From the Classroom to the Workplace

It’s amazing how many people are affected by bullying. Bullies come in different forms, but they all share similar characteristics. In one of my recent visits to a primary school I was amazed when I stood in front of 150 students and asked for a show in hands from all the kids who get bullied. More hands than I would have liked were raised. ¬†When I asked how many kids bullied other kids I was amazed to see some students actually raise their hands.

As I started speaking to the crowd I knew I had their interest. I shared a few stories to ensure them that everyone, no matter who they might be, has been affected by bullying. It happens in school, in athletics, in the neighborhood, and even at the workplace.

Bullying in the workplace can create an unbelievable amount of morale problems. If it isn’t properly addressed it can gain speed and create a disaster. I’ve seen it first hand. When the bullying begins most people will complain, but nothing will be done because of fear. The fear of the bully or what might happen if a complaint is filed becomes the primary concern of the person affected. Eventually the person loses hope, gives in, and takes on the same qualities as the bully so he or she will become accepted. At that point the acceptance leads to more power for the bully. Once the above scenario takes place it splits the employees down the middle because sides are set and the line in the sand turns into a cavern.

Trust is lost and respect goes with it. As the bully gains more control he or she will continue intimidating others in order to achieve more power. If enough employees recognize the problem they will begin falling like flies. The people who leave are the ones who decide it isn’t worth the fight to expose the issue. The people who challenge the intimidator become a target because the bully cannot mentally handle if someone doesn’t buckle under their pressure.

I’ve witnessed this many times, but never more than the last few years. It’s a shame to watch such good people cave in because they lose all hope. It’s even more of a shame to see people leave their jobs because they can’t handle the unprofessionalism of others.

If you encounter this type of thing in life make sure to stand up for yourself and remain confident. Confidence will carry you through many things including petty stuff like this that sometimes demolishes even the best of people.

Although the weather has been horrible this week the longer hours of daylight are a sure sign that spring is on the way. With spring comes new growth. I’m ready to grow and sprout new leaves.

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