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Are you a workplace bully?

This guest article is by Paul Pelletier, PMP, and author of Workplace Bullying: It’s Just Bad For Business.
Paul PelletierProject managers set and foster workplace behavior expectations by their leadership values and actions. Simply put, I believe we can learn from the example set by those who have gone before us.
This leaves you with two choices: Do you choose to create a positive, respectful workplace culture or do you choose to be disrespectful and bullying? This crucial decision will impact your organization and reflect back on you as a leader.
The issue of workplace bullying at the top was not well-known until recently. Command and control project managers were often revered, and even feared. Talk in the office may sound like this: “She’s an icon for power and success, but she’d make terrible work for.”
There is increasing evidence that project managers who bully are a serious threat for their organizations, their employees, and even their job security.
Do You Choose a “Bullying Leadership Style?”
Project managers who adopt a bullying leadership style are more likely to get results through fear, dominance, and negative reinforcement. Employees are forced to follow the leader’s orders. This command and control style of leadership is admirable on the battlefield. It doesn’t belong at work.
Bullying creates a culture in the workplace where employees feel anxious, vulnerable, and uncertain. This model is often adopted by PMPs who are known for their disrespectful behavior. They motivate others through humiliation, threat, and power.
The results can be devastating for the organization, employees and project manager.
Workplace bullying – The Leadership Style Test
Research shows that PMPs, and other project managers, set the tone and behavior expectations for their organizations. Their leadership style, expectations, and workplace respect tolerance levels are reflected throughout the business.
If project managers are disrespectful or behave in a similar way to themselves, their subordinates will follow suit. If survival of the fittest is what project managers desire, then the workplace culture will reflect disrespect.
I am well aware of the intense demands on results in today’s highly competitive world. Many organizations are so focused on short-term results they neglect the long-term impact of the methods used to achieve them.
The decision to bully and instill fear in leadership may result in short-term results, or even drive performance. This perception could lead project leaders to believe that this is a motivating approach for delivering results. But the real question is whether this approach is delivering for employees. Employees who feel fear, anxiety, and disrespect don’t produce well. Examples that support my viewpoint are not hard to find.
The dangers of being a workplace bully
Do you fully understand the risks of bullying tactics being used in leadership? The risks are high, regardless of whether project managers are bullies or encourage organizational influencers who are.
These risks could have unanticipated, self-destructive consequences, such as a loss of their reputation and career, or even the destruction of their beloved businesses. It is possible, and in the best organizational interests, to have workplace respect and healthy competition. To perform at their best, staff don’t have to be abused.
How a Bullying Culture destroyed a company
60 Minutes, a popular US TV program, produced an explosive piece titled the King of Coal about a US mining company chief who was convicted of a workplace safety offense for “ignoring mine safety laws” and encouraging a corporate mentality that allowed the disaster.