Leadership in the 21st Century

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I have come to learn that being a leader in the twenty first century is not what it was in the prior century. Having stated that, I am also realizing more and more that the people in leadership in 2017 have not grown into the century, rather they are still practicing the skills that were working in the 1990’s or even prior. The importance of me sharing this publicly is that I am frustrated because society is going to continue to move ahead, yet the people who are trying their best to hold us back are the leaders of the past.

The business model of today has to focus on multiple generations of people within; and to do this it needs to understand that each of these generations is focused in a different way of being developed and or evaluated. The people who left the workplace already or are on the way out have developed the leadership that is currently in charge, yet this system does not work with much of the modern worker.  This system is designed around the “because I said so” model and within it is the “because I am right” perspective. Society does not look at amazing leaders and focus on how right they were, rather they review them for what they did differently and or what they were able to accomplish that was different from the norm.

Over the past several years I have had the opportunity to speak with great leaders who spend the time discussing their teams and what a difference they make. These people have spent their time to help others and in turn help their businesses to succeed. What this means is that leadership in the 21st century is about growing the people around you, not just the few people who have to support you, rather others, so that your corporate environment can grow organically as well as horizontally.

The old model was a top down approach that the people who were given the chance to lead alongside you were people that were friends, who were not able to question you, for fear that they earned their leadership by the grace of your gift. This model has continued and unfortunately still is part of our culture in 2017. Putting this model onto paper, it would seem as if it reads that modern leadership is a gift rather than earned, which is well known by many people. So to move up, people give up their ideas, their true focus on leadership and they adapt to the culture of their workplace just to achieve an opportunity for a voice. Doing this is called group polarization. This is not a positive model for leadership and may be the reason that the youth of today are more comfortable changing jobs and reaching for new opportunities, they simply don’t like the model of leadership that is being implemented in the work place.

I am not advocating for a lack of leadership, rather I believe that what people truly need is for a leader who is willing to be part of the team, to be part of the solution and to either be able to do the position themselves or to learn from those who are the experts. Leadership is not a hierarchy, it is a part of the organization and has a role to play. This means leaders need to be focused on what it will take to make the organization develop and enhance. When we read of great leaders, we never read of a person who was the ultimate ruler of their domain, rather we spend the time reading about the glowing opportunities that those around the leader were given, how these people became better because of the leader, and from this how the organization flourished because the leader empowered their people to be great.

Books have been written about great leaders, and books have been written about how great leaders work to promote those around them to be great. When these stories arrive, people soak up the knowledge of leadership, yet they don’t remain focused on what leaders do – just the results.

For leadership success to occur in 2018 and beyond, the system of leadership learning is going to need to change. People who are given the reigns to lead also need to listen. This means that when concerns, issues and or other problems arise, it is not healthy to sweep issues under a proverbial rug, because the people within the organization know exactly what is going on, and they turn on leaders. For leadership to work, people in positions of authority will need to step up their game to listen and act on issues, always maintaining a balance between human resources, human expectation and the goal of the organization.

A last important observation in analysis of the modern leadership necessities is the ability to say no when pushed by other leaders. Too often a leader in need of a position near them hires on a friend or someone that they have gotten to know well, so they can trust what this person is doing, and since this person feels allegiance to the leader, they have no voice to say no. The reality is that without this voice, the true leadership necessary is not available, and so the organization becomes toxic. Something as simple as hiring people who will say no, or will be honest and or will help to build the organization because it’s the right thing to do, are the leaders you need, not the followers you want.

Leadership of people is a lonely position that a few people are good at. Study them, research their abilities, skills, styles and attitudes, for great leaders are all the same, they understand people first.


Why Being Vigilant Matters

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I have read many people making posts and comments arguing against the protests in America. Some say protesting is just sour grapes, others say it’s the left rallying a cry for their own failure. There are so many reasons being shared for why these protests are an attack against the Conservative movement – yet it would seem to me that the anger of the conservatives is speaking louder than the reality of the situation.

On Saturday, the world was watching the protests and participating in unison. They did so because they are afraid of what is occurring at this time in America.

In Trump’s first speech he said “America first and America only”. It sounds like a great idea if you are just a small isolated nation – yet America is not isolated – it is the democratic model that every country wishes it could be. Changing that model and reverting back in time is a conservative hope, yet is it ever a reality?

