Tame the team bullies!
IT TAKES all sorts of people to make up this world; and obviously your team too - the talented, the not so talented, introverts, extroverts and the bullies! Yes. The bossy, know-all types who want to push every other member in the team into their shadow. Such people need to be handled firmly, and at the earliest. Before they either demoralise or stress out the rest of the members.
Today's work environments are extremely team- focused. Organisations are aware of the benefits of inputs from a variety of people. More teamwork translates into increased interaction with diverse personalities. A team thrives on the variety of such a scenario. And this is exactly what the team bullies destroy.
Bullies intimidate, interrupt and interrogate other team members, causing havoc at work place. With their bossy attitude and rude behaviour, bullies vitiate the work environment. Often, the climate created by a bully prevents other team members from contributing to group discussions or suggesting new perspectives. What's more, they can also spoil the health of their targets!
So, be warned, all you team leaders! Reining in bullies is very important!
A bully in a team can poison the attitude of other members, hampering productivity in the process.
The ability to work with other people is critical in today's workplace. In fact, the most critical characteristic in determining employee success within an organisation is the ability to work effectively within and across teams.
So, how do you deal with a bully? You should not let them upset the apple cart; at the same time rein them in gently without ruffling their feathers. Tread carefully, because while you do not want a bully, you also do not want a grouchy member with a persecuted complex!
Here are some tips:
Ask Questions - Ask the bully questions for clarification instead of making accusations, which could directly provoke a disagreement. Questioning allows you to steer a conversation without making him feel awkward
Tone Is Half the Message - Consider not only what you say, but also how you say it. Addressing the team bully's behaviour sure requires delivering a message, although carefully. Though the difference is subtle, tone and word-emphasis contribute to how others interpret and respond to what you're saying
Be Calm, Cool and Collected - If you approach the team bully when you're charged from a previous run-in with him, it's likely you'll be easily agitated, which could result in another conflict. Wait a little while before dealing with the bully. You'll come back to the table more clear and calm, ready to solve the real issues effectively
Select the Appropriate Medium - If you need to address the team bully's meeting-room manners, do so in an appropriate mode of communication and setting. Face-to-face interaction is best. Remember, communication is 90% visual, with more than half of a conversation's meaning stemming from body language. Using the telephone, written notes or e-mail can work against you in several ways
Stay Fact-Focused - Use as many facts as possible when working with the bully. Stick to dates, data, customers and documents to avoid sidetracking to personal differences. By staying fact-focused, you can avert intangibles such as opinions and feelings
Consider a Mediator - If attempts at diffusing conflict with the team bully fail, you could seek the help of a mediator. Conflict management with a third party allows for a neutral source to communicate the issues clearly without bias
Finally, remember that you only have control over your own actions and not over the bully's. Keep this in mind when dealing with conflict. By following these suggestions, you'll demonstrate leadership, maturity and most importantly will be using your energy towards finding a solution that will move your group forward.
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