On #StandUpToBullying day, our HR Director, Paul Clayton, takes a look at workplace bullying - and how it can be tackled.
Last week, President Trump introduced us all to his circle of trust. At his first full cabinet meeting, he asked everyone present to introduce themselves. They chose to do this by showering the President with admiration and adulation. The press were then asked to leave. Take a look here; but be warned - its gruesome.
It’s extraordinary, really that in 2017, in the highest of offices, and in a global superpower, this behaviour exists.
Bullying subverts freedom of thought, action and expression. These freedoms are critically valuable. Slavery and servitude, manifestations of this subversion, are global problems. In 2016, the Global Slavery Index estimated 45.8 million people to be in some form of slavery, in 167 countries. The recent atrocities in the UK are also a form of bullying.
Bullying, a gross abuse of power, can persist over time in any community. Many organisations have a “zero tolerance” approach to it; with detailed policies and procedures to help and guide where it happens.
But there is another perspective. Policies and procedures are important, but they constitute “failure-demand”. Organisations (and HR professionals) who are ready really to critique their approach should consider a “value-demand” approach.
This is jargon, I know, but means that we should focus on the right values and embed them - rather than on bad behaviour, and reacting to that.
Compassion, forgiveness and respect are three values taught at my daughter’s school. Pupils, teachers and parents are all encouraged to use them as a “compass”; and to understand each other. Knowing our strengths, our limitations, and our de-railers, helps significantly to foster team work, cohesion and contentment.
At Capital, we are committed to an environment where people are encouraged to talk, knowing they will be listened to. We have trained colleagues as mental health “first aiders”, and have two leadership groups undertaking development programmes - principally designed to help our managers and future managers understand human beings. We believe that, to help others succeed, we must first understand each other.
There’s much to do, but we’ve accepted our responsibility. Each of us, and our clients, will feel the benefit.
We cannot, and will not, become the monster to defeat the monster.