It struck me last week, as I spent four days training in a massive corporate body, how the corporate world we work in creates environments in which the abrasive manager thrives. How hierarchical our organisations are! It appears the more levels of management, the greater the risk of accusations of bullying. Take the NHS as an example.
Agencies with multi-management levels tell some people that they are higher or lower than some others. This does not make them better or worse than their colleague but it does lay the foundation for over-enthusiastic management and bullying; we exist at work either higher or lower than other people – that’s the nature of hierarchy.
Is there another way? Certainly a worker’s co-operative would be one answer but perhaps this is an unrealistic option for modern-day corporate structures, although perhaps we can think of some circumstances where this works. So is there an acceptable answer?
Yes, I believe there is! A company that recognises the dangers that hierarchical management present is well on the way to achieving a fair environment for staff. With recognition comes responsibility. Ensuring manager understand the high risks associated with their position whilst giving them relevant training and guidance to ensure that they do not abuse it will go along way to prevent aggressive management styles for existing. Indeed, developing a top down cultural shift towards co-operative management, being inclusive not exclusive, will achieve a fairer more tolerant workplace.
I was recently working with a client, an MD of an SME who wanted to explore the development of a softer management. Coaching him through a “Working with Difference” programme, he became more aware of his own differences and consequently his vulnerabilities. As his level of self-understanding grew, so his tolerance of other people in his management team. He began to see how other people functioned at work and recognised that he needn’t be so tough on members of the team. He invited them to work with him on re-defining their managerial relationship. One by one, the senior team changed the way they functioned with him and, as a direct result became harder working and more productive in their work functions. He encouraged them to go through similar processes with middle managers and more junior staff. It will not be long before the whole company will have redefined its own management culture. It will be no less hierarchical, but will be a better place to work with reduced bullying risks for managers.
The net result of such a shift is accessible for all companies. It only takes a commitment for a senior member of staff to change the entire management culture of the organisation. So what’s stopping you?
You can get free advise about developing a “Working with Difference” model from Equality Edge by contacting via the website. Just click the link!