bullying managers - what can we do . . .
23-Jun-2009 2:06 pm
I work for a manager who has been with the trust for over 20 years - you know the ones. No people skills, no respect for his staff and generally not a nice person.
I requested to change my hours as my son was due to start school, and within 2 days of my request hitting his desk, I had a letter back to say NO!. Reason??? I should spend more time in the office and work my set hours.
I also had issues with his bullying tactics and so along with the flexible working issue, I took this to his manager to discuss. I then had my GP sign me off work as I was unable to work with him.
After a period of nothing happening, I was told he had 'reflected' on his behaviour and so I should be able to return to work. His lack of following policy was not mentioned, his bullying was ignored and his blatant lies that he told about me were not discussed.
On talking to other staff within the NHS,
people like this will go far as no one in management will do anything about it. This is not acceptable and something needs to be done.
I have spoken to the union, occupational health, other staff - and the answer seems the same. Keep your mouth shut and your head down, and do not complain. The NHS only want YES men. People with brains and thoughts need not apply.
What can we do about this before all the good hard honest workers leave their jobs and all thats left are the bullies and yes men.
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15-Oct-2009 10:57 am
This is a very interesting debate and I sympathise with your situation Elle - your manager sounds totally incompetent. But I have to say that I think it's wrong to demonise managers just because of their position. There's good ones and bad ones, just like nurses. We need them as much as they need us!
15-Oct-2009 10:38 pm
I can empathise with the issues raised here. I find the best way to deal with it is to keep a very accurate and comprehensive diary of all the incidents that occure, I sounds tedious and pointless, but I have found it comes in very useful. One of the problems with being bullied is that it can be very subtle and one sometimes does not realise for a long time that they are in fact being bullied. For example, 'covert' bullying will include unfair critisism , opinions being dismissed as unimportant, these and other examples will very often be delivered in a humerous way. (there so many ways to bully, too many to cover here) The victim will, over time, become distant from other colleagues and feel insecure and will not understand why. It is empowering,realy empowering, to finally realise that one is in fact being bullied, and that it is not something that is wrong with the victim themselves causing them to be unhappy. How to deal with it? The best way I found is to to keep the distance between oneself and the bullies, and even increase it. Yes, 'bullies', because once you recognise the bullying behaviour, you will often find that there are more than one of them. This occurs because if people in senior positions are bullie's, those lower down the pecking order learn from this and copy it, knowing full well they will get away with it because if managers can get away with it, why not them? Footnote. If anyone tries to tell to confront the bully and to talk to them and explain that their behaviour is upsetting you, BEWARE, they are probably a bully themselves. Bullies thrive on this tactic. It confirms to them that they are annoying you and all you can do, 'is talk about it'. It is increasingly recognised that conflicts ARE NOT resolved by talking alone. You have to have LEVERAGE over someone to make them change their behaviour, they will not do it of their own free will. If you cannot make them change, talking to them will only give them more ammunition to use against you, a bit like shooting yourself in the foot! Just think to yourself that you are a nice person, because bullies invariably pick on nice people, and that if all that makes them happy is being nasty to others, feel sorry for them, for their very sad lives. It works for me.
15-Oct-2009 11:53 pm
Quote " I then had my GP sign me off work as I was unable to work with him "
mmm...this is pretty symptomatic of the " I'm a victim " society that seems to be prevalent nowadays - if this option was taken by everybody working in the NHS who had issues with people they worked with then how many of us would be left actually doing any work ! What are the costs of this "sicky" culture to the NHS and Society as a whole ?
The term "bullying" is used indiscriminatly nowadays and just because a person cant change their contracted hours when they have had a child it cheapens the whole issue of "bullying" for those who truly are undergoing hellish conditions at work. Nobody ever told me to become a Father - I had a deep fundamental urge to be one for myself and I didnt expect the rest of Society to change itself to fit around me just because I had the privilige of becoming a father.
Location: Ashford Kent
16-Oct-2009 2:55 pm
I agree with you Phil - I can't not unfortunately, although I do think this manager doesn't support you Elle, I can't understand why his decision to reply with a "NO" couldn't be contested in writing whilst you held your head high working hard on the dept - doing the only thing he's is in charge of you to do - your job - and doing it well... how could he not give you the hours you've gracefully asked for? the leave your GP granted surely made things awkward on the ward?? I don't know, I'm more a person to tackle things (especially at work) head on and as a result don't get told "no" often... I can only agree that the "sicky" culture is costing the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds and in SOME cases it could be prevented if managers were slightly more up to date with HR policies (all round!) and staff felt more comfortable to approach their managers for help / guidance.
11-Nov-2009 4:24 am
Try the private sector to see what bullying really is. E.G.
- a nasty Managing Director feeling hot tells his staff he'll f**cking sack anyone who closes the window (he meant it & ignores everyone else who arefeeling cold)
- same MD tells his "nurse manager" to micro-manage one of the nursing staff so closely that she won't be able to take it & so will chuck in her job (he wants to get rid of her)
- senior nursethreatens that same nurse with reporting to the NMC for fraud. No evidence whatsoever but that doesn't let you sleep very well at night.
- Human Resources "person" blatantly lies to the nurses & the Rcn about what policies she's trying to implement. Candidly tells the responsible managersthat she has no intention of doing anything more than appearing to comply with the law.
These are merely the tip of an iceberg of bullying that is rife throughout this company. Why doesn't nursing have some way of identifying these cowboys & warning other nurses who might be stupid enough to apply for work with them?? Any suggestions??
