Bullying Has No Place in a Healthy Workplace

You may have read that Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick announced his resignation recently. This followed months of chaos and revelations of a bullying and toxic corporate culture at Uber. Corporate culture can have a major effect on people so there is a real need for organisations and managers to focus on promoting two very important qualities – they are dignity and respect for everyone while at work.

It stands to reason that the health of any corporate culture can affect productivity. If the culture is toxic, it can be hugely detrimental to those caught up in it. When an organisation has robust procedures and zero tolerance policies against bullying in place, this will go a long way towards deterring bullies. When there are signs of stress levers such as intimidation and harassment at work, management should deal effectively with them. Having said that, it’s often difficult to identify the early signs and symptoms of bullying.

To understand this better, we need to ask ourselves –
• How does bullying behaviour manifest itself in the workplace?
• Why does one person regard a particular behaviour as bullying, while someone else sees it as tolerable, simply indicating a dominant attitude (even if such an attitude may be unwelcome)?

 

Bullying behaviour can be overt or covert

Bullying behaviour relies on a wide range of tactics – overt and covert. Disparaging remarks or criticism made by colleagues or managers can have harmful effects on an individual at the receiving end. This individual then feels their professional competence is being called into question – and it’s undermining their work.

Overt tactics can include public rebuke for alleged errors made by an individual in their work. Covert tactics can take the form of circulating rumours or gossip appearing to question an individual’s ability. These tactics can also be expressed as inaction.

For example, failing to acknowledge or approve work that’s been done well. Or omitting to ask for someone’s opinion, when that someone is clearly best qualified to comment.

You can recognise bullies, because typically they –
• Make unreasonable demands on their chosen target
• Shout at victims publicly, as a deliberate tactic to disempower them
• Give instructions which they then change for no apparent reason
• Allocate tasks which they know are beyond an individual’s ability
• Block promotion by refusing to give fair appraisals
• Fail to endorse pay increases or bonus awards, though fully earned
• Exclude an individual from discussions germane to their work responsibilities
You may well have observed some of these behaviours happening in work situations yourself – sadly, they’re not that uncommon.

How does bullying affect people?

People who are bullied at work often feel they’ve lost control, and they’re no longer able to carry out their duties efficiently. They try to regain the semblance of normality – but frequently this is unsuccessful. After a while, people who’ve been bullied may become tense, anxious, prone to emotional outbursts, and behave un-cooperatively. Worse still, the stress that bullying causes often leads to minor illnesses, such as headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and fatigue. When people experience stress over time, this can result in more serious health problems – for example, very unpleasant conditions such as ‘burnout’.

When they’re being subjected to bullying, people are often reluctant to discuss their experience for fear of reprisal or further intimidation. Talking about it may be seen as a ‘black mark’ against them that could damage their career progression. Most victims of bullying have two main aims – they want to keep their job and they want the situation to return to normal.

What actions can an organisation take to prevent bullying?

• Introduce policies to counteract bullying and harassment
• Train HR people to recognise the signs and symptoms of bullying
• Carry out stress and culture audits to identify ‘hot spots’
• Focus on developing soft skills
• Mediate between ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’
• Ask a question such as ‘Have you ever experienced bullying in this organisation?’ during exit interviews

What you should remember

• Bullying behaviour is always unacceptable
• Your people may need to be taught how to confront bullies
• Anti-bullying policies should complement your organisational culture

With over 25 years of providing training, mediation and consultancy in the field of workplace bullying, contact us if we can help in any way: info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk

 

 

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How to cope with trauma

We are living through extraordinary times, the like of which we have never before experienced in the UK.  Our emergency services and hospital teams sweep into action after each atrocity to offer assistance to the injured and comfort those who suffered the ultimate loss.  For those who lost family members or sustained life-changing injuries, the road ahead is long and painful.  At first, people will remember the victims but, as time goes by and terror campaigns targeting innocent victims continue, names will sadly turn into statistics.

Traumatic events in the workplace

However, you don’t have to be caught up in terrorist attacks to feel the effects of trauma. It could be that simply watching the news brings reminders of a time when you experienced trauma yourself. Trauma may be brought on by events such as an accident at home or at work, a robbery, a fire, lay-offs, death in service, threats, violence, or natural disasters such as floods.

What can an organisation do?

