An insightful and rich conversation with Linda about understanding and speaking out about psychological harassment and bullying in the workplace.
How can we change the conversation in organisations ?
How can we move away from normalising this to creating awareness and action ?
We must self-monitor, and have self-insight, be aware and respectful of our environment and peoples’ sensitivities, and learn what the triggers are for both ourselves and others.
This deepened understanding of ourselves coupled with further access to understanding the topic itself can create allies as opposed to bystanders.
Linda shares her stories, experience and insights from working with bullies and victims of bullying in organisations and communities across the globe.
The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :
– Anyone can be bullied, and it is often only once they become physically and mentally ill that they see it for what it is and ask for help – it is unfortunately very normalised in our society and the metaverse adds yet a further dimension.
– Bullying – usually aimed at race, background, gender, religion – can be one-time or repeated whereas harassment is never one-time, but is more insidious, passive aggressive and often behind closed doors.
– They involve a variety of negative behaviours, words or non-verbal actions over three months or more aimed at a group or individual with conscious or unconscious intent that cause harm, i.e. humiliation, embarrassment, diminished self-esteem.
– People must understand what is and is not banter/appropriate; we must self-monitor, self-understand, have self-insight, be aware and respectful of our environment and peoples’ sensitivities, and learn what the triggers are for both ourselves and others.
– There are different types of bully – psychopath, narcissist, sociopath – who come across attractively until they are called out, but most people are not hard-wired to be bullies and can change their ways.
– Authoritarian leaders who abuse their power, are mean, rude, sarcastic and not accountable for their behaviour set the wrong tone – bullying comes from the top and contaminates the environment.
– There can be female bullies in a female-dominant environment and male bullies in a male-dominant environment but also cross-contamination e.g. a female trying to behave like a male, and sexual harassment can be perpetrated by and towards both genders.
– Everyone should be given trauma-informed training to build awareness and prevent further injury – using (crisis) intervention and special resources – with leaders acting as role models. The issue is often not taken seriously due to fear, insecurity, disinterest, arrogance and ignorance, but avoiding it can impact reputation.
– It is not just an HR issue and should be standardised and professionalised (via an official association) – we need strong legislation against bullying to hold leaders to account; policies and procedures for zero tolerance and consequences for bad behaviour.
– Witnesses are critical if harassment/bullying is behind closed doors, but they are often reticent to speak up because they have seen the process fail before, and the damage it causes. They need a support system to feel safe and should document everything for credibility in an investigation.
– A large proportion of burnout is due to psychological bullying and is often seen in hard-working, ethical, skilled and well-liked people; workaholics, overachievers or those defined by their work are also prone to bullying/burnout/greater devastation.
– We should check our own work-life balance using self-insight to ask if we are bullying ourselves; we need a tangible framework, must take explicit care of ourselves and outwardly demonstrate this to others.
– We must ask organisations about their policies on workplace harassment and violence, how they protect their employees and what the attitude of their leaders is – they can often come across well initially, but we can be easily fooled.
– We should know our own leadership style and aim to lead with emotional intelligence – dispel myths, assumptions and stereotypes; look at research; be informed and aware; know about the human experience; seek support; and introduce legislation to create change.