Yes – America has faults and problems – yet on the international stage – America’s brand is the one that the world prefers – regardless of what the news shares. So when a person is elected President who has shown his true colors which harbor many issues with groups other than White Males – the world perks up. They worry and perhaps for good reason – history has taught them that these types of rulers are an issue and often bring a cloud of devastation with them.

The woman’s march yesterday was not isolated to America – it was worldwide. It was a march of solidarity to show a hope that the work of humanism will not be destroyed by the country that has pushed it forward for the past 60 years. It’s a hope that the people of America call themselves to action against any tyranny – not just an acceptance that the system of balance will work just because it’s expected to.

I am a Republican who in 2010 began a shift away from Conservatism. There is a difference between the two concepts- and in that difference I align with Lincoln who fought for the people and for the future of a great nation. The conservative movement fought hard to stop any agenda of a Black president whose agenda was to push humanism and science. The agenda itself, which was successful moving forward, is not abhorrent – unless you are that conservative minded person afraid of change.

Yes – humanism in other nations is far behind America – yet events such as the Arab Spring was possible because America showed them through its history that a voice is powerful against a tyrant. Coups are possible for the same reason.

Sadly some people turn toward violence over peaceful protests – yet the peace of Martin Luther King was balanced by the violence of Malcolm X – which combined to help put black people and their plight into the national discussion. It took the work of both movements to gain national attention and action.

Women of 2017 have it far better thanks to women who protested in the 1920’s and 40’s – yet their fight is not over. This is the same for every group who is not integrated into the white American culture without question.

When the world is concerned; when the most powerful (in most every way) nation of the world votes in a leader – I go back to my research.

“Make America great Again”

Again is the word that concerns me and what I believe is the word that got him elected. So how far back are we going to find when America was great? If the concern is solely Obama and wanting to return to before his presidency – then that comment is purely based in racism, sexism, homophobia or fear that the Liberals were actually successful in their attempt at progressing American society.

Is it a return back to the Bush days when we went to attack the enemy in terrorism and learned how hard it is to wipe out an enemy?

Is it a return back to the Clinton presidency who developed the criteria for outsourcing based on the desire of furthering profits by corporations?

Is it a return back to Reagan who expanded the military, worked towards nuclear proliferation, caused Russia to retreat and constructed the tightest of rules when it came to maintaining profit over progress? Just how far back do we go to meet the word “Again”?

So as we watch and protest the desire for a modern American exceptionalism – if the outcome is the furthering of America as a global leader, and to take the policies of past Presidents and improving them – then I’m in. If I see none of that occurring – then the marches yesterday around the world were correct and I’ll come back to these words — America is Already great – let’s make it Greater 🙂

Thanks for reading


How the Right got it Wrong!

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So I have been very critical of Trump from the start. I have spent my life being analyzed and in turn analyzing behavior. Technically I teach Psychology at the high school and college level. I read psychology papers on behavior and political news. Some call me a junkie – yet my addiction is human personality and leadership.

Trump for me has always been a dangerous wild card. He shows every trait of a sociopath (so does Clinton) which guides me to understand why people are drawn to him.

In the primaries I referred to him as the modern Hitler and people bashed me as a traitor to the Republican Party. It is fair to the people that believe in Trump that they do not see what some others see – this is why dictator type of individual gets into power. The problem with Hitler was that people were angry, upset and seeking a way to defeat the world for the embarrassment of losing WW1.

America has created the same atmosphere in that it is angry too. It is angry that black people have been given the right of human, it is angry that women have been given a voice and it is angry that history has pointed out some of its past weaknesses. This anger does not subside quickly, even though it should. So the fighting continues within the social politics of right versus inhumane.

I have before and continue to say we need to move beyond the anger, and grow up, yet this election teaches me that many other people are not ready to do so. The Republican Party had a couple of good candidates to choose from, yet they opted for Trump. Considering some of the people I know who helped in nominating him – I stop to consider why. The argument that he is not establishment should not play loudly – as any quality leader knows the importance of understanding the system.

Yet – the media pushed this rhetoric that America needs a non-politico to run. Why? Why would the media have a hand in this? My answer is simple – the Tea Party brought along so much hate that it sold news. Then as the nation began to realize what the Tea Party really was – they lost opportunity and have become almost nil in the political world.

