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Mistreating an employee can affect the whole staff


Small-business owners need to show appreciation for their staff, and those who don't are risking not only affecting the employees who are subject to the behavior, but also surrounding staff members who are witnesses to bullying in the workplace. According to a recent study conducted by Paul Harvey, associate professor of organizational behavior at the University of New Hampshire, his research colleagues Kenneth Harris and Raina Harris from Indiana University Southeast and Melissa Cast from New Mexico State University, abusive supervisors could be a detriment to their entire workforce.

Leaders who bully could leave long-lasting effects
Abusive behaviors such as ridicule, public criticism and the silent treatment, are just a few of the ways small-business owners can be mistreating their staff. These actions are known to leave an imprint on their staff long after those in the leadership role partake in such activities. The research outlined how bullying could lead to job frustration, abuse of other co-workers and a lack of perceived organizational support, not to mention litigation from employees who feel as though they have been mistreated. The thought of such lawsuits demonstrates why firm owners should always invest in small business insurance.

"Although the effects of abusive supervision may not be as physically harmful as other types of dysfunctional behavior, such as workplace violence or aggression, the actions are likely to leave longer-lasting wounds, in part, because abusive supervision can continue for a long time," said Harvey.

Smart management tactics start at the top
While it may be the business owner that is ridiculing employees, it is important for them to learn that mistreating people in the workplace can cause a trickle-down effect throughout the entire staff. According to the study, co-workers will begin to abuse others if they are mistreated by their higher-ups. Small-business owners need to create a culture of respect within the company and reprimand employees if they see any instances of bullying or mistreating occurring within the bounds of their firm.

"Our research suggests that vicarious abusive supervision is as likely as abusive supervision to negatively affect desired outcomes, with the worst outcomes resulting when both vicarious abusive supervision and abusive supervision are present," the researchers said. "Top management needs further education regarding the potential impacts of vicarious abuse supervision on employees to prevent and/or mitigate the effects of such abuse."

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