Leadership Training: Will it Solve My Bullying Situation at Work? No. Here’s Why.

Leadership Training: Will it Solve my Bullying Situation at Work? No. Here’s Why.

You’ve just about had it with the bullying situation between your employees but your “bully” is a “subject matter expert” so you cannot dismiss him.

People are complaining about this person, important people are leaving their jobs because of the abrasive behavior, and you are running out of options. You’ve tried discussing the issue nicely and rationally with the abrasive person. You’ve tried negotiation, mediation, threats, and pleading. You’ve even tried some general coaching. Nothing seems to be working.

It looks like you’re going to need another tactic. Will leadership training work?

Leadership Training vs. “You Can’t Make Me!”

Leadership training is a wonderful tool for people that legitimately want to improve, and are interested in developing themselves. For certain superstar employees, it is one of the best options for improving “ways of being”, and ultimately, productivity.

But leadership training only works on people who want to be trained, and can make changes and improvements in their behavior. This isn’t going to work with employees displaying aggressive or bullying behaviors. Aggressive people do not see their behavior as a problem. They do not empathize with their targets or employers, and they do not recognize that they need leadership training. So, leadership training does not work, nor does any other kind of group training, for that matter.

So What Now?
In a situation like this, you need specific strategies and tactics to control the aggression. You will need to identify exactly what type of abrasive behavior you are dealing with, and you will need to have a concrete approach to changing that behavior. You will also need specific measures for assessing improvements. What you do not need is a general program that focuses on leadership, civility or “how to get along”.

I’m Kathleen Bartle, a strategic consultant on workplace conflict to executives worldwide for more than 20 years. My work brings individualized solutions to your teams’ lost productivity, loss of key personnel, low morale, and the high costs resulting from bullying, abrasive behaviors and interpersonal workplace conflicts. You can contact me here.