Jo Geraghty


Disrespect invites disrespect

Date added: 09th Jan 2017
Category: Culture of conduct/ethics

time to remember the golden rule, the idea that you should act towards others as you would expect and want them to act towards you

Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

Meryl Streep’s comments at the Golden Globes may have been aimed at the US president-elect but they speak equally to anyone in a position of power in organisations across the globe.  Prefacing the remark above she commented that the “instinct to humiliate, when it’s modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.”

Could it happen in your organisation? Think very carefully before you answer because bullying can take many forms and when baked into the culture may simply seem like part of the way things are done around here rather than something which should be stamped out.

Perhaps it’s a long hours culture in which people are expected to start early and stay late with negative comments being passed should anyone try and work to a more regularised schedule. Or what about the leader or manager who demands results no matter how they are achieved or who presides over a culture in which people fear for their jobs if they fail to meet target? And then there’s the in-office ‘banter’ which is viewed as a part of team building with no thought for whether it excludes or offends some individuals.

But these are examples which sit purely within the organisation; what about those with a position of power inside an organisation who use that position in order to bully individuals and businesses outside the organisation? I’m thinking here about the business which arbitrarily changes contract terms or delays payment to its suppliers; or the organisation which plays the jobs-worth card in order to make life difficult for its consumers. It’s a rare day on which one or other of the papers don’t carry a story along these lines.

What do such actions say about the organisation or the individual who has instigated them? Are these the actions of an organisation with a strong and caring culture which sets customer excellence and employee engagement at the heart of everything it does? I think not!

A number of years ago we wrote about the golden rule, the idea that you should act towards others as you would expect and want them to act towards you. Perhaps it’s time that we reminded ourselves that people, whether they are our customers, our colleagues or others, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity: to build, not to bully; to create, not to coerce; to work together for the good of all.




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