For the media to sell its story and for America to remain constantly turned on one another, bring along 10 Republicans who are similar and a few others (outsiders). Pump the others and push for an avenue where the people feel that insiders are corrupt while outsiders (who basically are part of the corrupt system) seem more electable. This is done purposefully so that the average person feels represented. Bring along one of the most corrupt people for whom the media already enjoys – Donald Trump. This man is so far from the norm that to make him worthy is nothing short of a media miracle.

The problem is that this is America the country, not America the game show. The people of this country are the same as any other nation, they are susceptible to influence. Furthering the problem is that the people of the Republican Party have chosen to believe in a man who in prior elections would have not been considered at all. The Democrats have for years been the party that allowed for human error and inconsistencies to be forgiven and worked to massage that person toward success, yet they never openly admitted a person without any moral virtue (Bill Clinton hid most all of his indiscretions from the general public). The Republican Party was the moral party and the party of family values. As a party it got attacked for being too stagnant, never changing and for the belief that God was their guide. They were the party who pushed the Bible to no end. Over the past 3 election cycles people argued that the approach from the Republicans needed to loosen as they kept fighting issues that were losing battles, yet they stood firm. I for one argued that the parties spent too much time fighting losing battles and to maintain the primary principles and leave the human issues alone.

The media that helped to create and escalate a Trump to known status has also allowed for what is going on in our country today. We have 2 people running for President. One of them has a checkered past involved in the spotlight of governance for 30 years, is a woman and has a problem understanding how email works. We can blame her for Benghazi – although only loosely, we can blame her for her cheating husband – although only loosely, we can blame her for voting for war – yet Republicans all agreed to this. So other than email, we can’t pin the tail on any of this Donkey.

Her opponent is the creation of the media. He is a bigot, a misogynist, a racist, liar and opportunist. He will do and say whatever comes to mind just to convince people they should vote for him, yet at each point he has no real values. He goes to Mexico and lies about a meeting involving building a wall – (folks the wall will not be built), he says openly he never wanted a war, then the truth arrived. He says that being him is the greatest thing ever: and that being President of America – he knows how to run a company and make American great again – even after bankrupting several companies, outsourcing jobs from this country, ignoring payment to employees, hiring illegals, taking money from others and not paying them back, not paying taxes and perhaps fondling women because he is famous. This rhetoric has created great media opportunity, yet leaves the world watching a country that is imploding from the inside. Not because of economic issues, but because of moral ones. The party of moral principle has allowed this man to succeed, in an era which should never be acceptable.

I actually heard on CNN a commentator defending Trump by saying “our president doesn’t have to be moral. He’s not the Pope”. Others have repeated the same. This is true – the President of America is not the pope – he is in fact far more powerful. He does not lead just one religious sect, he and perhaps she leads the entire world. For America is the wealthiest nation (GDP) and the one in which we learned in 2007 can cause the world to get the flu when we have a cold.

This past weekend audio recordings were released with Trump openly admitting that he gropes people and takes what he pleases.
Before you excuse this behavior because Bill Clinton did it. Bill Clinton was impeached by an irate Republican party. Anthony Weiner was removed by an irate Republican party for sharing his genitals online. Larry Craig was removed as a Republican – from congress for similar behavior, Mark Foley was removed for the same reason. Before people say to Trump that its ok, that is just locker room talk – would you raise your child accepting that sentiment.

In my house, neither of my children will be allowed to speak that way and as a parent if I learn it occurs, my child will apologies openly to a school or team for such crude behavior.

I am also raising a daughter and teach almost 200 women per year that the most powerful voice they have is their own. If we allow for such male behavior to be accepted, then my statements above are true, men are going to maintain the lowering of women to empower themselves.
Trump has openly stated every action he desires – and being allowed to sexually abuse half the planet is far from Presidential. People also say that Clinton will destroy America if elected – I respond with a very simple answer – we already know her politics and that she stands to fight for what she believes in. Whether it is marriage (she held the sanctity for better or worse), her country (Senator and Secretary of State) and quite frankly her consistency. Trump has upheld nothing that does not suit Trump – which is exactly the behavior of a Dictator, not the leader of the Free world.

