Earlier we looked at some of the signs that indicate you might have a bully in your Project Team (Bullying In The Workplace). But once you’ve confirmed there’s bullying going on, what can project management team members do about it? If the bully is the leader of the team, affecting their behavior will likely be difficult. You may also be hesitant to raise the issue with someone in a position to fix the problem—the bully’s boss, for example—for fear of reprisals. There are other options, though, that may help your project management team address the situation in a positive way.
Get HR involved. Employers today typically won’t tolerate any measure of bullying in the workplace, so bringing an HR rep into the conversation may be the best way to resolve the situation. They’ll work with the bully to modify and improve their behavior, and may also be able to address issues the problem has caused within your Project Team. Be sure to pull together several examples of the bully’s problem behavior ahead of time, to help illustrate exactly what’s going on.
Establish alternate communication channels for stakeholders. Help project supporters and end users avoid the bully by designating a point person for these folks to contact with project questions or concerns. Beware that this may not be an option in those cases where the bully has purposely made themselves the sole communication conduit into and out of the Project Team, as they’re unlikely to relinquish such a powerful, visible role.
Create new opportunities for team building. If one person’s domineering behavior is hurting group morale, take the time to schedule some activities designed to pull folks back together and rebuild trust. Even a simple team lunch can work wonders. Plan something offsite, and keep your intentions quiet so the bully doesn’t catch wind of it and show up.