Dealing with Perception and Allegations of Bullying
How do you deal with people who appear to be outwardly working together professionally and well and yet make complaints about how they are being treated? Allegations such as ‘looking at me in an aggressive manner, using a derogatory tone, walking past me with attitude’ to name a few. Other non-verbal communications such as, rolling of eyes, sighing, staring intensely, having a furrowed brow.
There is nothing said, the complaints all manifest in the metaphysical. What does an eye roll mean? What does a sigh mean? Can these human interactions constitute bullying? Can these interactions be re-worked and re-interpreted in the future? At the time, people laughed about it and weren’t offended, then it was re-worked, and was subsequently interpreted in the future as something contaminated, malicious and worthy of causing harm.
How do we complete our deadlines with quality outcomes using positive overtones despite the work not being completed to the level required and being under pressure? How do we not express our upset, disappointments, frustrations when we are working within budgetary constraints and experience other pressures at work?
These are some of the challenges that we are dealing with today and the methods to mange those complaints (such as investigations) tend to pull teams apart, generate further hostilities, suspicion and pressure on relationships causing more potential for harm and disruption. That is what we see.
Unless the behaviour would attract serious disciplinary action such as termination, always exhaust less formal and more restorative options. Investigations are necessary and required and we do undertake these interventions where necessary. But it is also very important to put in place strategies post investigation to pull the team back together. Our team can give your team over an 80% chance of pulling back together. Make sure you contact us to find out more about our services here at Evolve Workplaces. Anna Faoagali, Principal, Evolve Workplaces.