Bullying rife in workplace

PUBLISHED: 10:28 24 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:11 06 May 2010

WE`VE all had our fair share of bad days at work and only total angels can genuinely say they ve never had some sort of gripe with a colleague, or a horn-locking run-in with their boss. Dealing with minor blips like this is all in a day s work for the ma

WE`VE all had our fair share of bad days at work and only total angels can genuinely say they've never had some sort of gripe with a colleague, or a horn-locking run-in with their boss.

Dealing with minor blips like this is all in a day's work for the majority of us, but what happens when these 'minor blips' turn into monster grudges? And what happens when the end of the day doesn`t even come close to signalling the end of your problems - and you could even go so far as to say you're being bullied?

Alarmingly, new research suggests that bad managers and bullying tactics are not as rare as we might think. In fact, if the findings are anything to go by, poor management and victimising tactics are mercilessly sweeping across UK workplaces in epic proportions.

From bullying bosses to ineffective communicators, nine out of 10 employees told law firm Eversheds that they had worked for a bad manager at some stage in their life.

More worryingly, nearly half of the survey's 1,500 respondents confessed they had worked for a bully, while more than a quarter of them think management styles have become too harsh over the past year.

A staggering 97 per cent of workers would like their boss to communicate more clearly and directly - specifically, they want 'management speak' to be given the boot, with phrases like 'are we all singing from the same hymn sheet?' and 'thinking outside of the box' being particular bones of contention.

Said David Gray, Chief Executive of Eversheds law firm: "Strong and effective leadership should be at the heart of all good businesses, but these findings make troubling reading. The report shows that poor communication, lack of direction and weak decision-making are widespread among UK bosses.

"The study reveals a distinct lack of respect for management, with more than one third of workers having a negative perception of their current boss.

"From the findings, it is clear that managers have got to achieve a fine balance," he added. "Workers say they respond to managers who are straight-talking and honest, but also to someone who is approachable and friendly."

However, the results suggest that there is such a thing as taking straight-talking a step too far. Indeed, Sir Alan Sugar is certainly not held up as a role model for UK bosses with almost 70 per cent of those taking part in the research admitting that they wouldn't want to work for the fearsome star of BBC2's The Apprentice.

Almost two thirds of those quizzed by Eversheds said they think men make the best bosses and on closer analysis, even the majority of women say that men are the best leaders. However, younger workers (16 to 24-year-olds) believe that women are more effective managers.

David Gray concluded: "BBC 2's The Apprentice has certainly stirred up the debate about what makes a good manager and the programme has clearly highlighted the importance of strong leadership - how many times has the team failed because of an ineffective project manager?

"But this study flags up the importance of training at every level within an organisation," he continued. "Failing to invest in managers could have a real impact on the bottom line as there is a strong correlation between the quality of management and productivity."

So if business isn't exactly booming at the moment and you`re having trouble hanging on to staff - even though your business plan and marketing methods are totally top-notch - maybe it's time to look to management for answers of a different kind. You can easily turn things around.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Comet. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the The Comet