How to avoid accusations of workplace bullying and harassment

Lack of understanding and the absence of clear definitions of the term ‘bullying’ in the workplace means that is often used inappropriately. This can lead to managers feeling disempowered. Fearing an accusation of bullying – when attempting performance management for example – they withdraw and are unable to deal constructively with problem behaviour.

Genuine cases of harassment and bullying at work unfortunately do occur and most employers recognise this and have policies in place to deal with complaints. Genuine bullying has to be dealt with promptly and firmly, but confusion means that problems of a different nature can arise when the term ‘bullying’ is used without foundation, for example to counter management instructions.

This workshop will enable attendees to discuss alleged cases of bullying and provides guidelines for dealing with complaints early. In many cases this will mean that difficulties between the parties can be resolved and lengthy and costly formal procedures  can be avoided.

The event will also equip managers with understanding and strategies for countering spurious accusations of bullying.  Attendees will be give diagnostic criteria and clear guidelines on responding to accusations of bullying, and encouraged to use structured and solution-focused questions with a view to maintaining productive working relationships.

This course will help attendees:

Become more confident in response to allegations of bullying and harassment

Understand what constitutes bullying and harassment

Engage in constructive response before resorting to formal procedures

Counter spurious accusations of ‘bullying’ when attempting, for example, to manage performance.

 Specific content includes:

  • Introduction and expectations
  • What the research says
  • Bullying and harassment: definitions
  • Bullying, harassment, and other types of negative behaviour
  • Organisational attitudes and responses
  • Legal and Health and Safety duties
  • Case studies from the law
  • The key communication skills for managers
  • How to discuss sensitive issues with confidence
  • Balancing the interests of all concerned
  • Performance management considerations
  • The manager’s dilemma: support staff and get results
  • Bullying: diagnostic check-list
  • Accusations vs allegations
  • How to respond to an accusation
  • How to engage in an ‘adult’ conversation
  • Acknowledging emotion, discussing facts
  • Questioning and creative questions to use
  • Keeping constructive conversation going
  • Three strategies for reducing false accusations
  • Conflict resolution or mediation, when to get help
  • Formal vs informal approaches
  • The role of organisational and team culture
  • Protecting the staff and the organisation
  • Protecting the manager
  • Further resources.

What you’ll learn

Workplace bullying and harassment, definitions and statistics

How to spot genuine cases of bullying in the workplace

How to respond to spurious allegations safely

Diagnostic check list; how to identify and correctly label problem behaviour at work

How to discuss a complaint and resolve issues early

The questions to ask and responses to give when handling allegations

Prevention: The role of organisational and team culture

How to educate both managers and staff to minimise the risk of false accusations.

Who is it for?

Supervisors and managers who believe that organisational culture is important, and want to create the right culture for their organisation.

Learning & Development and HR staff who have to deal with allegations of bullying and harassment.

HR, L&D and OD specialists who want to understand how they can impact on organisational culture.

Supervisors and managers who have experienced, or believe that they are at risk from, spurious accusations of bullying or harassment

Anyone responsible for organising or managing individuals or groups.