Do not walk away from bullying staff

The recent Personnel Today/Andrea Adams Trust survey on bullying (News, 28 September) reminds us that our behaviour as human beings is at the root of most of the problems we face at work. I run Integrity Workshops in the City and in addition to some obvious compliance-based scenarios, we have a bullying scenario.

The delegates’ challenge is to decide what they would do and why if they witnessed a serious bullying incident perpetrated by the boss, having only just joined the firm after nine months’ unemployment. Many delegates are honest enough to own up and say they would probably walk away.

Bullying flourishes because not only do we have bullies and victims, but we have the silent majority who walk away. A business where people walk away has no integrity. The people who walk away may condemn the bullying in the pub, but their unwillingness to confront it at some risk to themselves, makes them as guilty as the bullies themselves.

I was encouraged that your headline said “Simply writing a policy is not enough”, but disappointed that you did not remind all your readers that in any community, we all share the responsibility for each other’s behaviour. As Edmund Burke wrote: “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”

Roger Steare
Occupational philosopher, Roger Steare Consulting

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