There are laws that have made bullying in schools a crime. Teachers are required to take continuing education courses in bully prevention. There is an expectation (and rightly so) that school age children can and should be taught better than to bully each other.
But what about grownups?
When I was working in the corporate world I was on a conference call where a group of us were troubleshooting a problem. I had not been involved in the creation of the problem, but I was a pretty big player in creating the solution. About twenty minutes into the call the boss two levels up came on the line. He didn’t ask where we were or what we were working on, or even who was on the phone, he just started screaming and cursing and threatening to fire people. In that moment I realized that the only person on that call he had the authority to fire was me.
Once he got done screaming and hung up, I was rattled, but we went back to work and solved the problem. Of course the screaming boss took the credit and I was told that next time I shouldn’t let problems like that occur.
When I do book signings, presentations, radio or TV interviews I am regularly asked what people can do about a bullying boss or coworker. I even wrote this post about it in the past. So why is bullying and intimidation in the workplace accepted? And worse, even rewarded?
It is clear that there are a lot of bosses and coworkers out there who have not been trained how to use productive conflict resolution. It seems that many organizations don’t care about how their managers are getting results as long as they get them.
Do you think it is a company’s responsibility to make sure they hire and train managers who treat people well and to discipline, retrain or remove bullies? Do we need laws about bullying in the workplace like we have laws about sexual harassment?
I know I usually try to offer tips and advice here. But today I’m asking you – does the government need to step in and require adults to treat each other with the respect and dignity we expect from grade school children?