Addressing Inappropriate Behaviour
iHR Australia Workplace Investigations help identify the number one management skill for 2019
iHR Australia investigations have consistently revealed three problematic styles of leadership that contribute to a higher risk of bullying and harassment allegations. These are known by our team as Harsh and Reactive, Avoidant and Over-matey. Sometimes a manager might have demonstrated a number of these depending on the circumstance.
Avoidant is the failure to act (when one knows they should) and Over-matey we associate with the manager who wants to be ‘a friend without ‘leader’ boundaries, rather than a professional who is friendly but has clear boundaries. What is clear from our analysis of investigations is these styles result in patterns or single incidences of poor behaviour not being addressed. This, in turn, leads to a perceived acceptance of poor behaviour amongst team members and a subsequent higher risk of serious contraventions of acts and regulations related to workplace conduct.
In the current environment where there is a growing sensitivity in relation to workplace conduct (in particular sexual harassment), managers must understand that they have a legal responsibility to intervene when they become aware of inappropriate behaviour , and then be skilled to have the discussions required to change the behaviour. Having managers who don’t possess the skills to conduct challenging conversations is NOW high risk.
According to iHR Australia’s Managing Director Stephen Bell, having managers primed to intervene when they become aware of inappropriate behaviour is the number one leadership skill challenge for 2019. Says Bell, ‘For example, organisations must understand that a failure to intervene when a person demonstrates bullying type behaviours such as a pattern of directed sarcasm, that is belittling to another worker, is no different to having a live wire dangling from the wall and responding by asking workers to carefully walk around it until maintenance has time to fix it.’
Low levels of confidence and skill for addressing inappropriate behaviour is no excuse for employers. If a person is in a management role it is an essential skill and they must be prepared to utilise it.
iHR Australia has two programs: Custodians of Culture (Face to Face) and Addressing Inappropriate Behaviour (eLearning) for building manager skills in this area.