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Training Key to Tackling Workplace Bullies


Training is the most effective method of countering workplace bullies, according to a study by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

A survey of 512 executives across public and private sectors found that bullying is rife with psychological intimidation seen as the biggest problem.

The research found that the most common forms of bullying are misuse of power or position, verbal insults and undermining by overloading or criticism.

A lack of management skills is cited as the top reason (66%) for bullying in the workplace. Other factors included personality of colleagues/managers and authoritarian management style.

Mary Chapman, Chief Executive of the CMI said that poor management appeared to be at the root of the problem. "Organisations must create an open, empowering culture and develop the skills of those who enter management positions to ensure that the potential for bullying is minimised and that a positive, productive working environment develops," she said.

Her comments are backed by survey findings, which found that among those organisations with policies for dealing with bullies, training was seen as most effective. An impressive 83% of those managers whose policies include training rated their organisations as quite or very effective at deterring bullying.

Other effective but uncommon policies included a contact point for advice, internal confidential counselling and external mediation.

However many organisations do not have bullying procedures. Half of those surveyed who had been bullied said that no action was taken by their employers.

An executive summary of Bullying at work: the experience of managers and guidelines for managers on tackling bullying is available here.

Key findings:
* Middle managers are the most bullied amongst the UK management population, with 49% having suffered.
* 29% of directors and 42% of junior managers reported incidences of being bullied.
* A quarter of those surveyed reported bullying of managers by junior staff.
* Women are more likely to be victims with 54% compared to 35% of men having suffered from bullying in the past three years.


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