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Workplace Bullying Lessons for the Miami Dolphins, NFL and All Employers

Posted on: November 7th, 2013 | Category: Employee Relations, Human Resources, News & Media, Our Blog

Dolphins_HelmetFor many, playing on a professional sport team seems like a dream job. Talk about your great places to work! That may be why so many people are so startled by the recent allegations that nine-year National Football League veteran Richie Incognito aggressively harassed rookie Jonathan Martin to the apparent breaking point. It seems so unlikely that an elite athlete who was carefully recruited by his employer would be subjected to intense workplace bullying. Even Forbes found it worth weighing in on the surprising employment situation:

Teams and leagues need to confront these kinds of dysfunctional and cruel behaviors head-on. While there are models for how to respond to bullying and develop safer work environments, support starts at the top. There, management needs to define and communicate the difference between what is assertive and what is aggressive.

In light of this recent NFL workplace bullying news, we are revisiting the following blog post, which was originally published in June.

Workplace Bullying Article An Eye-Opener for Many Employers

workplace bullying articleWorkplace bullying is more than a nuisance. It’s more than an impediment for employee productivity, company branding and talent retention. This kind of intimidation, in the worst-case scenarios, can possibly escalate to violence and crime. It should not ever be excused or ignored by management.

Recent media attention and studies have begun to shed the light on this issue, including an article posted by Lin Grensing-Pophal on Human Resource Executive Online entitled “Bullies (Still) in the Workplace”, myHR Partner’s President, Tina Hamilton, PHR, was a featured expert. First, Hamilton addressed the question of why reports of workplace bullying are on the rise:

“I think that the incidences of workplace bullying are on the rise for several reasons,” says Tina Hamilton, president and CEO of [myHR Partner, Inc., formerly named] hireVision Group Inc. in Allentown, Pa. “People in general are worried about their financial situations and job security, and that can manifest itself at work in aggressive or defensive behaviors. Companies are also getting by with smaller workforces, so naturally tensions can flair, bringing out the worst in some people. Lastly, our society as a whole has become more belligerent over the last few years, so we are bound to see some related negative behaviors show up in the workplace,” she says.

She then offered insight into how employers and managers can help create a company culture where bullying cannot take root or flourish:

Well-trained managers can play a pivotal role in defending against bullying behaviors, notes Hamilton. “Train your managers how to detect, circumvent and deal with intimidating, threatening and violent behaviors swiftly and directly. Many people who feel bullied are not comfortable telling management about it and not all acts of bullying are conspicuous. Managers need to be able to lead with empathy and compassion, as well as look for clues as to why employees are acting the way they do.”

To read the full article, click here.



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