Each month eBossWatch brings you the best of blogs that focus on workplace issues.
This month we spoke with Marilyn Veincentotz, author of How Organizations Empower Bully Bosses: A Criminal in the Workplace and CEO of Do Right at Work (DRAW), a professional consulting firm based out of southern California that is helping organizations to create a productive and motivated workforce.
Marilyn details how organizations and employees can become empowered and unified in their effort to get rid of bullies in the workplace.
eBossWatch: What prompted you to write your book How Organizations Empower Bully Bosses?
Many years ago, I experienced what is now termed workplace bullying while working as a middle school teacher in California. My bully boss was the principal who retaliated against me after I reported to her that a veteran teacher was exposing herself to the students. Instead of investigating the allegations, the principal began harassing me and the 60 students who were the victims and witnesses.
The harassment not only came from the principal but from other teachers whom she solicited to join in her campaign of terror. Students were so affected by the toxic environment that one student experienced “hysterical blindness” due to the stressful atmosphere. This extremely traumatic workplace experience devastated me. I began to research workplace issues and management and came across the term “workplace bully” as well as tons of information on “mobbing” in the workplace. It was at that time I began writing about my experience, but it was not until nearly fifteen years later that I would actually write the book How Organizations Empower the Bully Boss: A Criminal in the Workplace. Observing more phenomena in the workplace such as what I had researched and actually having another workplace bully experience led me to complete the manuscript.
eBossWatch: What advice do you have for people who find themselves working for a bully boss?
1. Do not take the bully’s actions personally as it will impede your ability to effectively fight back.
2. Document, document, document ALL interactions with the bully. Even if it is verbal conversation, memorialize it in an email.
3. Keep all supporting evidence, documentation, names of witnesses, etc.
4. Keep a chronology of events should you eventually have a consultation with an attorney. This record keeping will prove invaluable.
5. Be aware of how the bullying is affecting you; do not let your health suffer. Seek medical consultation, if needed.
6. Talk with someone who can be a support for you. Your mental health requires this.
7. Do not expect that you can do anything to make the bully stop. Once you become the target, the bully rarely just stops the bullying. You cannot afford to trivialize or wish the bully away; it is never that simple.
- Continue to seek other employment even as you strive to keep your job.
- Please share your experience with being bullied while at work or witnessing someone being bullied by taking the DRAW Survey.
eBossWatch: What are the best strategies for organizations to implement to ensure that they don’t empower bully bosses?
Organizations need to employ strategies such as these if they wish to ensure they are not empowering the bully boss:
1. Provide a system for employees to complain anonymously if they choose.
2. External consultants should be used for workplace harassment, hostile workplace complaints; HR should not be used as to do so is an obvious conflict of interest in favor of the bully.
3. Provide training and follow up monitoring on managers or supervisors who are receiving three or more complaints from one or more employees. Even if the investigation proves there is nothing justified, the fact that there are so many complaints is evidence that the management style or something else is awry.
4. Give recognition to managers/supervisors who have a high retention rate, high employee morale, high work production/service. This is really important since everyone wins big, especially the organization.
5. Give recognition for departments/employees/managers with the lowest absenteeism/lowest job injuries.