You can’t watch the news recently without seeing stories of high profile individuals (celebrities, politicians and yes even corporate executives) being fired or stepping down from their jobs due to allegations around harassment. It is good that they have been called out, to be accountable, but perhaps they are only the symptom of a bigger problem. Some other symptoms of the bigger problem are bullying, racism, and harassment.
Turning a Blind Eye
Most of these situations deal with incidents that have gone on for many years. During that time, there were likely colleagues, supervisors, managers and friends that knew about the disrespect and unacceptable behaviour in some form or another. This is where the bigger problem lies. People become the keeper of secrets, or turn a blind eye.
If you look into your organization what are you leaving unsaid? Fear is a big underlying factor for many of us. Fear of:
- losing my job
- not being supported by co-workers
- Meddling in “someone else’s business”
These are valid concerns.
We as humans are built to be fearful. That was how we kept safe in our early days of inhabiting this earth. Fear still has its place; if you want to run across the street and a car is coming at you or you get that feeling of someone is up to no good. Fear can act as a deterrent.
When fear stops us from being compassionate, kind and brave we need to rethink it. What if we are the victim of disrespectful behaviour in the workplace and no one steps in to help us? What if it is our friend or our child experiencing this type of behaviour?
In our experience, the majority of people act respectfully, but are afraid to have a voice against the small percentage that act disrespectful.
Mark Twain said “It is never wrong to do the right thing” and sometimes the right thing is a very hard thing to do or face. The only way we stop disrespectful behaviour is to raise our voices and take action and bring light onto the situation.
By speaking up, we give others permission to do the same. Workplaces have policies in place but often fail in supporting them or following through to create the environment where employees feel safe to come forward with their concerns. Our work environment is no different than our biological system – we all have a basic need to feel safe and trusted. Once you have that then you can operate at a higher level.
When you create and foster a Respectful Workplace, some of the results we see with clients are:
- trust is built among colleagues
- morale improves
- turnover and absenteeism are reduced
- recruitment costs are lowered
Overall, these results have a positive effect on the companies bottom line and on the corporate culture.
What kind of environment are you creating in your business? What role do you have as a leader or in supporting your fellow employees? Do you sometimes unintentionally act disrespectful? Are you part of the problem or are you the symptom of the problem?
No matter your role in the company, you are responsible for your own actions.
Become part of the solution!
- Speak up – report disrespectful behaviour
- Support – those who are being disrespected
- Choose to be part of the solution
Latest posts by Corby Furrow (see all)
- Disrespectful Behaviour - February 8, 2018
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