Supervisor Newsletter - January 2021

I don’t believe I am a bullying supervisor, but several employees recently complained about my supervision style as being such. I think the whole idea of bullying is nearly “fad-like” and an opportunity for employees to escape responsibility for having subpar performance. Am I correct?

In the past, the same argument was used to minimize the impact of sexual harassment in the workplace. Today, sexual harassment is illegal. Research has now documented its true cost. Bullying in the workplace is rapidly receiving the same level of recognition, also supported by research. See this citation on abusive supervision. Do you ridicule employees? Have you put employees down in front of others? Have you accused them of incompetence, kept them away from “the good assignments,” not given them credit for their work, yelled at them, or invaded their privacy by asking probing personal questions? Many of these behaviors were once considered natural elements of the traditional workplace, but not today. Talk to PAS about making changes. Most employees who complain to supervisors about bullying say they do not see substantive changes from their tormentors. This implies that changing these behaviors can be tough. Still, you could remain at risk for employment or legal claims if your tactics don’t shift.

Should I refer an employee to the PAS if he or she tests positive for COVID-19?

Yes, consider recommending self-referral to PAS. The coronavirus has tremendous controversy associated with it, and misinformation abounds. Unfortunately, people who are diagnosed with the illness often suffer from anxieties in addition to their other symptoms, including an anxiety about whether the illness will be terminal for them. Victims of the disease may wonder how they got it, who they passed it on to, or whether anyone they know with medical problems or who is aged could contract the disease and die from it. This can obviously create feelings of guilt and concern. What are the long-term side effects? What information should I trust? Does this disease cause heart problems or other body organ damage? PAS will offer help or obtain the support needed to help your worker overcome these dreads.

Why is PAS considered a means to help supervisors manage stress?

PAS helps managers with personal stress, and PAS helps remove the stress of managing the problematic behaviors of employees that may be linked to their personal problems. There is one part of the process that many managers forget, however. Any performance issue that is not improving is a potential referral to PAS. This step is a de-stressor because PAS can share the burden of helping an employee correct a performance problem. When supervisors refer employees to PAS, they are, in fact, referring them to correct performance issues, not mental health issues or other personal problems. Frequently, it is determined that some personal issue impedes performance (but not always). In those cases, PAS has been known to then refer employees to every sort of help imaginable -- even language classes, retirement planners, public speaking courses, and reading improvement programs to name a few.