11-Nov-2009 9:31 am
How can we hope to manage workplace bullies when the NMC, allegedly there to protect and support nurses, cannot manage itself and has clearly demonstrated over a period of time that is has no understanding of the issues? The incoherent and inept structure at its core does not inspire the confidence needed by people in a vulnerable position at work.
30-Nov-2009 4:22 pm
My career has been ruined by a manager who gave absolutely no support to me when i was being bullied as she gave her full support to the bullies and when i spoke to human resources i found my self being persuaded away from taking out a grievance against her. Things went from bad to worst as every time i tried to get on in my career i was stopped at every turn as it turns out its who you know not what you know as they are all mates together. When i went again to human resources and spoke to another wast of timers i was advised to may be find a job in another trust. So much for supporting those who are being bullied, especially when the trust say they wont tolerate bullies. They also say they are committed to equal opportunities what a joke, i could write a best seller on how they aren't.Well i could try. And as for the NMC i pay my subscription but what the hell for i ask myself. My constant bartering has now effected my health and i am now taking early retirement from a career i have always loved. I despair at what is happening to our profession, i miss the days of matron who ruled the roost, yes she was tough but we had great respect for her and she was fair. I have no respect for the so called managers who go around waving their fingers at all and sundry instead of rolling up their sleeves and helping as most are RGNS. This is my personal observation and I'm sure some of you have very good managers. I see on the news hospitals are number one topic again on poor care. When will any one in management realise that we need more trained staff on the shop floor to give patient the care they deserve instead of endless ques of managers.
30-Dec-2009 11:39 am
Sadly, this is so common that even if you alert the Chief exec, HR and the Board, noone wants to know!!! The bullies get awards and pats on the back as they 'duck and dive'....
There is a known culture of this bullying, everyone knows where and who but noone tackles it?? why??? When my colleague and I tried to maintain standards and ensure safety we were the ones picked on. I am not a victim but I have had to leave that post down grade and take a dent in pride as to what I have worked for, to ensure patient care comes first otherwise the situation will never change. Tried to do it in a senior position didnt work now trying in a different position. Therefore, covert bullying never gets to NMC....squashed by organisations who want to look good always but to the detriment of staff and patients. People try to whistleblow, take out grievances but then find another job elsewhere to get out of it and the procedures are dropped the bully wins again to pick on someone else.... is it the system or is it human beings?????
20-Jan-2010 12:59 pm
Get any f your colleague to witness what your manager is doing to you. Document and based on my experience I took the experience from other colleague and let them sign the petetion or complained letter. If it does not work from the Human resources bring it to higher trust and write a complain to them. This bulley managers should be remove from their post because they degrade the confidence of their staff woking with them and it will affect on giving a quality health care or the patient.
20-Jan-2010 6:32 pm
It is frustrating when you are told by employers that they want you to highlight bad practice so that services can improve . However when you do this you become the enemy and get little support from 'powers that be'.
You have gotten some sound advice e.g HR, keeping the diary and speaking to the union (preferably an officer not a local rep.)
I have seen over the years managers or staff in general who seemed untouchable and everyone was afraid to address their practice, one day slips up in a way that embarasses the Trust, then suddenly they are faced with suspension and investigation. It is sad when issues have to be left so long before action is taken.
4-Feb-2010 11:32 pm
I had the very same problem and the best piece of advice I can give you is to go directly to your boss and just tell him that you don't like being treated in a crappy way. Arrange a meeting with you and him and 2 witnesses and ask him why he treats you the way he does. keep a diary as has already been suggested and make him answer the questions.
Bullying managers are just numpties. If you are following all your codes of practice then you have nothing to worry about. The best way to solve any conflict is to just go to the person causing you the conflict and ask them why.
1-Jun-2010 11:11 am
I put up with a bully for over a year until she destroyed every bit of self confidence i had and i left. she was the senior ward sister, and my union rep, and had a long standing reputation for bullying. the matron said she could do little to support me as 1, this was the sisters 'way' and 2, the things the sister was picking on were 'legitimate' complaints. for eg, i couldnt manage the caseload, my time management was poor - yet when i raised these concerns myself before they became a target for her spite, she said she would whip me into shape. when i asked for support from the clinical
educator i was told id get to work a shift with her - usually weeks in advance - and then it would be cancelled as she always seemed to be teaching. when i did get to work with her, she commented on how good a nurse i was and that she didnt think i had a problem.
we were short staffed, hand over was poor (tape recorded!) and the patient caseload (many acute hepato-biliary med and surg pts) was very heavy for the staff ratio. the sister openly criticised me in front of people and i tried to fight my corner by standing up to her but i was never going to win. instead of supporting me, she actively victimised me, and senior staff just stood back and watched as they felt inadequate to help me for fear of her too.
i am now in a post where i am so happy and thriving, and my patients and senior staff are extremely happy with my work. i know it wasnt me who was a bad nurse, its just the bully who makes you think you are.
19-Nov-2010 2:46 pm
guess what, it's still happening. This manager is now telling his staff that if they take time off sick, they have to take it as time in luei (time they have worked extra and should be allowed to take as extra holiday). THIS IS ILLEGAL! also, a member of staff's husband is now working for the manager in questions private practice. At no cost to the department of course. Yet, after just a few weeks at college, the husband is working in the department and has clinics in which he is seeing patients. Oh yes, and being paid by the NHS. Someone has to stop these people getting away with it.
12-Jan-2011 10:18 pm
I have just had my case upheld to show I was bullied can i now ask that the bullier be moved to anther department or is that somone else s choice
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