BULLYING CAN BE STOPPED.
But this effort requires leadership...NOT torches, pitchforks, and mob justice.
It requires someone who can take the anger so many people feel when they see a bully getting away with their behaviour...
And harness that collective anger into action and resolve.
Yet few will stand up and lead...
They want to but they don't know how.
In this article, we'll look at a few suggestions.
ANGER IS A FORK IN THE ROAD
We, as a people, seem to be angrier than ever before.
We are angry at our politicians...angry at our neighbours...and angry at our employers.
Occasionally, something happens that causes many of us to join together in our anger and collectively demand justice...such as the suicide of a young person in our community that has resulted from relentless bullying.
Our collective anger brings us to a fork in the road.
If we travel to the left, we allow our anger to control our decision-making...and then to justify or rationalize bad decisions...
We become a mob of town folk carrying torches and pitchforks demanding the head of Frankenstein.
We need to feel "justice" is served...however down this path, justice is often confused with revenge.
If we travel to the right, we allow our anger to drive us to take action but we carefully consider the most appropriate form of action...the one that yields the greatest and longest-term results.
Traveling down this path, we follow in the steps of history's greatest agents of change such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., both of whom allowed their anger and dissatisfaction to drive their actions but not control them.
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CHANGE REQUIRES LEADERSHIP...
To travel down the right path, collective anger must be focused and this requires leadership.
Within the community, it may a religious leader, a social advocate, or simply an average person who is fed up.
Within the workplace this falls on to the shoulders of the management and HR teams...at least those members of the teams who have proven themselves trust-worthy and deserving of respect.
It is the role of these leaders to rally everyone else...to concentrate their anger on a worthy and just cause...and hold those who follow them accountable for their actions and behaviour...
Lest they become a part of the very problem they are trying to fix, as often happens when people resort to bullying the bully.
Bullying is bullying, regardless of the target. Mob justice isn't really justice at all.
5 TIPS TO NEUTRALIZE BULLYING WITHOUT TORCHES & PITCHFORKS
It is not your job to act as judge, jury, and executioner.
Taking a position of leadership to eliminate bullying, however, does make it your responsibility to ensure that those who follow you are able to appropriately act and react to what happens around them WITHOUT deliberately cause harm to others.
How can you focus collective anger to neutralize bullying without becoming a bully yourself? Here are a few suggested solutions for bullying.
"TARGET" VS. "VICTIM"
Get others to understand the difference between "target" and "victim".
There is little we can do to prevent a bully from targeting us or someone else the first time. However, we can decide to act to ensure it doesn't happen a second time.
While this may sound like a given, few do this. Instead, they give in to FEAR (false evidence appearing real) and believe there is nothing they can do to stop the bully.
Convert anger into attention and focus that attention on the simple fact that targets are not powerless and don't have to become victims.
WHAT IS YOUR FALSE EVIDENCE?
Help others critically examine what the "false evidence" of their FEAR is.
Collective anger is an interesting phenomenon. When we are angry...and see others equally angry...we are far less accepting of our limitations. There is strength in numbers and we feel more empowered and more confident in our own ability to handle potential obstacles.
This empowerment helps us to put "false evidence" into the proper perspective...to see it for the bump it really is and not the mountain we might otherwise believe it to be.
SHINE A LIGHT
Taking a position of leadership means helping others to focus their anger and turn it into positive action.
All bullies have a similar modus operandi...they require their actions to remain in the shadows. That is why a bully will often threaten, "if you tell anyone, I will get you..."
When there is collective anger over bullying, people are far more likely to directly intercede upon witnessing an incident of bullying and they can do this by raising the alarm and bringing attention to what is happening.
Leaders must encourage those who follow them to shine such a bright light on what is occurring that the bully sees they have lost the battle.
BE A PORCUPINE
Porcupines are not big animals. They don't have massive teeth and claws. Yet few predators take them on. Why? Because their quills make the porcupine a very difficult snack and hungry animals would rather find easier prey.
Think of each angry person as a quill. A porcupine with a single quill will appear weak and easy prey. But a porcupine with a thousand quills, all focused at the predator, will cause the predator to rethink their attack before engage.
Neutralizing bullying is possible when a leader binds people together to show that the 98% (the quills) outnumbers the 2% (the predator).
STOP REACTING TO THE 2%
Break down the power of the 2%.
Collective anger is the result of the 98% no longer willing to accept that the behaviour of the 2%.
Leading any movement against bullying requires the leader help people understand how we have unwittingly allowed the 2%, the bullies, to control us. (Think about the last time you flew...did you have to take your shoes off?)
By drawing attention to this, leaders will cause people to examine their own actions and ask, "why do I do what I do? Is it my choice or is it a knee-jerk response to the actions of someone else?"
DON'T DANCE THE DANCE...
We often urge people to "not dance the dance" when it comes to engaging bullies.
This means not allowing our own anger to pull us down the wrong path.
With someone willing to lead the way, the anger we feel can be used to create great and positive change.
Without it, we risk allowing our anger to turn us into an abomination of the people that we need to be.
Bullying, in the workplace and the school yard, can end if we all come together for this common good.
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