Workplace Bullying

Connecting Campus and Workplace Sexual Violence

Image Credit: CHAD HIPOLITO/THE CANADIAN PRESS via Globe and Mail

Image Credit: CHAD HIPOLITO/THE CANADIAN PRESS via Globe and Mail

According to this discussion about sexual violence on college campuses, about 90% of incidents are not reported. A culture exists that discourages victims to step forward and report instances of sexual violence, and I assert that this culture doesn’t exist solely on college campuses. I believe that the 90% statistic would probably hold true in many work organizations as well. Tragically, while some schools at least try to have a functioning system that addresses these issues (with varying degrees of success), many businesses don’t have the framework in place to address sexual violence with the grace and empathy that victims may need. You can read more about this at The Globe and Mail

360 Reviews and Workplace Bullying

In my opinion, 360 reviews can very easily turn into workplace bullying. These kinds of reviews consist of anonymous feedback from supervisors, peers and subordinate employees, and this combination sometimes leads to perceived “payback” in the form of severe or unfair commentary. It’s a feedback mechanism used by thousands of organizations, and in toxic workplace cultures, it leads to vitriolic bullying most of the time. Read more about these reviews at The New York Times.

Art Credit: Jacob Reeves for NYT

Bullying: One Of The Greatest Risks To The Organization

I recently wrote a featured piece for Directors & Boards about workplace bullying's harmful impact on organizations. Here is the first paragraph:

Rarely a day goes by when there is not a story in the media about abuse of power, inappropriate behavior, and corruption and greed on the part of leadership in every segment of our society worldwide. Whether it is business, industry, government, military, police services, education, law, social services, health care, sports, journalism, media or religion, none have been immune...

Read the rest here!  

Emotion Revolution in the Workplace

Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, announcing the new initiative.

Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, announcing the new initiative.

I'm proud to announce a joint initiative with The Faas Foundation and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to create the Emotion Revolution in the Workplace. In order to build positive work climates, this groundbreaking initiative between business and academia will investigate the role emotions play in the work environment, including:

  • How employees feel about their work
  • Why they feel the way they do
  • The impact emotions have on individual and organizational performance, overall health, and well-being
  • How to effectively build positive workplace climates

"We are excited that The Faas Foundation has decided to partner with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to bring emotional intelligence into the workplace. Last year, we successfully launched the Emotion Revolution in school settings with the Born this Way Foundation, founded by Lady Gaga and her mom, Cynthia Germanotta. Now with support from the Faas Foundation we can launch the Emotion Revolution in the Workplace in order to promote psychologically safe and healthy workplaces for all employees," said Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

The project's mission is to empower employees at all levels to increase their engagement, productivity and wellness through identifying and reducing unnecessary stressors in the workplace. To accomplish this, the Emotion Revolution in the Workplace will conduct a survey of 10,000 employees across North America beginning May 2016.

The need for an Emotion Revolution in the Workplace is greater than ever before.  Gallup reports that 70 percent of American workers aren't engaged and a Stanford University study indicates that more than 120,000 deaths may be attributable to workplace stress. Up until now, it's been difficult for business, industry and politicians to gauge the perspective of the working class. Because of that it's been difficult to break the code in order to quantify the value of workplace culture.

By collecting anonymous data about these conditions, this initiative will be able to further the scientific understanding of how to effectively build positive and productive work climates and connect workers with the emotional tools they need to reach their potential and achieve healthy and happy lives.

Response to Maureen Sherry's NYT Piece

The behavior described in this article is appalling. Besides raising awareness about harassment in the financial workplace, a big takeaway from Maureen Sherry’s brave article is that continued indifference to sexual harassment in the workplace does just about as much for its victims as it does for the company – that is to say, indifference solves nothing. Victims of workplace harassment will continue to suffer, and corporations will continue to hand out settlements and have unmotivated employees. The idea of banning obstructive in-house arbitration is one way to help rectify some of the issues presented here – and something that governments should seriously consider pursuing. You can read Sherry's full article at the New York Times.

Art Credit: Jasu Hu for NYT

Response to Marcel Aubut Harassment Probe

The situation at the Canadian Olympic Committee did not need a costly inquiry into what is frankly a rat’s nest of a work environment to take action. Based on the timeline presented in this article, almost everyone at the job was aware of the sexual and personal harassment taking place. Even non-COC staff reported seeing abusive behavior on the part of former COC president Aubut – so the bullying was clear even to outsiders. He should have been removed sooner, in addition to others who engaged in harassment – many of whom are apparently still present at the COC. You can read more about the probe at The Globe & Mail.

Response to "Is Your Workplace Full of Corporate Bullies?"

This overview of workplace bullying, or “workplace incivility” as author Dan Pontefract puts it, is really helpful for diagnosing any harmful activity taking place in your workplace. In addition to the stats presented in the article on how bullying affects productivity, noted psychologist Heinz Leymann found that 95% of people who have experienced workplace bullying also exhibit signs of PTSD after incidents. The costs, both financial and human, of workplace bullying are too high. Check out the full article at Forbes.

Photo Credit: Thomas Ricker for Forbes

How To Tell If Your Boss is a Demanding Leader or an Actual Bully

Last month, I was interviewed for a Business Insider piece on determining whether or not your boss is a demanding leader or a bully. The main distinction is that a demanding manager is not out to be cruel to employees, but to criticize constructively for the good of the business. Read the article for my take on the difference between a boss who challenges and a boss who bullies, over at Business Insider.

Whistle Blower Retaliation

This is a classic example of workplace bullying being used as a strategy to minimize a potentially catastrophic issue, rather than working to fix problems with the help of whistle blowers. Nestle should have been supporting this whistle blower, using her information to make their food products safer, rather than resorting to frankly childlike tactics, like forcing her to sit in the back of a conference she was supposed to be leading. If she had been supported, they wouldn’t have to deal with yet another lawsuit that makes them seem irresponsible. Read more on this situation at The Economist.

Response to "You're Fired! How to Get Rid of Workplace Bullying"

This is an informative overview on workplace bullying. The ending suggestion that more focus should be placed on collective bargaining as a solution to workplace bullying does not address the full scope of the issue, however. First of all, while I’ve found in my research that 74% of workplace bullying is done by a manager onto a subordinate, the idea that all bullying is perpetrated by bosses is not true in every case. Secondly, business leaders should be asking themselves why their employees want to organize, and work to eliminate problems in workplace culture based on the answer to that question. Read the full article at The Guardian.