October 13, 2013

A Bullying Culture!

Doug Lawrence






This morning was quite the morning with being a guest on Oscar Bimpong’s radio talk show “The Platform”. Oscar’s show is powerful as he believes in our ability to “Dream Big” and that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. We talked about bullying and mentoring and the topic is one that resonated with our listeners. It is also a very topical issue that is consuming a lot of attention in the media and rightly so when one considers the impact that bullying has. There seems to be lots of talking and not a lot of action in coming up with some potential solutions. We seem to be okay with adopting the “ostrich syndrome” and keeping our heads buried in the sand – after all if we don’t hear about it or see it happening it therefore cannot be taking place. Ask any parent if that is the case when it comes to their child. Recently I have heard stories of a child being stabbed in the foot by another and a very young student in tears begging Mommy to let them stay home as they did not want to go to school as it was a bad place. Stories like that always rip at my heart strings.

Oscar and I discussed the fact that if we choose to do nothing about the bullying whether it be in the school or the work place are we any better than the bully themselves? It would be like reinforcing the behavior and sending a message to others that it’s okay – and it is not!

One of the things we shared with the listening audience was the aspect of a bullying culture. Imagine a work place where bullying was part of the culture and it was condoned. Imagine your child going to a school where the culture was not so much learning and developing but bullying. There is a pattern here and I am not sure that we have addressed it properly. If we allow bullying to take place in the school system and it evolves from the elementary years to the high school years and then into University or College we have started to build a culture that is focused on bullying. If we do nothing to change the behavior it will follow us into the work place and it will continue to grow and infect those in that work environment. Bullying in the workplace has a huge impact on productivity and costs organizations billions of dollars a year.

We do have choices – we can choose to search for and implement potential solutions to combat bullying in the schools and the work place or we can choose to do nothing realizing that we are no better than those that are bullying.

There are a number of examples where mentoring has played a huge role in the fight against mentoring. Providing some form of training to provide students at the various educational levels the mentoring tools that they need is one of the first steps. Taking a similar step with work place bullying would be another step that we need to take.

The time for discussion is over – the time to take action is now! We need to embrace the “power of mentoring” after all “can we afford not to?”





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