Abuse of any kind involves boundary crossing. Abusers can selfishly take without asking, including your kindness, patience, and need for respect.
But targets aren't helpless. In her Psychology Today article "If you set a boundary, expect to deal with anger," Susan Biali M.D. says that "in most cases when our boundaries are crossed, we’ve allowed it. As a child, we may have learned to allow it because we were helpless and depended on the big boundary-crossers for survival. But as an adult, unless a situation is extreme, we usually participate in the violation of our own boundaries by failing to properly defend them."
So what do we do when we were raised as children to accept boundary crossing, maybe from a parent or sibling? How to we begin to defend our boundaries? Says Biali:
I remember a few years ago, when someone wanted me to make a major change in my plans in order to accommodate their plans. My plans had been in place for months, they had just...
A few years into my advocacy for workplace abuse legislation, I co-led a small business. I quickly realized that knowing what not to do didn’t necessarily translate well into what to do. What were best practices for bringing out the best in employees? How could I work to help workers feel fulfilled and strong? What did I need to gain self-awareness of to prevent a toxic culture? These questions led me to dive into what it took to create a healthy workplace.
The toxic culture
In his book The Bully’s Trap, Andrew Faas dissects the cultures that lead to abuse in the first place. He says that in toxic cultures, employers see employees as expendable. When employers consider workers a means to an end rather than associates, that’s exploitation. Here are some key factors in a toxic culture:
If you think workplace bullying is a bigger issue than managers often suspect, you’re right. Research supports that workplace bullying simply often goes unreported but it’s still happening. In their Employee Rights and Employee Policy Journal article, Researchers Loraleigh Keashly and Joel H. Neuman said a study of the VA healthcare system, the VA Project, showed a gap between those who experienced workplace bullying and those who reported it their experience to a supervisor. “Of the people identified as being exposed to bullying behavior (36 percent of the total sample), 53 reported their experience to a supervisor. An even smaller proportion (15 percent) filed a formal grievance.”
Possible reasons for not reporting bulling behavior at work:
We may know how to recognize bullying at work. But to create a more compassionate culture, it’s not enough to identify what’s wrong. If you were thrust into a leadership position yourself, would you know how to create a positive culture for your employees?
If we look at management effectiveness on a continuum, we put effective management (using empathy, humility, teamwork, respect, and empowerment) on one end and ineffective management (abuse) on the other. At various points along the continuum, we’d have some positive tactics (consistent communication, celebrating wins, honoring employees’ expertise) and some negative tactics (micromanagement, pulling rank, ignoring issues, positioning above grunt work, denying employees opportunities without explanation).
The bottom line
Regardless of whether or not bosses lead well 100 percent of the time, we can watch their actions to understand their underlying management philosophies. The bottom line is...
“Educators experience workplace bullying at a much higher rate — more that three times as high — than other workers,” say researchers in the newly published 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey, released by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Badass Teachers Association. This year, 830 AFT members, educators in two New York school districts “where educator unions have built strong collaborative labor-management practices on the quality of their work life,” and an additional 4,000 educators responded to their 30-question survey.
Most educators surveyed reported that their schools have workplace harassment policies prohibiting bullying, yet bullying still happens at a high frequency. Stress from workplace bullying is compounded by large workloads, feelings of having to be “always on,” a lack of resources, changing expectations, deficient building conditions, equipment and staff shortages, and...
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