Category Archives: Workplace Mental Health
“It’s all about the bottom line.”
That’s what traditional, old-school, top-down hierarchy leaders have told their people for decades.
With the tectonic changes in the world and work landscape that occurred in 2020, 2021 seems to have placed permanent importance on two other factors that leaders need to focus their energies on.
A perusal of over a dozen leadership articles of what to expect in the coming year seems to overlap on these two major areas.
Those two areas are Employee Well-being and Leadership Trustworthiness.
Heading into 2020 leaders were starting to gain a broader awareness of employee health, particularly mental health and being aware of workplace bullying. During the initial onset of covid-19 and beyond, that awareness took a broader scope with work-life balance in a remote setting, having engaged staff that feel connected and supported from afar, and ensuring a flexible schedule to juggle concurrently the demands of home and work.
Employees whose well-being is not being addressed will look to leave their companies, and more directly, those leaders, for better options based on the lessons we learned and witnessed took importance from the prior year.
Additionally, the polarization of social and political issues and the engendered erosion of trust in leaders across many institutions have created a void in which leaders must work harder to prove themselves to their people. Employees will most likely have to be reassured repeatedly over time that one’s leadership and agendas are truly authentic and aligned with the greater good of the people as well as that of the organization.
Leaders who rule by fear and other hierarchical power-over methods will find those methods, their people – and possibly their very own jobs and careers – less secure.
As the future of business and leadership move forward into the future, the net bottom line will be forever changed. The numbers at the bottom aren’t just what will drive companies. It will be a three-way metric of profitable growth, employee well-being and leadership trustworthiness that will dictate the sustainability of any organization. And the measure of it’s leadership as well.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. And while it’s easy to reduce our thinking of this to mere playground bullying between children, statistics about workplace bullying will change your mind.
A Monster.com survey in October 2019 found that nearly 94% out of 2081 employees said they had been bullied in the workplace. That’s a huge increase (19%) in the last eleven years.
Over half (51.1%) in that survey said they were bullied by a boss or other leader. The methods used included aggressive email tones (23.3%), coworkers’ negative gossip (20.2%) and someone yelling at them (17.8%).
Another recent study shows differing, yet still alarming statistics:
- Almost 72 percent of employees report being bullied themselves or have witnessed other employees being bullied
- Some 65 million U.S employees report being affected by workplace bullying
- 93 percent of adult Americans support a law outlawing generalized bullying in the workplace
Workplace bullying refers to repeated actions aimed towards employees meant to insult them. Actions like this pose a risk to employees’ health and safety.
There is a difference between bullying and aggression. Aggression usually involves a single act. In contrast, bullying behavior involves repeated actions against a target.
It is a current pattern of behavior.
Bullying at work involves an abuse of power. Intimidating, humiliating and degrading an employee are behaviors of bullying. It creates a feeling of helplessness in the bullying target.
The overlap of definitions between workplace bullying and workplace violence, according to OSHA, are becoming more congruent. It very much aligns with the domestic definition of emotional abuse by a spouse and domestic violence. The similarities are striking, and concerning.
Several studies have confirmed a relationship between bullying, on the one hand, and an autocratic leadership and an authoritarian way of settling conflict or dealing with disagreements, on the other. An authoritarian style of leadership may create a climate of fear, where there is little or no room for dialogue and where complaining may be considered futile.
Just because bullying is common doesn’t mean it’s normal. This is unacceptable behavior and it should not be normalized.
Work Shouldn’t Hurt: Take Action
If you’re being bullied or witnessing it at work, don’t silence yourself and don’t let it continue. Document the bullying actions, and report them to your supervisor, or to HR if your supervisor is the perpetrator.
If HR or your supervisors won’t help, it’s best to leave for a better organization where a bullying culture is not tolerated, not matter how well the bully performs her or his job.
Bullying has been a concern linked to mental problems, stress, and suicides throughout the world.
Workplace bullying can take an enormous toll on your mental health. In addition to anxiety, depression and turning to substance abuse, workplace bullying strips another human being of their dignity. If you find yourself having health issues or behavioral or emotional trauma, it’s best to seek professional help to get you on the right path to bring yourself whole again.
Workplace bullying is a behavior that is allowed to happen when people create a culture to manipulate the perceived benefits of a few over the common good of all. It’s time to call it out for what it is and enable your organization to change – either by removing the bully’s behavior or removing good people from them to better workplace cultures and promoting a more civilized way of work.
A few years ago, the NBA changed its rules and replaced the “20 second timeout” (which actually lasted about 60 seconds) with a more consistent timeout structure to benefit the pace of play and fan experience.
It was a good move on their part to replace it.
However, it may be a better move on our parts to implement it.
In our time-starved work cultures, for the time it takes to wash our hands properly, 20 seconds can be immensely beneficial in a myriad of ways.
Let’s consider the benefits to taking 20 seconds:
- Time to breathe deeply and relax
- Time to stretch and stand
- A quick recollection of thought process
- Necessary time to read an email in context (especially the body of the email)
- Time to quell emotions before an email reply
- The ability to ponder a difficult analysis
- Shooting off a quick text to encourage someone
- A chance to look over your goals or dreams and re-inspire your purpose
- A harbor of time to pray or meditate
- Being thankful for what you have
Imagine the impact on our attitudes, perspective, relationships and harmony of life if we implemented a “20 second timeout” in our daily routine.
It’s time we all can afford.