"mot·ley" - Pronunciation Key - [mot-lee]
–ADJECTIVE: 1. exhibiting great diversity of elements; heterogeneous: a motley crowd. 2. being of different colors combined; 3. wearing a parti-colored garment: a motley fool.
–NOUN: 1. a combination of different colors. 5. a parti-colored effect. 6. the parti-colored garment of a jester. 7. a heterogeneous assemblage. 8. a medley.


A Modest Proposal for Curing Workplace Bullying

Below is my replyto a comment on an article about Workplace Bullying over at hrcapitalist.com. What makes it unique? My suggestion for handling bullies at work.

"Matt, love your "Few Good Men" quote. About your E-staff comments, would add that I have seen more of what most people consider bullying coming from the Executive-level staff (proportionate to the number of E-staffers) than from any other level of the organization. The ultimate and perhaps only cure for workplace bullying is the person at the very top. If the top person is a bully, forget about curing bullying on any level, though you might have some one-on-one successes. If, on the other hand, the CEO is someone who knows bullying when s/he sees it and knows how to respond to it appropriately, and is actively involved in preventing it, your culture won't tolerate it and will react appropriately in the few instances where it occurs.
Back in grade school, the Principal knew what bullying was and he did not tolerate it. Instances of bullying were confronted by the man at the top, and bullies were dealt with rather harshly (this was the 50s and 60s before social insanity set in at the government schools). Replace "Principal" with "CEO" and you have a sound basis for an effective anti-bullying policy and culture. 
On a related note, here's something from the HSE world I have used when that function reported to me. When you have a firm case of bullying, require the bully(ies) to appear before the CEO or the Executive Council to explain him/herself (we required people who contributed to the cause of serious injury accidents, as well as their supervisors, to do the same). Explain that further such behavior means automatic dismissal if they are at fault. Fly them to headquarters for the meeting if necessary. That usually gets their attention, and it has a powerful influence on the culture. Takes it out of the realm of an "HR issue" and reframes it as not just a culture, but an "Organizational DNA" issue. You cannot penetrate the head until you change the heart.