While we want the Healthy Workplace Bill passed, we’re also changing the common way of thinking about employees — that employees’ mental well-being matters. We’re not just saying that a bill needs to pass. We’re moving the needle, each one of us, one by one, to say that mental health matters at work. We’ll look back on this movement and think how absurd it is that workplace bullying is allowed — just as we think not allowing women to vote was absurd.
There’s been recent talk and action from experts on the Healthy Workplace Bill to take the issue to an anti-workplace bullying movement level.
Imagine workplaces based on mutual respect. Places where people can contribute and feel valued and important. Where workplace bullying isn’t acceptable, but growth and support are. How do we get there? What might the roadmap look like?
Let’s take a look at other social ills: murder, rape, domestic violence. At first we deemed these problems to be problems, then made them illegal. We looked at how to help victims and families of victims. Then the conversation went deeper. We started asking more questions: how do murderers become murderers? What motivates a domestic abuser? How do we prevent crimes from happening in the first place? Aside from accountability through law, what tools do we need? Here is a possible next step in the road toward healthier workplaces:
Analysis of the bully AND the target. We have insights about what types of people get bullied at work: highly competent and highly ethical. Maybe even those who had a bullying parent. But what about the bully? Is it simply insecurity that causes bullying? Or psychopathic tendencies? Or family modeling? Or a combination? More research can help us understand both the target and the bully and move the conversation from mostly how to deal with a workplace bully to more on what makes a workplace bully and how to prevent it.
What are your ideas for the next step in the healthy workplace vision?