Workplace bullying and abuse requires everyone to participate in changing the environment that they work in. As long as everyone is willing to allow the bad or unacceptable behavior to continue, then we are all responsible for it happening.

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When we advocate this responsibility to someone else to handle, like HR or management or whoever we are bascially saying it’s someone else’s problem.

For example one day a work, while I was having my lunch in the lunchroom, another co-worker (I’ll call him Brad) was swearing using profanity with other co-workers and then gets on the phone with his brother to say “We have to get in the game, even if we have to lie and cheat to do so.” I am thinking what kind of morales does this guy have? After the call, he hangs up and says to his buddies that he has a very high IQ brags about how intelligent he is.  After about 5 minutes of this, I had, had enough I certainly didn’t need to keep listening to his language and try to enjoy my lunch break.

I turned to him and said, “If you are so intelligent could you please tell your mouth to quit swearing, I don’t need to listen to this on my lunch and I am sure no one else is interested either.” Of course, I was the only person willing to speak up. Anyway, he said, “Maybe.”

In the days following that event, Brad and his buddies would talk loud and still swear once in a while when I came into the lunch room.  I would look at him and shake my head. What is up with that? I guess I embarassed him in front of his buddies or co-workers.

Shortly, thereafter someone must of spoken to him about his language and behavior at work because he is actually pleasant to be around. Do we have conversations? No, it was a better and calmer room.

What are you willing to do about bullying or bad behavior in your workplace or community? Speak up and confront the person or ignore it and hope it goes away? It won’t go away, because as long as the person, or persons think that they can do it they will continue to do it.

I sense some of us will continue to say something to the person/s to confront the bad or not acceptable behavior and the other percentage of people will ignore it, thinking it’s going to go away. Here’s an interesting first look. (this was in Fast Company March 2007)

A book written by Robert I. Sutton February 2007 wrote a book The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t.”

Sutton is a Stanford professor who counsels people on surviving jerks at work and taming your own inner jerk. Here’s a excerpt for his book: “A company decide that in addition to warnings and training it was time to quantify the incremental costs of Ethan’s bad behavior and deduct it from his bonus“.. the estimated costs were:

Time spent by Ethans direct manager: 250 hours valued at $25,000

Time spent by HR professionals: 50 hours valued at $5,000

Time spent by senior executives: 15 hours valued at $10,000

Time spent by the company’s outside employment counsel: 10 hours valued at $5,000

Cost of recruiting and training a new secretary to support Ethan: $85,000

Overtime costs assoicated with Ethans last-minute demands $25,000

Anger-management training and counseling: $5000

Estimated total cost of asshole for one year: $160,000

How about this view point or theory: The people around us just show up to show us in how we treat ourselves, whether it is good or bad.  Our inner jerk needs to be forgiven.

Have any comments? Please post them.

Until next time

MLHarris

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