Poor management skills have been blamed for the epidemic of workplace bullying after a UK survey found that two-thirds at managers believe that their own behaviour is the major factor contributing to the problem.
Research by the Ban Bullying At Work campaign and the Chartered Management Institute quizzed more than 500 senior managers across the UK about bullying in the workplace.
While poor management skills emerged as the biggest factor contributing to bullying, almost six out of 10 managers also pointed to authoritarian management styles (56 per cent) and personality (57 per cent).
Other factors mentioned included unrealistic targets (27 per cent) and failure to address incidents (37 per cent).
Asked what form bullying took, seven out of 10 managers mentioned misuse of power, two-thirds cited overbearing supervision and more than half (55 per cent) cited exclusion.
Lyn Witheridge, chief executive of the Ban Bullying at Work Campaign, pointd out that with a quarter of Britons saying they have experienced bullying in the workplace, bullying costs UK businesses £18 billion per year.
"We are challenging businesses to speak out against bullying to create workplaces where employees can see clearly that bullying behaviours will not be tolerated. We want to inspire managers to speak out and instill a culture where business is not frightened to stand-up to the bullies," she said.
Jo Causon from the Chartered Management Institute added that poor management is often at the root of the buying problem because staff at all levels lack the skills to tackle the issue.
"Not only do employers need to equip individuals with the ability to manage conflict, they need to create an open, empowering culture to ensure that the potential for bullying is minimised," she said.