little guy and stole his lunch money? Or can you think of a bullying incident that took place in your office? Most of us have been bullied at some point, or know of someone who has been bullied. Bullying is rife in our communities and its not just something that goes on in school playgrounds, it takes place in our working environments on a daily basis. According to the latest survey completed by Statistics New Zealand for Survey of Working life, 10 percent of employees have experienced discrimination, harassment, or bullying at work in the previous 12 months.
The difference or the problem between the school yard bullies and the office bullies is that the school bully uses more physical intimidation tactics to get his way. Whereas the office bully uses a more subtle approach. They use their position, their influence and their power to intimidate their peers, colleagues and subordinates. According to Work Safe New Zealand, bullying behaviour in the workplace can range from direct bullying such as belittling remarks, ignoring co-workers, physical attacks and then the more underhanded indirect bullying, which is setting unrealistic goals, lack of credit and constant criticism.
What I find scary is that this type of bullying behaviour, is so often passed off as the person being “strong-willed” or that they “just have” an autocratic leadership or management style, and everyone else is expected to work around it or accept it. This might be possible, but they might also just be a big bully.
What is of particular concern though, is that many bullies don’t even realise that they are behaving in this unacceptable manner. To them, it is how it has always been and sadly, in many cases they were managed in this style by a previous manager, so they picked up on the behaviour and naturally repeat it.
As a business owner or manager you are probably thinking about your own office environment at the moment. Running through your team members and thinking about their behaviour styles. If you aren’t doing that then I suggest you do.
While you are re-evaluating their management styles ask yourself the following:
1) If I had to run a peer or staff evaluation survey within the office, what would the result show about the individual team members?
2) What are the employee turnover figures for the business? Is the business losing too many staff members?
3) Why are employees leaving the business, what do the exit interviews say and in some cases not saying?
4) As a business owner or manager, how often do I observe how the team members engage with each other?
5) What is the corporate culture like within the business?
Be curious.
Work Safe have compiled an excellent set of best practise guidelines, which can be utilised in the workplace to assist with combating bullying. Together with coaching and a strong drive to eradicate this behaviour, these guidelines could make a huge difference in your business.
Need some assistance? Contact me nicole@tikumu.co.nz for professional business coaching.
08 Sep

Jumping to conclusions can be bad for business

When last did you jump to conclusions about someone? When you had already made assumptions about a particular person, their actions, values, or history before discovering the facts about their situation and who they really are?

This is normal human behaviour, however if we do this often it can become a habit with bad consequences. If we close ourselves off to first listening and learning, and stick to our pre-conceived story or impression of a person, we limit ourselves and our opportunities.

For example, one of your team members is extremely late for work. You have concluded that they have slept in due to a big night out, a lack of responsibility and laziness, and that they won’t be in great shape when they do arrive. How do you feel right now and how do you feel about them? Probably quite cheesed off and that’s being kind. When they arrive at the office how do you treat them? Do you give them the cold shoulder or do you jump down their throat?

If this has happened to you, how did it work out? You may have been lucky and the situation worked out according to the script in your head, however you may have been completely off-base and landed up with egg on your face and a disappointed employee.

If you had listened to understand, instead of making assumptions, you would have discovered the real reasons for your employee’s behaviour. There could have been a huge traffic accident with a road closure, or a genuine family emergency, or another manager may have authorised for that person to have a late start and forgot to inform you.

Regularly jumping to conclusions like this will obviously cause negative results in your business, especially when your team members interact with you. Be smart and gather the facts first, and then decide on your reaction. Not the other way around.

As a business owner, learn to be open, to listen and to think. You might be correct in your assumptions and initial conclusion. The employee may be a lazy-bones and potential risk to your business, but by showing that you want to gather all of the facts before reacting, you show your team and colleagues that you are empathetic, patient and understanding.

Rather make an educated decision, which won’t bite you in the butt, than land up with disengaged and disgruntled employees.

Is this something you struggle with? Need some assistance? Contact me nicole@tikumu.co.nz for professional business coaching.