* Bullying costs a further $6-$36 billion
* A study conducted by Ernst & Young found that 3.5 million Australians are unproductive, costing the economy $41 billion in wages alone
* According to Gallop only 18% of Aussies love their job, whilst 20% hate it.
That’s a lot of unhappy employees not enjoying their work or adding value to their employers.
So what’s going on at work? What can we do to ensure that our teams are committed, motivated, engaged and adding value at work?
I heard Blythe Rowe speak recently on the subject of “Bullies, Blamers and Bludgers” and their impact on the workplace. In her new book, of the same title, Blythe discusses the collateral damage caused by unhappy employees. Her research and findings were so fascinating that I sat down with Blythe for a chat. Here is what she shared:
JG : You talk a lot about “Bullies, Blamers, Bludgers” – why is this an important message to share?BR: Over the last decade in modern workplaces, the war for talent and the focus on building engagement, has led to a rise in an “entitlement culture” from employees in many instances – where they are all about “what’s in it for me?”. Combine this with the tough business circumstances where people are wasting energy on covering their tail and blaming others for lack of results vs. focusing on a solution. Together this has led to a rise in bullying, blaming and bludging behaviours from employees (and leaders), which are not only toxic and contagious in workplaces – they are extremely costly.
Yet, the behaviours often go un-managed or unspoken as leaders fear they will lose good people or be challenged if they attempt to performance manage the individual – so the toxic behaviours spread and before you know it, Bullies, Blamers and Bludgers reign.
JG : So what can we do?
BR : We need to bring back the notion of individual responsibility and ownership at ALL levels within workplaces in order to rev up productivity, profitability and drive individual performance.
i. Employees need to Get R.E.A.L (face reality, explore options, accept responsibility and learn along the way). This process helps raise awareness as to the barriers to performance for individuals. They start to understand HOW they fit in to the bigger picture and they actually WANT to contribute. They become more attached to the outcome they are seeking and hold themselves more accountable for their actions and results.
ii. Leaders need to Drive Ownership within themselves and their team. Leaders need to be prepared to lead. The war for talent, combined with perceived lack of support and tough IR laws, has meant that managers often ignore the BBB behaviours, hoping they will magically go away. Leaders need to take the “right road” which is not always the easy and popular road. It means being crystal clear about expectations (results, behaviours, timelines), having the tough chats and calling people on their behaviour if they don’t meet these expectations and having the guts to hold them accountable.
iii. Cultures need to enable employees to perform. The essential ingredients for fostering a culture of Ownership are R.E.V:
R- results focused
E – empowerment centric
V- values based
JG: Women are often incredibly competitive with each other in the workplace. I talk a lot about the Rapunzel vs. Ladder Kicker syndrome. Do you think we are our worst enemies?
BR : It seems in a generation of ME we have lost this sense of Ownership and accountability to something greater than ourselves in the workplace. I am not sure it is gender specific. I think in modern workplaces (not including non for profit) everyone is more concerned with themselves than the greater good (hence the competitive nature).
When individuals “get over themselves” and start to think bigger than them, when they come from a contribution mindset vs. a competitive one, that is when great things happen.
I have found women to be particularly wonderful in this respect since I have left corporate world (LBD group is a great example of this). So I don’t think we have to be our worst enemies, everyone just needs to get over themselves to enable them to do that.
JG : What has the response been like to your message?
BR : Surprisingly Awesome! I say surprisingly, as my message is not the typical softly softly motivational one to drive people performance. I have spent a career in Senior HR/leadership roles for some of Australia’s largest organisation’s doing that exact strategy. All this focus on building engagement and where has that got us? So, my message is blunt, a little controversial and focused on results. I realise that it won’t necessarily be winning “miss popularity”, yet what is astounding me is the amount of feedback (a lot from strangers) who love the straight talking approach about a very real issue that is facing individual employees, leaders and workplaces alike in today’s competitive world.
It’s about being REAL. Acknowledging real issues, real challenges, having real conversations to get the best outcome for the people and the business.
We can’t change the past but I believe we can have the courage to create a better future for our people and our workplaces, and that is what I intend to do, and I don’t mind if I upset a few people along the way. See, the irony is, it’s the Bullies, Blamers and Bludgers of this world who often are unaware of their behaviour and the impact it has on others around them, so I intend to help raise that awareness in an attempt to shift behaviour and long term outcomes.
Too right, Blythe and you have my support all the way
Blythe has kindly offered Little Black Dress Group members and supporters a free copy of the first chapter of Blythe’s book which is fascinating reading. Click here to download : “Bullies, Blamers, Bludgers” Snippet