So if someone asked the staff in your trust, “Have you been bullied?”, would you like to talk about it in confidence? What percentage of staff would say yes?
‘The pressure on managers has definitely increased. Those who are not in tune with the new way of doing things could find themselves without a post’
Even in the best of times before compulsory redundancies, pay freezes, performance targets, increased workloads, enforced changes in working practices, aggressive absence management and annual appraisals there were staff who felt bullied by managers.
It was picked up in staff surveys and a regular theme when senior managers held work place staff conferences. In any organisation there will be some poor managers who impose unrealistic deadlines, set unmanageable workloads and make unreasonable demands. There will be managers who due to inexperience try to impose changes, refuse to acknowledge legitimate concerns or recognise resource implications. There will be those who see any dissent as disloyalty and a challenge to their authority as a manager.
But when harassment and bulling claims are investigated or the examples raised in conferences are discussed, my experience was that often the individuals simply did not like or agree with the new absence management policy or annual appraisals or the fact that people were being held accountable for their performance.
Of course budget cuts have reduced staffing, often at the same time as workloads have been increased and performance targets have become more demanding, in the face of increased competition and demands for greater efficiency.
‘In relation to the question, “have you been bullied?”, what is an “acceptable” amount of yes responses?”
The pressure on managers has definitely increased. Those who are not in tune with the new way of doing things could find themselves without a post following the next restructuring exercise.
So it would not be surprising if some of this pressure was passed on to staff. Whether this is experienced as bulling probably has more to do with the individual’s relationship with their line manager. Many staff operating under increased pressure, perhaps working excessive hours, recognise that their managers are supportive and appreciative but have little control over externally imposed deadlines, government budget cuts or centrally negotiated changes in working practises.
In this climate I would expect a staff survey to show criticisms of management and claims of harassment and bullying. So given that there will always be some people who feel they have been bulled, in relation to the question, “Have you been bullied?”, what is an “acceptable” amount of yes responses?