Are you struggling with a pink slip, a job loss or co-worker conflicts? Break UP to Better, Here's HOW:
Bullying Bosses … One of the Fastest Growing Problems in Corporate America
Best defense, exercising 'mental strength and toughness,' a mindset that fuels your ability to persevere and rebound from tough times! The art of doing so is fast becoming the competitive edge for business professionals who want to not only survive but thrive in today's work environments.
Seen through a martial arts model, 'mental strength building' is a defensive art, not an offensive one, enabling you to respond to situations effectively with calmness, focus and presence of mind," says JENNIFER Touma, a certified international mental game coach and certified as a meta master practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming. She also holds a masters in organizational leadership, and a Black Belt.
Taking on this type of mindset," JENNIFER says, "is like building a new muscle at the gym; it takes time, effort, and work. Evidence you’re cultivating mental toughness:
You remain calm and focused under pressure instead of losing your cool.
You make a commitment and follow through with it instead of breaking it.
You adapt to the challenges that step in front of you instead of rigidly resisting them.
You stick with a project instead of giving up at the first hint of complexity.
You surround yourself with positive people instead of naysayers with negative attitudes.
Bullies at work, what to do?
“It’s not clear whether the rise in high-profile sexual-harassment cases has truly changed attitude or behavior at work,” says Kathleen Neville, today’s leading expert on the topic. “An estimated 65 percent of mid-size and large corporations now have sexual harassment policies and conduct sensitivity training seminars.”
Kathleen has been inside major corporations, and is one of the first and foremost authorities on the issue of misconduct in the workplace. She has lead advisory teams behind some of the most historical discrimination cases and consulted on numerous governmental task forces; as well as provided insider expertise for accuracy behind TV and feature films on the subject, one of which starred Demi Moore and Michael Douglas.
Kathleen’s book, Corporate Attractions: An Inside Account of Sexual Harassment on the Job with The New Sexual Rules for Men and Women on the Job, was the first guide to provide both men and women with on-the-job ‘rules.’ It is the first book to ever document a sexual harassment case in its entirety and is based on Kathleen’s personal experience.
Who’s Harassing Who, You, Him or Her?
“Companies are trying to change attitudes and prevent harassment before there is a legal problem,” says Kathleen. But have men really reformed? Neville admits, “there are what we call ‘career harassers’ – “men who will regularly and flagrantly harass women and don’t believe they’re vulnerable to lawsuits. They aren’t deterred by the installation of company policies.”
Men like these and the companies they work for may have found a new way to protect themselves. Many firms are now asking prospective employees to sign an agreement – before taking a job – that waives their right to file a civil suit for sexual harassment and agrees instead to submit arbitration. Some women have tried to sue anyway, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [the EEOC] – the agency of the United States Government that enforces the Federal discrimination laws -- claims it would still accept complaints of sexual harassment, regardless of such agreements.
Experts like Neville say that in light of record awards to women, male resentment is building. Men fear unfair accusations based on misunderstandings and claims that they are merely opportunistic. “They often bring up the idea that women use sexual harassment claims to take their settlement and run,” says Neville. To retaliate against frivolous accusations, men have started suing the companies they believe have wrongfully dismissed them. The fear of countersuits has now put companies in a double bind.
“Employers,” says Neville, “are now asking, if they don’t get sued for harassment this week, will they get sued for over-disciplining next week?”
According to Working Women magazine, nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have received complaints of sexual harassment; more than one-third have already been hit with a lawsuit; nearly a quarter have been sued repeatedly. Since 1980 over 38,500 sexual harassment cases have been filed with the federal government.
The Impact of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment in the workplace affects everyone. It has a profound effect on those that experience it, often an equally adverse effect on those accused. No one within an organization escapes its impact. Sexual harassment is, undoubtedly, one of the most significant issues facing companies and their employees in today’s workplace.
Sexual harassment is a powerful force carrying with it a message that is quite clear for all of us. We need to know everything we can about sexual harassment. Our ability to manage this issue, as individuals, and as companies, could quite possibly determine our success in our professional lives. It’s as much about exercising good business practices as it is about being a responsible and sensitive employee. Today, being successful in the workplace requires us to make a commitment to do both.
