Leaders sometimes as part of their duties can be forceful to ensure the teams and the organisational goals are met. Some as a generalization use aggressive behaviour as opposed to supporting assertive behaviour. In this case brought before the District court, it ended up costing the organisation just over $435,000. Yes, you read that right.
The employee claimed that the managers behaviour was “aggressive, belittling, harassing and or otherwise unreasonable ” at which point she suffered a psychiatric illness.
The employee brought a civil claim against the employer for being vicariously liable for the managers conduct. The employer had a duty of care to the employee. If the employee wasn’t performing to the position description, the manager had a number of avenues in which he/she could table the concerns in a manner which provided a space of fairness and safety.
The manager could have opted for a number of different strategies including:
a. Conflict management, pre-emptive, reactive (a number of different approaches)
b. Informal one on one meetings
c Formal one on one meetings (performance management process)
d. Coaching and or mentoring plans
e. Awareness training in; harassment, bullying, victimisaton and parts of the Fairwork Act
f. emotional intelligence/self awareness training
Not all cases like this will end up in a court room. Though, it does beg the question of “how does an organisation gets to a point where this occurs?” There would have been indicators in the build up to the event.
The effects can be far reaching such as poor productivity, poor quality delivery, poor engagement, grievances, higher attrition rates, general disharmony and bullying. This ultimately affects organisational culture and morale. If you work in Aged Care you maybe familiar with the Caplan study ’97 and the effects on its residents. These types of training for teams will cost far less than $435,000.
What are you waiting for?