Nothing can adequately prepare organisations or individuals for the occurrence of a traumatic incident because, by definition, such incidents are outside ‘normal’ experience. However, research shows that the way an organisation treats its staff in the aftermath of a traumatic incident can have a profound effect, not only on the recovery of individuals directly involved, but also on their colleagues and families. Individuals may be traumatised by a disaster for some time afterwards and during this period their productivity and commitment to the organisation can be drastically reduced. Managers may find themselves having to play a key role in managing a situation which might ultimately be more damaging to the organisation than the original event.

The nature of trauma

Anyone who has been involved in a traumatic incident is likely to experience some form of reaction to it. Such reactions may happen immediately or they may not occur until weeks, months, or sometimes years afterwards.

Staff are more likely to be badly affected if:

  • There were fatalities and/ or injuries during the traumatic incident, and these were sudden or violent
  • Individuals experience feelings of guilt, wondering whether they could have done more to help the injured or could have prevented the incident from happening
  • They lack adequate support from family, friends or colleagues
  • Stress arising from the incident comes on top of existing problems that are unrelated

Emotional reactions

An individual’s emotions are likely to be in turmoil after an incident, although some people may not feel anything. Amongst the more common reactions are:

Irrational guilt for having survived when others did not

Anger at what has happened, or at the injustice or senselessness of it

Fear of breaking down or losing control and being unable to cope

Shame for not having reacted as they might have been expected to

Sadness at the deaths and injuries of colleagues

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

People are very likely to find that they are unable to stop thinking about the incident. They may experience disturbed sleep, suffer loss of memory, concentration or motivation. They may experience flashbacks and hate to be reminded of what happened, or may always have to be on their guard against a repetition of the incident.

Physiological reactions

Individuals often experience reactions such as tiredness, sleeplessness, having nightmares, dizziness, palpitations, shaking, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the throat and chest, sickness, diarrhoea, menstrual problems, changes in sexual interest, changes in eating habits, and many other symptoms. Frequently these may occur without any conscious connection being made with the incident.

Resultant behavioural problems

Individuals may be hurt following the incident and their personal relationships, particularly with their partner, may be placed under additional strain. They could find themselves taking their anger out on family, or emotionally withdrawing from close contacts, just when they need them most.

What can be done to help?

Nature often heals by allowing feelings to emerge naturally, enabling people to want to talk about them. This should be encouraged if the opportunity arises.

Talking to a trained counsellor is often beneficial and can reduce much of the tension and anxiety. Trying to ignore personal feelings or avoiding having to think or talk about the incident, in the belief that the individual can cope, is usually counter-productive in the long run. Suppressing feelings can lead to problems being stored up which can create even greater difficulties.

When to ask for professional support

People who have experienced a traumatic incident should be encouraged to seek professional help if they:

  • Experience chronic tension, are exhausted or depressed
  • Continue to have nightmares, are sleeping badly, or have flashbacks
  • Have no-one to share their emotions with
  • Think their relationships seem to be suffering or sexual problems develop
  • Start to be accident-prone, or their work performance suffers

It is important to encourage individuals to remember that talking about their experience can help. Suppressing their feelings, on the other hand, can lead to further problems in the future.

With over 25 years of providing support in the field of trauma and post traumatic stress, contact the Carole Spiers Group if we can help in any way:  info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk

http://www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk/trauma-support.html

 

'Show Stress Who's Boss!' provides tools and strategies that will show you how to deawl with stress.

Discover 4 Easy Ways to Beat Stress Today!

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Changing Times Demand Positive Leadership

Following the result of the UK general election, Theresa May will possibly need to re-evaluate her management style to quell a leadership challenge and ensure that the Brexit negotiations run smoothly.  Mrs May needs to exhibit strong leadership that will be an exemplar of determined action that motivates and inspires members of the Conservative party. Party members will be seeking direction, purpose and most importantly, reassurance and confidence.

Most organisations will be affected by the inevitable changes that Brexit will bring to the UK.  Uncertainty is endemic and it is therefore imperative that leaders need to be visible, available and above all to be able to communicate openly with their workforce.  It is during these times that managers must offer their teams a focus that is clear and an anchor that is strong.

Change brings uncertainty. However, it affects everyone differently.   The challenge facing leaders and managers is that different people take dissimilar timescales to arrive at the acceptance point of change.

