My answer to What is the difference between bullying and a "reasonable management instruction"?
Answer by Desmond Last:
When you have an oversupply of labour mistreatment of the workers can increase. I was a supervisor for short while at DHL in Bicester. One morning without any notice 30 Polish workers arrived. Some could not speak English.
It was a Health and Safety problem as some of them could not understand any urgent Safety Instructions. I can also see how they could easily be bullied.
One of the consequences of Economic Liberalization has been the mass movement of labour without any consideration to its effects. Consequently bullying in the workplace has increased as workers are sometimes too afraid to object.
Migrant workers are particularly at risk.
There have been times when I have had to issue instructions that have been contrary to the views of the employees.
I always say to myself if the roles were reversed would I react the same way.
Never issue an instruction unless you know it can be carried out in a professional manner.
The most important delivery form of an instruction is to be polite, calm and explanatory.
Shouting and yelling will only further inflame the situation and cause anger or fear.
The main difference between the instruction and the bullying is repetition. Constantly seeking to order a person what to do in an over-assertive manner whilst knowing that the person is feeling intimidated, would be how I would describe bullying.
Bullying comes from the top not the bottom. The culture of your company will determine if bullying takes place or not.
If bullying is taking place it can be because the CEO has not got it on his agenda or because he is rude and abrupt.
That can set a tone which affects the behavior culture of the whole company.
CEO’s should view themselves not just as minders of the profit and loss but also as the standard bearers of the companies morality.