Even if you have never experienced it, or never witnessed its adverse effects on individuals and companies who have, today’s workplace requires that every employee understand the importance of maintaining a workplace free of any forms of discrimination and harassment. You need to make it your business to know all about this issue because your firm/company is making it their business to help you understand the seriousness of sexual harassment in the workplace. In fact, you need to take it personally, because it’s all about your own personal behavior.
Kathleen’s second book INTERNAL AFFAIRS: The Abuse of Power, Sexual Harassment and Hypocrisy in the Workplace [McGraw-Hill] is a disturbing examination of politics and dangerous liaisons in the business world. Highly publicized scandals that have cost companies millions of dollars are just the tip of the iceberg. Proof in point, the latest, Gretchen Carlson's BE FIERCE: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back.
Is this Sexual Harassment?
Q: Several months ago, I took a job as the assistant to the sales manager of a computer company. At first, it was strictly business but then my boss started winking at me and telling me how great I look. His comments embarrassed me, but I tried to ignore them, turning right back to my work. And when he asked me out to dinner, I firmly but politely said, “No, thank you.” But now he’s asked me out a second and a third time, and lately he’ll lean in toward me at my desk, or brush up against me in the elevator. It’s time for the annual employee reviews, and I’m afraid he’ll rate me badly if I don’t agree to go out with him. Does his behavior qualify as sexual harassment, and what can I do about it?
“Not long ago a woman being harassed had to put up with it or quit. But today, thanks to a few big jury awards that got employers to pay attention, 90 percent of these cases get resolved before they go to court,” says Kathleen Neville.
Rules on the Job
A: Once you’ve said no to unwanted sexual attention and it’s repeated, that’s harassment. There are two types: behavior so sever it creates a “hostile environment” (such as wolf-whistles or leering), and pressure to submit to a boss’s advances so you can keep your job or get a raise. But there are laws to protect you.
Talk to your boss. Sometimes when a woman says no, a man hears “maybe,” so he keeps trying to wear her down. It’s possible he’s not aware his actions are making you uncomfortable, and because going over his head without talking to him first will get his ire up and make things worse, it’s wise to give him a chance to correct the problem himself. So, although it’s difficult, make your feelings clear. Don’t be hostile or threaten to tell his superiors. Be polite but firm. Tell him you like your job but if his behavior doesn’t stop, it will hurt your working relationship. This should do the trick, but if not…
Report it to higher-ups. Meet with the head of human resources. Bring a written description of the harassment, including a request that it be stopped. Make it clear that your beef is with the boss and not the company. Ask to meet again in two weeks, which gives her time to look into the matter. Follow up with a memo thanking her and restating the problem and the need for resolution. This shows you’re serious and could be vital evidence in court that you’ve reported your boss’s behavior. If higher-ups don’t help…
Turn to the law. If the harassment has escalated or you think you may be fired, consult an attorney. A lawyer’s letter to your boss and the company may end the problem. If not, the lawyer can advise you whether to seek a hearing at an agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or sue in court. If the matter is decided in your favor, you’ll be awarded damages for pain and suffering. For an attorney referral, call the Nine to Five Job Survival Hotline at 800-522-0925 or email:
It doesn’t matter where we work or what kind of job we have, we all need to reach deep inside ourselves and consider three critical aspects of our thinking that can make all the difference in the way we live out our working lives:
Our attitude toward other people
Our ability to use common sense in the choices and decisions we make that determine our behavior and;
Our approach as we interact with others we work with and our desire to show respect for their uniqueness, individuality and especially, their differences.
Along with our job skills and professional backgrounds, we all bring into the workplace our own attitudes and approach to life, work, people and how we feel about ourselves. These attitudes are often based partly upon where we grew up, how we were raised and the kinds of outside influences that have become part of our lives. We even carry with us to new jobs, our feelings about the people we previously worked with and our attitudes toward them.
But most of all, the attitude we bring into our workplace is the one we decide to have. Attitude is a choice. How we treat each other in the workplace is a personal choice and an important one. Respecting those we work with while understanding the significant advantages of being part of a working environment that promotes equality and fairness is the core of a good attitude.