10/19/2015 01:02 EDT | Updated 10/19/2016 05:12 EDT

Are You a Small Business Boss Who Stands up to Bullies?

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If you're an entrepreneur trying to get a small business off the ground , you're most likely going to be employing staff at some point. You may think that how these people interact isn't your concern, but if you want your business to succeed, you have to pay attention to the interpersonal dynamics in your small business.

You need to ask yourself, what kind of boss are you? Are you hands-on, laissez-faire or a micro-manager? Do you have your finger on the pulse of your workforce, or do you occupy yourself with what you consider to be "more important," business-related issues?

Are you a boss who's aware of the bullying that may be happening in your workplace right now? Do you realize the toll it could be taking on workplace morale and productivity?

I've noticed that often, bosses themselves are intimidated by the bullies in their workforce. They fail to protect those being bullied for fear of how the bully will react. They don't want to get on the bad side of such an aggressive, unreasonable person.

Sometimes, the boss is very busy, and feels that they just don't have the time or energy to put into dealing with interpersonal conflicts. They figure that the individuals involved will sort it out on their own, or they delegate the issue to a more junior manager. But this attitude is incorrect.

Here's the deal. Once you started your small business, you became responsible for creating a work environment that's conducive to productivity. When you sit by and do nothing, or allow others to resolve these problems, you're not doing your job as a boss.

A small business is more dependent on a good leader, as there's more of a direct connection between each employee and the boss. In a small business, everyone looks to you as a role-model and as the person who inspires them to do their very best.

The problem with not dealing with a bully is that such a person creates an environment of fear that undermines productivity. People are far more likely to perform sub-optimally, call in sick more frequently or quit altogether, and I'm not only talking about those on the receiving end of the bullying.

Workers who witness bullying find it highly disturbing, almost as much as if they were experiencing it themselves. It can't help but affect the quality of their work, and the emotional investment they have in your business.

A boss who allows bullying to continue unchecked appears disinterested, weak or uncaring, and loses the confidence and trust of all their workers, which further lowers productivity.

It would be far better for the morale of the team if you were to deal with the bullying rather than avoiding confrontation. If you're uncomfortable interacting with such individuals or unsure as to how to approach them, there are many useful resources available today. If you're extremely busy, delegate other tasks and prioritize this issue.

Perhaps your HR department can help you; maybe you can call on a business coach. However you go about it, it's essential that you face the problem and stop the bullying before it has an even more negative impact on your workforce.

A good boss is a strong leader. A strong leader doesn't allow one member of the team to bully another, or one small group of people to terrorize another individual or group. When these things happen, a toxic workplace is created and your business suffers.

It's the responsibility of every boss to eliminate all instances of workplace bullying. If you want to be respected as a leader, and if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you must demonstrate your leadership skills by dealing appropriately with any bullying that happens at your place of work.

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