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Friday, October 28, 2011

Do you think it is ok?

As well as being a super duper life coach, I also do some work in the Corporate World, primarily in the training and engagement arena.

For me, working in large corporate environments can be fun or bloody tragic - especially when I come across unhappy people, hating their jobs and quite often, suffering workplace bullying by their superiors or in some cases, their peers.

A recent study in the U.S showed that workplace bullying is now more common than sexual harassment, and over 37 million people in the workplace had been bullied at some time.

In my first role in Australia, I too suffered workplace bullying by a total knob of a man. I can laugh about this experience now but at the time, it is a different story. I felt undermined, confused and isolated. So what is bullying in the workplace?

Incivility: rudeness and discourteous verbal and non-verbal behaviors.
Bullying: persistently criticizing employees' work; yelling; repeatedly reminding employees of mistakes; spreading gossip ; ignoring or excluding workers; and insulting employees' habits, attitudes or private life.

Interpersonal conflict: behaviors of hostility, verbal aggression and angry exchanges.

So why, in the workplace does a bully get away with it? Are people so fearful for their jobs that they just stand by and let it happen to others? Are people allowing a workplace bully to walk all over them and take it because they have to pay the mortgage?

In a recent role in the Corporate world, I came across a situation where the bullying culprit was in fact, a very high up Director. Did anyone do anything about it? No. Even Middle management failed to stand up for their staff or intervene when the bullying appeared to make it's way down to their own direct reports.

I know I am on my high horse and many people have important reasons why they stay in unhappy job roles, but to allow this type of bullying to go on just saddens and disappoints me. When did it become ok to stand by and watch it happen to someone else without saying something? When did it become ok to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that it never happened? When did it become ok to make excuses for the bully in the hope that the complaint will 'go away'?

Personally, I applaud the whistleblower or the person who stands up to a workplace bully and says 'This isn't ok'. Surely we can't allow these behaviours to continue, nor can we allow ourselves to enable these poor behaviours by letting our own fears rule the show? As children I it is a hard situation to handle, but surely by adulthood, we’ve grown the ‘tackle’ to tackle this childish behaviour?
I know each of us has free will in whether we choose to stand up and complain, or whether we choose to suffer in silence, but please remember, sometimes we need to say NO - This behaviour is not acceptable and stand up for our own basic human rights as a human being, which includes being treated with respect and common courtesy.


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