Emotions may run high but it is the leadership role to stand apart from emotional responses and to concentrate on the situational facts.   Employees will seek direction and reassurance and managers will need to understand the differing impact that change can have.  No two people will be affected identically and reactions will differ accordingly. It is essential to appreciate these fundamental facts to manage change effectively. Continue reading

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Do You Believe in ‘Happiness Hours’?

Happy people are the most productive

Happy people are the most productive

I totally endorse the new initiative from the Dubai Health Authority in introducing ‘happiness hours’ for hard working employees who complete their tasks to a high standard: the reward being that they will be allowed to leave work three hours early once a month.

Of course, the key to employee motivation with increased performance and productivity is dependent upon excellent management initiatives and good communications.

Provided that leaders appreciate and value their teams, then they will find they have a more engaged and inspired workforce who will always give of their best.

Phrases that increase performance and productivity

However, often the challenge is that many managers rarely know how to give praise and, therefore,  a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘you’ve done really well and I appreciate that’…is rarely said.

      'Thank you...','I appreciate what you have done','Well done'...

If managers bring this language into the average working day, they will find that they will have happy workers with enhanced engagement and increased productivity.

On the other hand, where employees feel like they are merely ‘a number’, then all the ‘happiness hours’ in the world will not help!

We know that managing people is not easy. If leaders don’t have the necessary vital communication skills, then they need to be trained to develop this skillset as part of their leadership portfolio.

Communications is key to a successful business! To motivate its workforce, the DNA has to train its managers, at all levels, to recognise that the company’s most important asset is its human resource.

Book Carole as a Motivational Speaker Now!  She will deliver a charismatic, high-impact keynote presentation at your next conference. 

Contact us: info@carolespiers.co.uk or call

+ 44 (0) 20 8954 1593. www.carolespiers.co.uk

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Great Success on National Stress Awareness Day

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Author of Show Stress Who’s Boss

We are now at the end of the 2016 National Stress Awareness Day campaign where we had a great turnout from the International Stress Management Association [UK] regions and also from around the world.

We are still gathering in all the data together but it was difficult to keep track of all the media coverage including OK magazine; the Director journal; the Daily Telegraph; Radio BBC Scotland, Dilse radio and 5 Live –  to name just a few that reported on NSAD activities.

During a 30 day period, the NSAD twitter hashtag had over 180,000 tweets and retweets and the hashtag was trending for some hours on Twitter on the Day. Our Facebook page doubled its LIKES and our LinkedIn page increased its reach.

                        "Well done team NSAD."

With countless events being organised and delivered by members and non-members alike, 2016 was certainly a year to remember. Continue reading

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The Impact of Losing concentration

work stress, keynote speaker, how to deal with stress, anxiety, stress symptoms, signs and symptoms of stress, stress free, Show Stress Who's Boss!, carole spiers, stress management, stress & anxiety, symptoms of stress, stress management techniques, stress-free, stress symptoms, de stress, wellbeing, mental health

4 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

‘I keep losing focus’, complains Noreen. ‘I wish I could concentrate better’, says Abdul.  Do you hear yourself sometimes saying this?   There are so many things to think about that you just cannot seem to be able to concentrate properly, any more.

Concentration is the ability to focus upon one thing at a time.  This is not necessarily an easy skill to develop and retain as life, for all of us, has so many disruptions.

Multitasking:  Some of us pride ourselves on being able to do more than one thing at a time but the chances are that instead of doing one task really well, we actually manage to do a number of tasks not so well. The reason being that trying to do too much contemporaneously usually leads to poor performance or mediocre outcomes.

Distraction and Boredom:  You cannot concentrate properly until you stop yourself from being distracted!  Now this might seem very obvious but we can fail to take the requisite action to either remove the distraction from us or to remove ourselves away from the distraction. Continue reading

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Letting go of a Friendship

work stress, keynote speaker, how to deal with stress, anxiety, stress symptoms, signs and symptoms of stress, stress free, Show Stress Who's Boss!, carole spiers, stress management, stress & anxiety, symptoms of stress, stress management techniques, stress-free, stress symptoms, de stress, wellbeing, mental health

4 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

Research shows that relationships are central to our health and wellbeing and can be one of the most rewarding aspects of our life.   There can be nothing more important than having someone to whom you can speak, and to know that they care for your welfare.  Friendships can permeate your life and have an impact on your career, marriage, family, children and health – they can enrich your existence every day.

