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Bully in the Boardroom?

allies bully marginalized Nov 07, 2020

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Bully in the Boardroom?

Whether it’s in the highest court in the land, the corporate boardroom, or any other room, most of us have experienced bullying, implicit or explicit, at some time in our career. With the current political climate, it’s not a stretch to say that it is likely to get worse before it gets better.

This hit to company culture is expensive because it causes physical and emotional collateral (difficulty sleeping, higher stress, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and depression which translates into more sick time, increased healthcare and lower productivity) which in turn makes bullying financially costly as well, says Holly Wintermute of the Fisher Phillips law firm.

A study by the online employment service, Monster, found that about 90% of workers have been bullied at their place of employment. As if this isn’t bad enough, imagine if you are someone who is marginalized or double marginalized.

Here are a 4 things we can do to take control and prepare our mindset to speak up and stand up for ourselves in a very authentic way, even when we encounter a bully.

1.) Warm the Room:
Whether you’re in a 1:1 meeting (preparing others for these is my passion and blackbelt, so please do reach out if I can help you in any way) or for a group meeting, presentation or speech, gather as much information as you can about the other attendees, especially those who have the potential to be a bully. What matters to them? Why? Where might you get push back? Do the both of you have a common goal? If you don’t know, do your best to find out. You want to be able to hold your ground, but there’s homework to be done first.

2.) Prepare Your Environment:
At least for now, these interactions are likely to be virtual, so prepare your environment accordingly. What can you wear that makes you feel confident? Will you take your coffee black or have a royal cup of tea handy? Is there a scent that triggers confidence (It’s peppermint for me!)? Don’t forget to place a glass of water behind you, in case you need to take a deep breath and re-center.

3.) Form Allies:
Even Olympians in individual sports have a team who supports them. You’ll need one too! Make sure you curate a fierce group of allies whom you will support you and with whom you can confide in.

4.) Postpone and Adjust:
Know when to forfeit (for now), but do it in a productive way. When someone chooses to be verbally aggressive or insensitive, it can be a good place to start with ‘It seems like there is a lot of emotion around this. Is there another way you could say that?’. Many times this self-reflection does the trick for an attitude adjustment, but not always. If not, postpone the conversation, and be sure to have a
high good bye standard. Something like ‘I appreciate the time you’ve held for me, but this conversation seems like it’s not productive. Which day next week works for you to reconvene?’ Then, call in the back-up which may be in the form of indisputable data or social capital (ie: influential colleagues).

This, of course, takes an immense amount of confidence and emotional agility which I’ll be talking about in the coming weeks.

If you’ve experienced some form of bullying in the workplace, I stand with you in solidarity. It’s my life’s work to make sure you are valued, respected and heard.

W
e are building a movement! Are you in?

Watch My Video on What to Do When You Encounter a Bully:

Listen to the Podcast:

 

Cheering you on always!

xx

P.s. Know three like-minded female leaders or male allies this will serve? Please do share!

P.s.s. Whenever you’re ready... here are 4 ways I can help: 

1. Attend the Next "Limitless Leader Roadmap" Virtual Workshop:
Mark your calendar to join us on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 11:00am PT for a (free:) LIVE virtual workshop, "Re-motivate. Recharge. Recommit… 3 Proven Mindset Strategies for Leaders and Their Teams to Finish 2020 Strong and Feel Energized for 2021." To keep it intimate, we're limiting attendance to 30, so register today at: www.sherylkline.com/11-19-20-virtual-workshop-registration

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