We’ve encountered many people in this journey who don’t realize their personal power. We can spot them quickly because they see a problem or opportunity and instead of just doing, they say things like:
- “You should….”
- “This needs to be done….”
- “I don’t have time….”
- “I’m busy….”
We’re ALL busy, we all have the same amount of time in the day (it’s a matter of priority), and if we see an opportunity, it’s not someone else’s job to do it. It’s yours.
With these ideas in mind, here are tips to follow so we can all move forward together — with respect and dignity (since that’s what we ultimately aim to promote):
- Use the term “we,” not “you.” People like to use the term “you” when they don’t feel ownership. But changing the culture is everyone’s responsibility. We’re a team. Use the term “we” instead of “you” to show you want to move forward together and that you understand ending workplace bullying is as much your responsibility as anyone else’s.
- Pitch in. I’ve spent years blogging, posting, sign-holding, making connections, organizing meetings, building and updating a website, creating petitions, getting videos created, talking with reporters…. Yet some people ask me to do more. I always ask “can you do it?” That’s when the excuses begin. This movement can’t progress without everyone who’s healed pitching in. If you see a need, don’t ask for permission. Do what you think needs to be done (enlisting help if you need it, of course). It’s no one else’s job but yours (and no one owns this movement).
- If you don’t have a skill, go find it. We all have ideas we don’t have the skills to execute. But this movement is built on planting seeds and building our base. Have an idea? Go out and find someone who has the skills to execute it. Get them on our team.
- Educate yourself. Don’t know what we’re already doing but have an idea? It’s your responsibility to find out. Ask questions. Do your homework on our website and Facebook page. Understand what’s already happening and why before offering suggestions. It’s your responsibility. Never dictate with “you should.” A campaign to uphold dignity and respect gets built on dignity and respect.
- Make time. A lot of us have full-time jobs (including looking for a job, which is a full-time job), families, friends, groups we’re involved with, and plans. We are ALL stretched thin. Never use being busy as an excuse. What you’re really saying is “I have the same amount of time as you in the day, but it’s not a priority for me.” It’s not a fair approach. Granted some have more time than others, but most people have some time to do something (if you don’t, devote time to taking care of yourself or your other priorities instead of getting involved). Always offer what you’re doing rather than what others can do out of respect for them.
- Let go of the fear. Fear is likely at the root of holding you back. Some of it’s perfectly valid (like being in a job with a bully and not wanting to get retaliated against for working on this bill). But most fear is rooted in thinking you can’t do. We’re here to tell you you can. Your bully boss lied to you about what you’re capable of because he or she was intimidated by your competence. Don’t tolerate it, but take it as a compliment that you’re more than capable. Don’t believe the lies. Need proof? Start doing. Start taking action on this bill. You’ll see how fast your confidence comes back.
Let’s move forward together and build momentum that’s already rapidly increasing — with respect and dignity. You have that power.
“It’s common knowledge that politics in America are quite polarized. No longer do politicians pretend to want to solve social problems with social policy. Interactions between politicians are characterized by ad hominem attacks. Politicians seem to mimic the personalized nature of bullying,” says the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) in its 2014 instant poll. No truer are these words than with the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath.
Some oppose WBI’s comparisons, asserting that WBI should stick to workplace bullying and stay out of politics. But is politics really a different field of employment? When NFL player Jonathan Martin called his professional football team an “abusive work environment,” was the NFL exempt from responsibility for employee harm, even though the NFL itself defined its locker room as a workplace where discrimination laws apply?
When the WBI asked 307 bullied targets and witnesses if bullying by politicians of politicians or citizens is as harmful as workplace bullying, 87 percent of respondents said yes, always. In other words, “the community of bullied targets does not grant exemptions easily…. Bullying and abuse are the same regardless of venue,” says the WBI, even though some say that “politics is a special type of workplace, immune from social codes and restrictions that apply to everyone else.“
The world changed on November 9. Regardless of how you voted, we can likely all agree on a few takeaways from the election that will help us further anti-workplace bullying legislation:
- The ideas of dignity and respect now have the nation’s attention. The election put bullying in the national spotlight and made bullying tactics crystal clear — during the debates, in speeches, and on social media.
- So does narcissism. We saw what narcissism, the root of workplace bullying, looks like: lack of accountability, belittling, and lack of empathy. Yet empathy is vital in addressing differences and collaborating.
- People are ready to act now more than ever. Those against the election results realize they need to act to preserve social progress and demand the culture we fought to live in. A friend said “don’t give up. Never give up. Be kind to each other, look out for one another, for those struggling. Don’t tolerate hate in your community. Now more than ever. Become a more active supporter of causes important to you. Sign petitions, donate money, volunteer time, contact representatives. As Patti Smith said, people have the power.”
What we can do to keep the dignity and respect conversation going
- Use #empathyalwayswins in all of your election postings. Let people know you demand empathy, not narcissism, in our culture.
- Hold signs. No matter where you live, buy some posterboard and a marker and hold signs in your area against workplace bullying. People are paying attention to the dialogue right now.
- Demand that all conversations about the election be respectful and promoting dignity. Keep conversations focused on dignity and what happens without it.
- Call (more than email) your legislators about workplace bullying and other issues important to you. We have insight that legislators get inundated with emails. But they ignore a phone call.
We can pass anti-workplace bullying legislation. And we will.