3 Tips for Convincing Leaders That Toxic Behavior Must Be Addressed

by Sep 30, 2020Uncategorized0 comments

You tell your CEO that there is bullying, it causes harm, and we should fix it.

Seems obvious this needs to be addressed.

Alas, many HR professionals are met with push back: “People are just sensitive.” “She’s our top performer so hopefully people can figure out how to deal with it.” “Let’s get everyone some training on bullying at work and maybe that person will change.” (That’s my personal favorite because it’s so ridiculous.)

If you’re getting pushback, here are three tips for countering it.

Calculate the Costs

Leadership needs data. Help them see the actual costs of bullying and you might pique their interest.  

Create an excel sheet laying out all of the actual costs of bullying, including hours spent dealing with it, turnover, training new hires, absenteeism, and everything else but the kitchen sink.

Even more cool, if costs of bullying are clearly laid out you can also discuss the ROI of addressing it.

Turn Anecdotes into Clearer Data

Anecdotes are data, but they’re also made up of perceptions. Leaders hear the stories and respond with, “Why can’t they just act like adults.”

I hate to say it, but anecdotes also create the opportunity for HR to be seen as melodramatic, too sympathetic to the employees’ plight and not enough to the business’, and lacking business acumen. 

That’s why we’re introducing our abrasive leader diagnostic. It turns those anecdotes into clear and undeniable data. 

You’ll be asked to put a checkmark next to all of the bullying behaviors you’re aware of (e.g., aggressive body language, yelling, sabotage) and all of the outcomes of that behavior (e.g., turnover, complaints, requests for transfers). 

You receive a report that summarizes your anecdotes in a calm and composed way… in a way leadership can understand. 

Discuss Risk

In addition to laying out costs in your excel sheet, and the list of behaviors and outcomes in your diagnostic report, you’ll want to discuss risk. 

Harassment and bullying behaviors are the same – the only difference is whom they’re aimed at. All it takes is one employee to recognize they may have a hostile work environment complaint, and the organization is doomed for at least a costly investigation. 

Of course, an investigator’s fee won’t crush the business. It’s all the other stuff that makes investigations costly – time wasted participating, time wasted gossiping about participation, loyalty to the organization lost, and so forth. 

Implement these three tips, and you’ll convince your leadership that bullying is a problem that exists, is costly, and most be resolved. 

Sincerely,

Catherine Mattice Zundel

P.S. Don’t forget about our upcoming webinar on Oct 22, 2020. We’ll be discussing politics at work and how to create an environment that can tolerate the emotions and outrage that’s sure to come with election night. We are offering up 1 SHRM PDC for those that attend this webinar!

It’s from 10:30-11:45 am Pacific. 

Claim your spot!

About Catherine Mattice Zundel

Catherine Mattice Zundel, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

30 Ways To Bring Your Core Values To Life

Include your values graphic on your company’s “about” page. Weave values into your jobs portal or applicant tracking system. Include a link to information about your values in your online job postings. This is a great tool to get some less desirable applicants to...

10 Ideas for 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! We’re so proud of how far you’ve (and we’ve) come during this difficult year. We finally made it to 2021! Celebrating the New Year may feel different, and we know the hopes are high for a better 2021. People often set lofty resolutions for the next...

3 Questions to Reflect on Your Employer Brand

Your organization is under a microscope. Between social media and every other internet outlet, everything your organization does is met with a judge, jury, and… well, judgement.   The internet is the first place potential candidates, customers, and future business...

5 Ways to End the Year Strong

Crazy that we’re already talking about the end of the year. Good riddance, 2020!   But it ain’t over, so you still have time to finish big. Here are 5 options we thought you should consider:   Provide awesome harassment prevention training. California employers know...

3 Actions Leaders Should Take, Right Now

A month or so back, I had a discussion with leadership consultant and coach, Melanie Proschenko, on my LinkedIn Live show. She had some great points about what leaders can be doing to support their teams these days, and I wanted to share in case you missed the live...

Social Media Interactions About Politics Put Organizational Culture at Risk

These past few months, my social media has been riddled with posts around the upcoming election. My connections have been sharing their political views and, in some cases, very adamant opinions on who to vote for. I suspect the same is true for your employees. The...

3 Topics to Communicate to Your Workforce About Politics

Yikes, last Tuesday’s debate was brutal to watch. There were insults flangin’ and slangin’ every which way, interruptions, talking over each other… a great example of incivility was displayed. No matter your political views, we can all agree that that debate was ugly....

3 Tips for Convincing Leaders That Toxic Behavior Must Be Addressed

You tell your CEO that there is bullying, it causes harm, and we should fix it. Seems obvious this needs to be addressed. Alas, many HR professionals are met with push back: “People are just sensitive.” “She’s our top performer so hopefully people can figure out how...

Workplace Bullying and the Law

This is a long one, so grab a cup of coffee and clear your schedule. It’s been a while since I’ve written a long and epic article about my super-niche, workplace bullying. With Puerto Rico recently passing a law to prohibit workplace bullying, and Google searches on...

5 Tips for Maintaining Civility at Work During Election Season

Your workforce is bound to have varying opinions around the issues our nation is facing, which inherently creates a higher risk of conflict and disrespectful behavior. On top of COVID and #BLM, we’re just months away from a very emotionally-charged...