According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, in 2017, 60.4 million Americans were affected by workplace bullying, 61% of workplace bullies were bosses, and 71% of employer reactions were considered harmful to those who were targeted by workplace bullies.
Workplace bullies cause higher stress levels in the workplace, often impede employee productivity levels, and can significantly and negatively impact other employees’ emotional, mental, and physical well-being—all of which can negatively affect your entire organization and its bottom line.
Luckily, however, recent research has found that authentic leaders can help prevent workplace bullying. Authentic leaders work to build their legitimacy and influence through honest relationships with their followers or subordinates. And they are highly self-aware, are open to opposing viewpoints, and have strong moral and ethical standing.
Here are some things you can do if you’re interested in developing authentic leaders for your organization who actively work to mitigate workplace bullying.
Conduct Personality Assessments During Recruiting
If you want to prevent those individuals who have characteristics and personalities of the typical bully from entering your workplace, try to weed them out during your recruiting process.
Conduct personality assessments that reveal who is most likely to become a bully in your workplace before ever even interviewing them, and don’t promote them into leadership roles.
Promote a Zero Tolerance Policy and Enforce It
Because most workplace bullies are managers, be sure to connect with employees individually across your entire organization and make sure that they are aware of your zero-tolerance-workplace-bullying policy.
And make sure that you actually enforce it and look into all complaints and reports submitted, especially those made against your management and leadership teams. This will further enforce the idea that workplace bullying will never be tolerated and that you will promote more authentic and honest leaders.
Develop Servant Leaders Across Your Organization
Servant leaders are the true embodiment of authentic leaders. They are highly aware of their own biases and influence, are inclusive and empathetic, are community-minded and inspire innovation and collaborative teams that respect their guidance, and so much more.
Read Why Your Leadership Program Should Focus on Servant Leadership and Servant Leader—Right for Your Leadership Training? for even more information.
Offer Emotional Intelligence Training
To prevent workplace bullying, work to develop a more emotionally intelligent and authentic workforce. Some individuals may not be aware of their own actions and emotions and how their actions and emotions affect others around them.
And this is how a lot of disagreements and bullying starts in the workplace. Emotional intelligence training will help mitigate workplace disagreements and arguments and will increase workplace rapport, while developing more authentic employees and leaders.
Although workplace bullying is still a widespread issue in today’s workplace, you can work to prevent it by developing more authentic leaders by considering the information outlined above.