June 20, 2006

Practical strategies to deal with workplace bullying

Now is the ideal time to take a hard look at bullying behaviour

The Independent Voice April 2002 Volume 2 Number 2 Page 4

'...The target's colleagues must demand justice, not revenge, because bullies are often the symptom of faulty systems rather than the actual disease. In healthy workplaces the target's problem must be the group's problem. A workplace must focus on peer mediation and collective responsibility, i.e. don't bring in consultants or outsiders to initially resolve issues. Workplaces need to develop their own definitions of bullying and write protocols to deal with targets and bullies.

The practical strategies

Healthy Workplaces can easily begin to address bullying through:

- Induction programs,

- Awareness programs for all continuing employees,

- Clear policies and procedures,

- Peer mediation program, and

- Providing staff with opportunities to self manage issues.

All approaches to changing workplace culture must include senior management and establish a formal grievance procedure. Each workplace must find its own answers rather than generic procedures being imposed from above. Moreover, each site needs a "driver" to help keep bullying on the agenda and ensure that all staff are involved.

A successful approach to addressing bullying in the workplace needs to:

1. Gain a commitment from management

2. Conduct surveys to gauge level of response required

3. Run awareness sessions

4. Establish consultative forums (e.g. through WH&S, SCC, etc)

5. Develop policies, procedures (e.g. maintain confidentiality) and strategies

6. Gain feedback from all staff

7. Plan the implementation and evaluation process

8. Conduct regular training for key staff'

From: Queensland Independent Education Union, Graham Perrett, gperrett@qieu.asn.au

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