18th August 2016

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Ed Smith
Chair of Not-Monitor, or whatever it's called.  In conversation with Roy L
Good conversation, networking and a glass of wine.  What's not to like!  Tickets are slipping away!  Get yours.
All our business
News and Comment from Roy Lilley
The dogged Roger Kline has written an article about bullying.  It's here, in the Guardian.  I sense his frustration with every hammer of the keyboard.
You really would think, as an employer, focused on the care and wellbeing of the nation, the NHS might have learned the knack of looking after its staff.
Kline reckons bullying in the NHS is endemic.  Something like a quarter of staff report having been bullied.  If you've never thought about how serious it can get, look at these case studies.  We seem powerless to deal with bullying. 
Advice on performance or a thinly veiled threat?  The workplace is no picnic.  It can't be.  It is pressured, demanding and can have a way of sapping energy like nothing else.  But, that doesn't mean it has to be a war zone.
I deal with workplace bullying in my book; Dealing with Difficult People.  There are some extracts here.
What might be more fruitful is to think about what turns the average manager into a bully. The answer probably lies in the word 'average'.  A manager under pressure to deliver is very likely to turn into a bully if they see it as the only way to deliver.
The nub of the issue; managing-up and bullying-down.  The need to deliver upwards, for the boss, can lead to creating intolerable pressures 'down' igniting bad behaviour in the quest to get the job done.

When talent, skills and experience fails, bullying steps in.
If the boss's boss is a bully, the boss is likely to be a bully.  Ever heard; 'Don't bring me bad news!'  It's a sure sign some bullying is on the way.
When finances and resources are short, demand is high, and there are pressures to deliver ludicrous demands from regulators and to get the Board and the press off your back... the toxic cocktail explodes.
In the NHS bullying is endemic because managers neither know, nor are trained to deal with the pressures they operate under.  It's no excuse but it is the context of the workplace.  

I'll wager most managers reading this won't be able to remember the last time they went on an internal management development course.
The bully is the equivalent of the drowning man.  Drowning not waving.  Barking, not leading.
Workplace bullying is counterproductive.  Far from improving performance it simply chokes it off.  The more the pressure on inadequate management; the greater the risk of bullying, the greater the likelihood that organisational performance falls off and the added probability poorly equipped managers reach for the only tool in their box... more bullying.
Can we stop it?  There is a simple question that all managers in a position to delegate tasks and deadlines can ask that might help.  It is; 'How will you achieve this?'
Of the answer is 'don't ask' or 'you don't want to know'... then you have a problem.  You do want to know and you should ask.  Do the plans look realistic and achievable?
What do we do when it all goes wrong?  I think, the wrong thing; grievance procedures are an inappropriate way of dealing with bullying.
The procedures oblige victims to relive the trauma of being bullied, often many times over.  The person handling the grievance can be the bully, or a colleague of the bully.  The bully manager will have friends in the organisation and can influence procedures before they begin.
Bullies are often liars and will deceive their way through grievance procedures and protract them.  Often union reps are poorly prepared and trained and are no match for the weight management can put behind proceedings.
At heart all bullies are cowards; they want to hurt but not have a fair fight.  Bullying is cruel, stains the workplace and the reputation of the NHS.
The law won't stop it, neither will grievance procedures, nor tribunals but together we can.  We have to find better ways to work together in a pressured workplace.  Bullying simply creates more pressure. 
By listening, learning and sharing what works we can come through this overstretched and anxious period.  By shouting, intimidating, ignoring the facts and pretending we can go-it-alone and problems don't exist... we won't. 

Bullying is all our business.   
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 ...and takes me to task about dropping targets and going back to clinical priorities.
He asks; 'which one is God?'
Excellent must read
26th Sept Kings Fund  5.30pm.
Ed Smith 
Chair of Not-Monitor 
(I must find out what they are called!)
Great evening in prospect.  He has a huge experience and a raconteur 
Plus the usual wine and networking. 
Tickets here
Dr Rodney Jones
Hospital Deaths and Length of Stay 
The Story of 'zero-day-stay'
This is an exciting must read
This is what I'm hearing;
if you know different,
tell me here
>>  I'm hearing -Birmingham CCGs are planning huge merger to cover 1.2m population.
>>  I'm hearing - Harlow's Princess Alexander hospital has pulled the rung on their home service provider OrlaHealthcare.
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