Efforts to minimize or eliminate bullying and harassment in our schools and workplaces continue to be ineffective and a waste of valuable resources.
This will be the case as long as anti-bullying efforts continue to focus on the 2% of the population that are bullying rather than the 98% of the population that are affected by bullying.
Conventional thinking towards ending the bullying epidemic has failed our children and failed us.
A report prepared by Hamilton Wentworth District School Board staff, based on survey results from over 10,000 students, concludes that roughly a quarter of students accept bullying as part of normal school life.
With resources being poured into anti-bullying awareness education programs, tougher school policies, harsher punishments for bullies, implementation of workplace safety policies, and new laws that make bystanders accountable for doing nothing to stop bullying, why have we as a society not advanced in this problem?
Why do students and workers still accept bullying as a normal part of life? In fact, why does bullying still exist in our schools and workplaces at all?
Fortunately, there is an answer, a way to stop bullying forever - a way that has been proven successful in schools and workplaces alike.
The simple answer lies in the simple fact that policy makers, employers, and school administrators have got it all wrong.
Most anti-bullying programs deal with putting stricter rules in place regarding bullying or trying to get the bully to change. However, to date, this approach has not been successful.
Many of the bullies will not or cannot change. This is why Cooperative Action™ takes the opposite approach.
To eliminate bullying, we must focus on empowering the 98% by teaching them how to successfully neutralize the negative effect the 2% has on them.
It is important to also point out that many authority figures (such as teachers, parents, mangers, etc.) are still blaming the target. It is not the target that needs to let it go or stop over reacting; it is the bully who needs to stop bullying and this won't happen so long as they have a ready pool of potential victims to target.
When an incident involving workplace bullying is reported to management or HR, the burden of proof regularly lies on the shoulders of the complainant.
Many companies inadvertently force bullied workers to jump through so many hoops simply to be heard and believed that they have stopped reporting instances of bullying except in rare, and often severe, cases.
Examples that we have encountered of the rationale for this failure to act on a complaint include:
"We don't have the resources to investigate every complaint." And....
"We don't want to damage someone's reputation if they are innocent."
The simple truth is that many managers and HR professionals do not have the skills required to investigate such complaints.
Sadly, some refuse to acknowledge this and make such a mess of the situation they end up worsening the situation often resulting in the bullied employee feeling they have not alternative than to quit.
In today's high stress work and school environments, authority figures must have the skills to recognize and stop bullying before it starts.
While many share this perspective, few have institutionalized it into the very culture of their organization. Programs and initiatives put in place must provide prospective targets with the tools necessary to effectively deal with the bully's behaviour, preventing targets from becoming victims.
Bullying requires at least two individuals (bully and target)...if the target does not become the victim, there can be no bully.
To help create workplace or school culture that prevents bullying, implement the Law of Cooperative Action™ Credo as the basis of conduct. Download for free: