While we’re gearing up for a t-shirt decorating and sign-holding event in Providence today with the Rhode Island Healthy Workplace Advocates in preparation for Boston’s first annual bullying walk next weekend, it’s the perfect time to remind us all of our power to create change: by posting an event on our Action Team event page, you can:
- Spread the word about what workplace bullying is and why it needs to end.
- Mobilize advocates in your area to support each other and to feel empowered.
- Show legislators how much of a force is behind this cause.
There’s no better way to take back the power than to take action (if you’ve healed from the trauma of workplace bullying). You can:
- Host a gathering at your home to talk about what workplace bullying is and what you can do in your local area to spread the word about ending it.
- Hold signs while the weather is warmer and politics are on people’s minds. For less than $10, you can buy posters, markers, and some cocoa and pick a high-traffic corner in your town to stand on for a couple of hours.
- Get creative. Come up with another easy concept to bring people together and spread the word.
We’re behind you 100%. You have our full support to take action to help make history. All you need is a couple hours and a partner. We’ll even post the event on Facebook for you to help spread the word.
Advocate Torii Bottomley speaks with another advocate at the “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” display at the State House.
Legislation usually takes multiple sessions to pass. As the 2015-16 legislative session closes, let’s take some time to reflect on how we progressed the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill this session:
- Third Reading. The bill made it to a Third Reading in the House – a major accomplishment given the thousands of bills introduced each session. The Third Reading is a major milestone in the process. Once the bill reaches a favorable vote in the House Third Reading in future sessions, we have a great shot at getting the bill passed.
- Legislative sponsors. We gained a record 58 sponsors this session, up from 39 in the previous session and 13 in the prior session thanks to your calls, emails, and visits to legislators.
- Advocacy. The State House debut of Torii Bottomley’s “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” jumpstarted a flurry of activity. Advocates protested in Ashburton Place, Harvard Square, and Davis Square. They also flyered several commuter lots, including at Worcester’s Union Station, the second display of “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying.”
- Supporters. We’re up to 20 official organizational supporters, including the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the National Association of Government Employees, whose lobbyists push the bill in the State House.
- Media. While “workplace bullying” gets more and more attention in such outlets as Alternet and Fast Company, WGBH reporter Craig LeMoult covered the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill and the “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” display this spring.
- Opposition. “The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) — a powerful corporate lobbying presence — and a small group of ultra-conservative state legislators opposed the HWB. You know you’re making progress when the opposition comes out of hiding,” said professor and bill author David Yamada last session. An AIM executive weighed in on the bill in WGBH’s piece this session.
So how do we make the next session better than this one to get this bill passed?
- Share suicide stories. School bullying didn’t become legislated in Massachusetts until tragedy struck. If you’re aware of a suicide due to workplace bullying in Massachusetts, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll check in with families of targets, and with their approval, let legislators know their stories and how urgent the need is for legislation.
- Get a group of people to visit the State House to speak with legislators. Get your co-workers or former colleagues to visit legislators to ask them to support the Healthy Workplace Bill.
- Make advocacy happen. Have an idea for advocacy? A skill? An audience? An event? A contact? Rather than question why we haven’t done an idea, realize your own power. Make it happen. We’re all volunteers using the skills we have to further the cause and make change. We need your skills and time to further change. Email us at email@example.com with how you can help.
“So many social movements leading to legal reforms — the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the LGBT movement, to name a few — have been fueled by people who have experienced injustice and abuse,” said Yamada. If you’re ready, speak out about your workplace bullying experience to heal and help prevent others from experiencing workplace bullying if enough people stand up and legislators pass the bill. If enough of us say ENOUGH, we’ll make history and move the needle on workplace cultures just like sexual harassment law did.
Advocates protest in Harvard Square with targets, scars, and bruises on them.
A jerk boss can be just as harmful to your health as secondhand smoking says Buzzhearts’ “Study Reveals That A Bad Boss Can Make Employees Sick.” Like smoking, the longer you deal with a stressful boss and feel like your job is at risk, the greater risk you have of damaged physical and mental health.
Harvard Business School and Stanford University researchers connected the levels of stress at work to the health harm caused by exposure to a considerable amount of smoke from other people’s cigarettes.
How to recognize a jerk boss – and cope
Think you’re being bullied at work? Learn the signs, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute:
- You attempt the obviously impossible task of doing a new job without training or time to learn new skills, but that work is never good enough for the boss
- Surprise meetings are called by your boss with no results other than further humiliation
- Everything your tormenter does to you is arbitrary and capricious, working a personal agenda that undermines the employer’s legitimate business interests
- Others at work have been told to stop working, talking, or socializing with you
- You are constantly feeling agitated and anxious, experiencing a sense of doom, waiting for bad things to happen
- No matter what you do, you are never left alone to do your job without interference
- People feel justified screaming or yelling at you in front of others, but you are punished if you scream back
- HR tells you that your harassment isn’t illegal, that you have to “work it out between yourselves”
- You finally, firmly confront your tormentor to stop the abusive conduct and you are accused of harassment
- You are shocked when accused of incompetence, despite a history of objective excellence, typically by someone who cannot do your job
- Everyone – co-workers, senior bosses, HR – agrees (in person and orally) that your tormentor is a jerk, but there is nothing they will do about it (and later, when you ask for their support, they deny having agreed with you)
- Your request to transfer to an open position under another boss is mysteriously denied.
We’re teaching targets what not to tolerate at work: what bullying behavior looks like, what health problems it causes, and what workplace bullying does to productivity. But what happens when a well-intended manager doesn’t want to bully but just doesn’t know what healthy management looks like?
Meet Elevates.org – a brand new site built that helps answer the question “how do we create healthy workplaces?” It’s the next step in the healthy workplace movement. Says the website:
Empowering great people yields great results
Studies show that a work environment built around respect and dignity contributes best to an organization’s bottom line. We aim to engage in conversations about what it means to lead and work in a healthy workplace and move the needle on creating positive working environments as part of the healthy workplace movement.
We want to elevate employees and businesses. They both deserve to win.
It’s all about empowerment. It’s a philosophy used in branches of therapy and on passing the Healthy Workplace Bill – helping advocates realize they’re the experts of their own lives slowly brings them out of despair and into confidence and happiness. The same approach works with employees: those who believe they’re on a winning team and can contribute to it simply work better because they’re happier and making a difference. Empowerment is a win-win for an organization and employee.
Elevates.org needs contributors: human resource experts, business consultants, and experts on employee empowerment. If you know someone who has the expertise to contribute to the conversation, ask him or her to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help bring workplaces to a new level by promoting healthy ones.
No matter the experience, education, skill, personality, or contribution to an organization, every human should have basic rights. Every worker should have a right to feel:
- A sense of belonging. Workers should have a right to feel like we are included in an organization and part of a team.
- Valued. Workers should have a right to feel like our contributions have worth and importance.
- Respected. Workers should have a right to dignity and have our human needs and individual strengths and weaknesses honored.
- Healthy. Workers should have a right to feel strong. We should have a right to work in environments that promote well-being.
- Accomplished. Workers should have a right to information and resources necessary to do our jobs well so we can feel productive.
- Supported. Workers should have a right to feel heard and receive appropriate responses when we voice concerns.
- Fairly treated. Workers should have a right to reasonable expectations and similar standards for our colleagues.
- Empowered. Workers should have a right to have power and control over our work for confidence and strength.
- Part of a greater purpose. Workers should have a right to play a meaningful role in the reason our organizations exists.
So we keep going.
The time is now for healthy and productive employees.
The name of the game in business is to make money. Increased productivity helps business owners make money. So how do employers make you happy and productive so they can increase the bottom line? Learn these five ways from Margaret Jacoby’s Huffington Post article “Top 5 Ways To Motivate Your Employees (It’s Easier Than You Think).”
If your employer is just a name, you won’t feel connected to the organization. But if she communicates frequently and shows appreciation face-to-face, you’ll feel more valued.
2. Serve as an example
If she doesn’t lead by example by working hard and behaving professionally, she can’t expect you to do the same. But if she shows excitement for the company’s goals, you’re more likely to do the same. “Good moods are always infectious — especially in the workplace,” says Jacoby.
3. Empower you
If your employer gives you authority to make more decisions and a say in how you do your job and how you can improve your performance, you’ll work harder. But she can’t just ask you. She has to implement at least some if not all of your advice.
4. Give you goals
You need goals — a place to advance to — so you have something to work for. You need training for more skills and grooming for better opportunities.
5. Give you incentives
Incentives like extra paid time off, cash, and gift card help you feel appreciated.
If your employer doesn’t treat you well, don’t settle. Find a new employer. But if your employer does treat you well, you’ll stay, work hard, feel part of something bigger, and help make everyone more money.
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?