In relation to my last post and a few other blogs that I follow, I thought I'd continue with this thought....
Where does the bullying come from?
In my line of work, we deal daily with people that have suffered a loss. A sympathetic ear and comforting words and actions, are what we do best. However, I have my secondary job in retail. Over the years I have seen many "bosses" come and go. Some are a pleasure to work for. Others you dread when their name is mentioned. What's the difference? How they go about getting their job done. They both have to set goals and try to achieve them. The first kind of boss will give you a goal along with the necessary tools to get to the desired results. The other will tell you what your goal is and expect you to get it done. Granted, you are hired to do a job and should be competent enough to figure it out. Where the trouble comes in is how it is presented.
We recently had a change in middle management in our company. The contrast between the old and new district managers (DM) is enormous. The new DM sends out emails that say things like "This MUST be done by Monday!" or "This is unacceptable!". While these statement may be true, I think there are better ways to get your team on board with your goals. We never received emails like that from the old DM. Both styles get the results eventually. But the fact is, we are now being bullied into getting the work done. If you ask me, this perpetuates. If you have someone yelling at you all day, you are going to go home and yell at your kids...." You have to mow the lawn!" or "Take that trash out!" The child then learns to yell at his/her friends to get whatever they want. And when someone doesn't fit with what they see as normal, they tend to call that to every one's attention.
In my opinion, yelling gets you no where. And an exclamation point in an email, constitutes yelling. So does ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. This style of management should not be tolerated by the corporate world. It is surprising to me that it is let go. It's an email. It can be forwarded to anyone and saved for evidence against you. Why do we put up with it? Because we let them intimidate us. We let them push us around.
This is a form of bullying. It's a grown up version, but bullying all the same. We should expect that the children will take what they learn from us and give it an immature twist.
Even our corporate policy on diversity at the store is forced on us instead of embraced. The fact that if you're "caught" saying something against someone you can be terminated, is a threat. Instead we should be taught by example. What I've learned, is that some people don't understand examples. If it's not a rule or a threat, than they just don't understand.
So, how do I cope with the bullying at work?
I apply my skills from my other job. I understand that these people are acting the only way they know how. I don't fight back. I show them "my way" whenever I can. It's rare that I make any noise and cause a commotion. And if I can effect even just one other person, then I have done my job.
Do we need to fire those at the top that are bullying us?
No. We need to show them there are other ways. By being that example, it's likely that we will go far. And if your company decides to side with the bully, then perhaps there's someplace better out there for your skills.
I believe that this is where bullying comes from. It's become so commonplace in our world that no one even notices it. And they don't see that our kids are learning it.
Email, text, tweets and any other electronic ways of communicating can be impersonal for those making the comments. It's rare that they would say something like that to your face. But for the person on the receiving end, it can be taken even harder than the spoken word. It can be read over and over until you actually start to believe it. It hurts.
Laws will not change this. We just need to stop teaching the kids that this is how to get things done.
Lead by example.