However, for a friendship to work, there has be a balance between the two parties – not one person having their needs met whilst others are overlooked.

Of course, not all relationships prove to be long-lasting.  Unfortunately, there are instances when a friendship can turn sour and instead of it bringing happiness into your life, it deteriorates and starts to do more harm than good. Continue reading

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Building Virtual Relationships

Find out how to deal with stress

4 Proven Steps to Beat Your Stress!

 

I am a firm believer in the value of face-to-face communication. However, over the past few weeks, I have been impressed by a story of hope and support – that has resulted from an on-line relationship.

A tragic life change

Johan is a handsome, 24 year-old male client of mine who was a landscape gardener.  He was referred to me by his doctor after a serious car accident that has left him unable to walk and only able to move about in a wheelchair.  The challenges ahead of him are great.  He has had to give up his work, which has always been the love of his life.

For some years, Johan has been an avid blogger on social media and now has thousands of followers.  His blog has always provided a creative outlet for him after a day of being out in the open.  He has also written about his accident: how it has changed his life and how he can never go back into his much loved profession.  But he has blogged about his experience in a positive way; how he has been determined to overcome his disability, knowing that there were others far worse off than he.  Despite having frustrating days, Johan understands that he faces the same issues as others who have been permanently injured and this sense of shared identity has been crucial in promoting strong on-line relationships.

His many readers have developed a strong empathy with Johan and when his mother recently wanted to raise funds for an electric wheelchair, she made contact, via his blog, to his existing followers.  Within days, not only was the money raised for the wheelchair but also offers of job opportunities also came. Continue reading

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Are you going through a Mid-life Crisis?

 

work stress, keynote speaker, how to deal with stress, anxiety, stress symptoms, signs and symptoms of stress, stress free, Show Stress Who's Boss!, carole spiers, stress management, stress & anxiety, symptoms of stress, stress management techniques, stress-free, stress symptoms, de stress, wellbeing, mental health

4 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

Last week, it was reported in the international media that Google’s Main Board Finance Director, 52 year old, CFO Patrick Pichette had announced that he will be giving up his multi-million dollar job in California to spend more time with his family and maybe to go back-packing around the world.

So was this a mid-life-crisis action taken on the spur of the moment or a carefully considered decision made after examining all the priorities, in conjunction with his immediate family and friends?  Was it, possibly, a moment when he saw his world before his eyes and thought of his ‘bucket list’ with all those things not yet experienced, or completed, and then thought that he might be going to run out of time with all those hopes and dreams unfulfilled?

When does it start?

Midlife crisis can happen when someone suddenly thinks they have reached a point halfway through their life and for many, it can come as a complete surprise as they had thought that life was just beginning. They can start to develop anxieties that appear to indicate that everything is going backwards – or at least not moving forwards – both in their career and personal life, and can experience mood-swings or possibly bouts of self-doubt and even depression.

This crisis usually occurs, if at all, between the ages of 35 and 50, and can sometimes last for maybe five or even ten years. The term mid-life crisis was first coined in 1965 where early analysis suggested that it could happen anywhere between the ages of 40 and 60, but it is now shown to start much earlier.

Let us look at some of the signs that could indicate whether or not you could be heading for, or currently experiencing, your own mid-life crisis. Continue reading

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The importance of being happy at work

work stress, keynote speaker, how to deal with stress, anxiety, stress symptoms, signs and symptoms of stress, stress free, Show Stress Who's Boss!, carole spiers, stress management, stress & anxiety, symptoms of stress, stress management techniques, stress-free, stress symptoms, de stress, wellbeing, mental health

4 Easy Ways to Deal with Stress

On 20th March, it is The International Day of Happiness – an official day that is now celebrated throughout the world and was established by the United Nations in 2012.

The day recognizes that happiness is a fundamental human goal, and calls upon countries to approach public policies in ways that improve the well being of all peoples.

 

Key factors

Being happy at work is one of the keys to being truly happy in life as most people spend 20 – 30 years working which is about 30% of the average human lifespan.

There are, of course, many factors that impact professional happiness, including business relationships, professional development, work-life balance, environment and organisational culture.

Obviously, you have no control over whether your employees are happy at home but you do have some control as to how happy they are at work.  And if you don’t know if your employees are happy, then why not ask them? Continue reading

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