I'm being bullied

It's been two years of my weekly email and to celebrate I've been reviewing the most popular ones. The post below was from an email back in May 2017 but is a topic and content just as relevant now. 


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You can't deny that healthcare can be a chaotic, complicated mess. Despite this (or it because of) you produce the most amazing outcomes day in and day out. This is down to the work and commitment of every single person - not just the front line staff - but everyone. We are all needed, important and essential.

If I want to feel useful and part of the picture when I rock up to work, than I guess you do.  Which means, probably your team do, and everyone you pass in the corridor does.

Pink Shirt Day is a coming together for everyone to say, feeling respected and safe at work is what I want for my place of work. For my team, for me.

What then, when someone taps you on the shoulder and says, 'hey, I think I'm being bullied'. What do you do? What next?

I have a quote on my wall and I was chuffed to see a similar quote used in relation to tackling bullying in the workplace. It's there on my wall to remind me everyday.

So when that person has reached the point of courage to say, "I think I'm being bullied" - what do you do next?

What is great about all the lessons, books and 'stuff' that is out there on leadership is that it all crosses over, interconnects into a large tangled web. You don't have to tap into, or open the 'how to deal with bullying box'. You use the skills of listening, empathy, emotional intelligence and non-judgement. You may also acknowledge that you don't know, don't have the answers, but will find out. The big umbrella over all of this is trust. This person must trust you as they have come to talk to you about something that is affecting them deeply. 

One person's experience needs to be listened to and the feelings acknowledged; it is their experience of the situation and is valid for them. To be truly heard when you are feeling unsafe and broken is the most amazing feeling.

Your role might mean that you do have to investigate the accusation and the situation. I made a mistake once of believing the first story I heard and made a judgement. I was wrong! There was more to the story that I knew. Thankfully the person involved accepted my public apology and that lesson has been well embedded into my memory. Why? Because of this.

It's important to know where to go to for help, what your organisational resources and processes are - or at least where to find them. Your 'phone a friend' - that person we call when we don't know what to do first. There will be people that can help and guide you.

These can be tough topics to talk about and in the midst of your day - that already has a thousand things to do in it - it can seem too much, and moved to the too hard basket. This articlegives some pointers as to how we make it everybody role to raise the difficult issues and this blog post gives a vivid account of what it can feel like with a detailed description that I bet will resonate with you - plus it has some practical tactics and great links and references for more information.

I'll leave you with this powerful and emotional TED talk