In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, rather the silence of our friends.Martin Luther King Jr.
I’m all about empowering the individual, whether it’s in the classroom or the workplace. At the same time, I believe those of us who are protected by privilege or just lucky enough not to be the target of another person’s bullying (mobbing), we owe it to others and ourselves to unleash our inner Superhero, without rendering harm to anyone and effectively neutralise the situation.
This month’s newsletter is for the men and women, girls and boys, who want to be the superheroes in their lives!
A book I recently read, The No Asshole Rule, shows how to build a more civilised workplace, or survive one that isn’t. It’s a provocative title for a reason. One of the UK-based research statistics from the book says that 45% of people who are the targets of, or witnesses to, bullying, leave their jobs!
As my sister Sheila says, “let’s do the math”…
If we take an organisation with 1000 people, and 25% of the people who are bullied leave, with a replacement cost of $20,000 (EUR16,000/GBP14,000) per person, that’s a cost of $750,000 (EUR606,000/GBP522,000) per year. If there is an average of 2 witnesses to each bullying behaviour (and often there are far more than just 2) and 20% of those witnesses leave, then that is another $1.2 million for a total replacement cost of almost $2 million (EUR1.6 million/GBP1.4 million) per year for an organisation of only 1000 employees.
The #MeToo and #Time’s Up movements have brought to the forefront the importance and responsibility of the bystanders who witness inappropriate behaviour of any kind, whether it be verbal, physical or sexual.
The challenge is that few, if any of us, are trained how to appropriately intervene in a way that can neutralise a situation without causing harm to ourselves or others. There is research which recommends not engaging with the aggressor, and supportively accompanying the target (victim). This may be exactly the right intervention.
The following video is an example of a situation I suddenly found myself in as a bystander to physical aggression. What you’ll hear from listening to me recount the story are the 4 steps I used, which I believe can be applied in different situations to help neutralise similar bullying/mobbing behaviour. What’s important to take into consideration is that whatever approach you choose it does not escalate the situation.
The 4 steps were…
1. I showed respect to the aggressor
2. I asked the aggressor to stop, I didn’t tell him to stop (this allowed him to feel empowered)
3. I did notlecture the aggressor on right or wrong
4. I spoke slowly and calmly (because it’s hard to fight in slow motion)
Mastering the Partner behaviours (through consistent training) will make them accessible to you in even the most stressful situations, granting you the power to be a Superhero in your world!
See below in Success Stories for even more information this topic.