I am not sure what 4 years with Clinton or Trump will bring, yet I am not willing to see how much frothing the media will earn by a Trump election or how embarrassed this nation will be by a Trump election. The past year has been embarrassing enough – so out of respect for the Party I have called mine – I will await the end of this election and expect the Republican party to willingly deconstruct and rebuild as a newer, stronger, more respectful party, that symbolizes less government, lower taxes and an increased focus on the human being.


The Need for a New Politician

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The Florida Primaries are behind us and we learned a lot from them. There is nothing more humbling to a political leader than to serve the community they represent, yet when there is an election such as this, there is a message being sent from the community. Watching this election closely, I believe it is time for a new, modern politician to emerge who can and needs to reach the people in several ways.

In the local arena the elected politician has spent much of their time focused on creating internal policies while maintaining an image of perfection outside and whenever possible snapping a picture with the public. Making the people happy that the elected official was at the scene used to be enough. This is not the case anymore.

What I am seeing is a transformation of a public who has not been informed of how the process works, yet they want a hand in helping to create the process. From my years of being involved outside of the political arena as a bystander and now only partially inside, I believe strongly that the process does work. Unfortunately for the majority of people they do not agree and therefore are angry when the process they want to exist does not.

As society continues to become more involved in social media and the ability to send messages to a large group of people without fear of reprise, the more the political arena needs to adapt to the needs of the people. The media plays a large role in the political process, yet what they do not do is educate the people. The media sells stories, they are not teachers of the process.

Politicians would like it if the people who are teachers taught the youth of the land how politics works, yet the teachers are not given the inside story either, so in reality, the only way to truly be able to teach the public is to become a politician and then teach others outside of the political process – the political process. Perhaps this is a problem, as the people of 2016 and beyond will want a greater voice in their desires.

What I have seen for the past 10 years is an intense evolution in which the people from both sides of the aisle are becoming more frustrated with the elected officials as they are not considering that each vote is a decision for or against their personal preference. The reality of many situations may come down to legal environments rather than just preferential opportunities in which elected officials may have to vote a certain way. When these situations occur, often the elected official casts their vote and continues on their merry way. The elected official may understand that some people will be upset, yet they leave that vote knowing they have followed the law and continued to keep their particular elected environment safe from lawsuits etc. The people are not necessarily aware of this situation and continue to grow upset. Their emotional reaction is certainly valid, as they are hearing that their preference is being circumvented for the benefit of a few, not the greater good of the many.

There are also situations in which people are running for elected office making promises to the people – which the people want to hear. They want to accomplish every one of the things that they are making promises for, yet the reality is that once a person is elected, they lose much of their power to higher levels of office and or the legal system. Although not a real situation, yet I may want to place a traffic light, expand a road or even add a turn lane to a street in my city, before I can do so there are several agencies and loopholes to maneuver through, that even if I get the chance to vote on my action, the need for that light may be long gone or the patience of the public may have died down.  I have shared openly with several people who have run for office and cautioned them not to make any promises – because each of those promises may lose you a next election when the public gets upset.

To me, the modern environment of politics at all levels requires a new and modern elected official. These people have to be willing to engage with the public socially, they have to be even more transparent and beyond all of this, they have to always be there for the people. The last part may seem as if it was always like this, yet the reality is that in the past word of mouth spread through a community and people voted for the person they liked and who most represent them. In 2016 the majority of the people are no longer just part of one party, many of them have become issue’s people who want to know how you are dealing with their issue.

The ability for a politician to truly be part of the people is to be part of the people. They have to interact with the people, where the people are and listen to the people. I have found that telling the truth to the people is perfectly fine, they may not like what it is that I’m saying, yet with the right amount of explanation, proof and truth, then the people know they can trust me. When blanket statement are made that the people want to hear, then I cannot deliver, the people are going to get frustrated and assume that the crooked system has stolen me and made me one of theirs.

Stated above, I mention the crooked system. There is certainly a system in play, yet it is not as crooked as people may think. Media, television and books write often about a crooked system, yet looking inside the system is far more empowering than staring from the outside and questioning what is going on. The system needs to allow for people to enter it and see for themselves what occurs. When an election such as the one occurring in 2016 arrives, there is a reason for so much difference; the people have not been heard. We can argue that each side is listening to its people, yet in reality neither side has done a good job of listening. The people will then remove many elected officials that it feels are not listening enough and replace them with new people, who will enter into the system and be taught what they never knew prior, that there is a system in place and like or not, they have to work within it. Entering into a system and trying to force it to change will cause that newly elected person to continually fight upstream and achieve nothing.

