Positive Organisation Behaviour – Focusing on Adaptability rather than Resilience.

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Positive Organisation Behaviour – Focusing on Adaptability rather than Resilience.

Most workplaces suffer from varying degrees of task-related or interpersonal bullying behaviour. Anti-bullying and discrimination policies are an essential start, but you need to support them with Positive Organisation Behaviour (POB). The focus should not be to force people to stop bullying and discriminating against each other at work. Encouraging a Psychological Safety Culture should be the ultimate goal of your Human Resource Policies integrated with your Work Health and Safety and Equal Employment Opportunity policies through Positive Organisational Behaviour

For a long time, the problem of workplace bullying has just been too big while discrimination has been addressed by preventative legislation. Recently, the primary coping strategy for bullying has been resilience training to enable employees to deal with the negative legislative protections of Reasonable Management Action and the resulting culture of interpersonal bullying acceptance created in Australia. While we learn resilience to adapt to hostile situations, it is only a stop-gap solution without resolving the broader issue of bullying in the workplace.

There are many reasons why organisations avoid action against workplace bullying, including the fear that past bullying practices have already exposed the business to the risk of litigation, which may be acted upon if employees focus on the problem. However, the reality is that an organisation’s past sins are protected by the legislative exemption of Reasonable Management Action in Australia. The problem created by this is that the damage to the organisation and people exposed to bullying has already commenced and before you can see any benefits of an anti-bullying culture, you need to heal the damage through organisation-wide training, counselling and mentoring.

Through training in the consequences of bullying, emotional restraint, emotional tolerance, conflict de-escalation, conflict resolution and fairness, organisations can use positive behaviour to encourage adaptability skills to thrive in an ever-changing business environment rather than focusing on the resilient acceptance of negative behaviour. These skills can encourage adaptability in response to both positive or negative business environments, providing an invaluable personal skill to benefit individuals in their future career advancement while inspiring creativity and innovation within your organisation now.

Two other important aspects of Positive Organisational Behaviour include conflict management and collaborative negotiation strategies. Both these skills help deal with task- related conflict including organisational practices and work direction. However, conflict management and negotiation strategies should never be used for interpersonal disagreements, where empathy and reconciliation are the essential remedies.

A well-rounded organisation-wide training program in Positive Organisational Behaviour will provide everyone with the skills to negotiate with fairness, restraint and tolerance in their workplace interactions and work direction.  To see how this strategy will work in organisations, we need only look at the successful implementation of positive behaviour in Australian schools through Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL). The introduction of Positive Organisational Behaviour in our businesses following years of Positive Behaviour for Learning in our schools can ensure that our children will never suffer the risk of workplace psychological harm that we have been exposed to during our careers.

Kevin Gilmore-Burrell LLB MBA

© Empathyse ® Anti-bullying Consulting 2020

Creating Positive Workplaces