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Getting Clear About Defining Bullying

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Workshop Session Plan
Key Learning Outcomes

Workshop Focus:
Creating role plays to understand bullying behaviour versus management directions
2 hour briefing, half day (4 hours)
Target Audience:
All management/supervisors
Expected Outcomes:
Clearer understanding about what is bullying and what is management.  Participants will understand the boundary and have a clear perspective of what is bullying and what it is not.  Moreover, the workshop will identify the types of bullying.


In workplaces there are differences in perception around what is bullying and what is management direction?  It is very important that managers and supervisors have a clear idea of what is bullying.  Traditionally there have been behaviours where management was perceived as ‘do as I say’ rather than collaboration and working together.  There are a range of management styles that are top/down (hierarchical) directive whereby each level is carrying out instructions from the level above.  The team based approach is collaborative on a range of issues.  The team based structure is seen as flatter whereby management is distributive rather than directive.  Management styles are also determined by personality type and working styles.  Some managers are not good communicators and may issue single instructions in aggressive ways without an awareness of their impact emotionally on others, others may use fear to get work done to meet deadlines and keep people on their toes, other styles are open and receptive to advice and input and tend to encourage collaboration with an open door policy.  Thus the management style, if controlling rather than directive, can place managers in positions where they are bullying consciously or unconsciously. The same applies to staff who may have personal styles of perfectionism whereby they need to feel their work is under control and they may project control behaviours onto others to ensure things are done their way.  This can create tension and stress and can develop into bullying, if repeated overtime with a negative intent.

Workshop Session Plan

  • Definition of bullying
  • Fines
  • Steps to Combat Bullying
  • Distinguishing between legitimate authority and bullying
  • What bullying is not
  • What is Power?
  • What is Intention?
  • Clear communication
  • Working styles
  • Control or collaboration?
  • What are perceptions?
  • Observation or judgement?
  • Power of projection
  • The power of feelings.

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will become acquainted with the legal issues of bullying and how they can be personally liable if they are bullying or other staff are bullying
  • Participants will be able to understand the difference between what is bullying behaviour and what is legitimate management authority
  • Participants will learn to discern power over from power within
  • Participants will learn about clear communication as distinct from aggressive or intimidating interactions
  • Participants will role play ways to interact that are healthy, guiding and proactive from destructive intimidating styles
  • Participants will become familiar with different working styles
  • Participants will become reflective in relation to their own perceptions, projections and emotional states