No Bullies Allowed

No Bullies Allowed


Employee retention and patient satisfaction start with culture.  There are no quick fixes for a dysfunctional work environment, but there are some immediate and bold actions required when bullies rear their ugly heads.

Not long ago, I began working with a client whose senior leaders were fully committed to making their organization the employer and provider of choice. As we delved into the current culture, we realized that some of their key leaders were not aligned with the values or the vision for the culture of the future. Front line staff, managers and supervisors described these individuals as bullies who were unapproachable and at times downright terrifying. Knowing that this might be difficult to accept, I presented these findings to the CEO & COO with clear facts and specific examples.  Having had many discussions like this in the past with other executives, I knew the discussion would go one of two ways. It could result in complete denial and defensiveness or swift action.

“We won’t allow bullies here”

To my relief, the CEO and COO listened and took swift action. They listened to the examples we provided and said, “We won’t allow bullies here.” Ultimately, the offending individuals were terminated. Although this action can be painful, it is necessary for organizational wellbeing and in preventing a culture of bullying.

A Harvard Business Review article[i] by Manuel Priesemuth, states, “Studies have even shown that employees who experience abuse from a supervisor are also more inclined to “pass on” this type of treatment in a ripple effect.”

The heart of bullying


Senior leaders lost credibility when their words weren’t matching their actions. This is the consequence for NOT acting over the years. If you say that you are committed to a culture of excellence, then you must align your behaviors and decisions with those words. In the example I cited above, the leaders did just that.

I have a plaque in my house that reads, “The secret to having what you want is getting rid of what you don’t want.”

“The secret to having what you want is getting rid of what you don’t want.”

So many times, we go through life in a comfort zone running business as usual. We don’t take the time to purge out the things we no longer want or that no longer serve us. Once we do, we make ample space for what we really want. Are you ready to assess what you have and purge what is no longer working? It may be the key to the culture you desire.



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