Does crowdsourcing in the workplace destroy the bully mentality?

Most of us have probably seen bullying in the workplace up close and personal. Whether it has been directed toward you or you have just witnessed it, many of us can tell tales of people backstabbing, lying, clawing, pushing and bullying their way to the top. It’s not only painful to watch but also it’s frustrating to see them be placed in a position of power after finding out their true character. Once you’ve seen this happen a few times, it can be easy lose faith in other professionals, mainly because you expected more from them, at least in the workplace.

You can hope that these bullies will turn over a new leaf (or find a new job) but it’s a struggle for all types of companies, with all types of people, in all different places. So what is the solution to workplace bullying? Many have tried to curb it but it’s a very difficult thing to completely eradicate. However, one way to make a dent in it could be crowdsourcing in the workplace. By placing the power in the hands of the same people that are often bullied, it’s possible that the bullying that once made way to promotion could win someone the award for least likely to be promoted.

There are many ways to use crowdsourcing in the workplace but the most effective anti-bullying methods may be allowing peers to evaluate each other rather than a supervisor doing so and ultimately giving peer groups the opportunity to recommend which person should be promoted. Just as with many other good-intentioned initiatives, there are positives and negatives to consider before implementing it in your workplace. Take a look at these three positive and three negative considerations of crowdsourcing in the workplace:

Taking the power away from bullies

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When you allow many people at the same level to evaluate each other or choose who should be promoted, it takes power away from bullies who are in supervisory positions already. Playing favorites, choosing those with similar qualities and making a selection for the wrong reasons are eliminated when it’s no longer the sole discretion of a supervisor.

Bullying isn’t popular

Bullies will have a hard time winning over their peers with traditional bully tactics. After all, who would give a positive evaluation for someone who has consistently thrown them under the bus? Bullies can get creative in their tactics but the traditional clawing and backstabbing their peers won’t go over very well here.

Fewer bullies in power over time

Even if there are currently bullies in powerful positions, crowdsourcing could help with not putting others like that in supervisory positions. On the flip side, it’s likely that there will be fewer people who feel the need to display bullying if it’s not helping tehm get what they want.

Bullies can influence

While it is true that traditional bullying may not be productive in a crowdsourcing environment, people are creative and bullies can be manipulative. A bully may not be obvious in their backstabbing but they can influence others’ thoughts of them and their co-workers, manipulating the type of feedback they provide.

Popularity contest

Crowdsourcing allows the group to make the decision and unfortunately, it can turn out like a high school popularity contest. There is the hope that professionals will make decisions that will be best for them in their job and the company but this may not always be the case.

People don’t feel heard

As with any crowdsourcing, when people don’t feel their feedback is appreciated or utilized it can be detrimental. If you’re not ready to take action based on what employees say or you’re not sure how you’ll handle feedback, it’s best to hold off on asking until you have a game plan. Don’t let a good thing go bad by implementing a positive thing that ends up lowering morale when you don’t know what to do with what employees tell you.

What’s your biggest concern about implementing crowdsourcing to curb workplace bullying? Let us know in the comments section below.


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