Drive For Performance or Bullying? It's a fine line...

Episode #245 // I’m a vocal advocate of strong leadership: the need to stretch people to achieve extraordinary performance, with a single-minded focus on value creation (bearing in mind, of course, that value comes in many different forms: it’s not just financial results).

Recently, we’ve seen two cases from opposite sides of the world in which the stated drive for improved performance has resulted in serious allegations of bullying.

The first, is Dominic Raab, the UK’s Deputy PM, who was forced to resign after allegations of bullying were raised by some of his public sector departmental staff, and the second is an unfair dismissal lawsuit brought by a former employee of Myer, Australia's largest department store chain. 

Each of these relies on interpretation of the events on which the allegations are founded. And even though it can often be a case of “he said / she said”, in both these instances there’s no shortage of witnesses. 

But did these cases genuinely involve bullying, or were they simply examples of strong leaders managing people who weren’t doing their jobs to the required standard? 

I begin today’s episode with a little revision on what strong leadership really is, and then I unpack these two specific cases to examine the fine lines that sometimes exist between performance drive and bullying.

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