This is one of the recommendations from the ‘individual’ section of the RCOG/RCM undermining toolkit.
What to do if you’re the manager/leader and need to support or performance-manage victims or perpetrators
- Don’t shy away from dealing with individuals whose behaviour is unacceptable. The Illing report clearly identifies a laissez-faire style of leadership as a key feature of some departments where a culture of bullying and undermining exists. Similarly, authoritarian and hierarchical leadership styles can foster and perpetuate such a culture. If your department has a problem, first ask yourself whether your behaviour is contributing to the issue.
- Ask for support if you need it. All departments and trusts will have well-established processes for dealing with these issues. HR will be able to advise you or a more senior manager if you are unsure how to proceed.
- A key decision will be whether the issue can be resolved informally or if the incident merits a more formal approach (assuming the victim wishes to pursue the matter formally).
- Use the wider support service available within your trust/hospital and Local Education Training Board (LETB) to refer on individuals. For trainees, every deanery has a professional support unit who can access counsellors, coaches and mentors. You can also access information via the health education website for your area
- In some trusts, such input is available for all staff. For midwives, the supervisor of midwives can be a valuable ally and the Head of Midwifery often holds the responsibility for both midwifery and gynaecological nursing staff.
- If you have an issue with more widespread reporting of bullying and undermining in your department, read the section on departmental interventions, which provides a plethora of ideas about potential interventions and solutions.
References and further reading