So in turn, a good elected official in 2016 will learn how the system works and do what they can to facilitate that change so that the public are able to understand. Perhaps the official keeps a blog, has regular meetings, creates a Facebook page to hear the thoughts of citizens and respond in kind. These are all options that bring back the concept of the local church meetings, which it seems we have moved away from in the hopes that the people will just let the politicians govern. The people are not happy with this solution and they want back in – perhaps it is time to let them, or we will continue to face newly elected officials and lose institutional knowledge every single election.

The Mental Health State of the Orlando Shootings

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The following is my analysis of the recent shootings in Orlando:

Orlando has certainly been in the news over the past 2 weeks. For me, the experience was more than surreal as it is the area I call home, yet I was not home at the time of the events. I was away working which allowed for me to have a differing perspective.

I awoke on Saturday morning to the news sharing that a singer -Christina Grimmie – had been shot while signing autographs. This was an awful story to read and certainly one that made me wonder what was going on with the world. It is scary enough to think that people have such access to a weapon that can destroy with very little effort (I know the 2nd amendment for those that are irked already); yet to once again read a story of someone with this much anger using such a weapon to remove a life from this earth just because they felt it was ok to do is maddening.

In respect to this young lady (Christina Grimmie) your light was exterminated many years before your time, yet, it would seem that another man had anger in his mind, as he arrived the same night of your death at another nightclub to destroy as many people as he could with a different gun. This particular event shares with Orlando and the rest of the country how fragile the laws are in relation to guns and mental health.

As stated above, in both of these situations, the victims were shot with a gun. Christina Grimmie died at the hands of a man who shot her then after a scuffle turned the gun on himself. Perhaps there was a mental state within the shooter that was of pure anger or it may just simply have been what we have learned that he was infatuated with her and expected her to respond in kind. A similar story occurred like this when a shooter (John Hinkley) sought the attention of an actress and shot President Reagan. The country rallied at that time and came to the conclusion that there may be a need for gun control and even created a cooling off period. This makes sense in cases where people get into an argument, yet there is no system that is out there to help people in the mental health world.

A few hours later, a man who had the desire of destruction in his mind and heart choose to use guns to destroy the lives of 49 people and wound many others. As the story unfolded from my location, which was not in Orlando, the feeling was surreal. I live close enough to the location of this mass shooting, yet being far away on the day of and even through a week later, I have time to sit back and allow my inner anger to subside while my heart comes to terms with what is going on.

Information on the shooter has come out that he was a problem child in school, being suspended often. He had problems as an adult not being able to truly connect with any specific group. His wife stated he had anger issues, the club he visited recalls him looking toward men for attention. His desire for guns and the use of them calmed him enough to enjoy the violence of possibility. Any of these situations are now being called red flags, yet as a nation none of them really are. He began to acknowledge his connection to ISIS, yet his family and friends state he was not really religious and none of the terrorist networks knew of him. None of this to me says the man is a terrorist for Islam or for ISIS. Rather he is a lone individual who has a mental state which split.
I believe strongly that the discussion of mental health is not discussed enough when it comes to the honest situation of any of these circumstances. Orlando is working on the process of healing from a mentally unhealthy individual who choose to use the tactic of terror to destroy lives. I believe that the death of Chritina Grimmie falls into the same category.
The city of Orlando has rallied hard to come together and to find a meaning behind this shooting. The press jumped to terrorism because it is easy. The truth to me is that it is not easy, this is a mental health shooting which does not have red flags since we as a society do not accept the review of anger or discipline problems as mental health issues. We do not fund the option for working on mental health issues and we do not focus any attention toward this problem. Orlando is not the first shooting situation in our nation, rather this particular shooting targeted a nightclub. The situation of it being a gay nightclub may have played a factor in the shooters mental state, yet there is no difference in the loss of life, people are still dead because a person with a state of mind other than healthy made this choice. This is no different than the choice of a school or a movie theater, it is a location for which a person who showed many signs of mental health deficiency choose to create harm.

The understanding of this choice is not common, yet it is understood in the research components of psychology. Discussing banning guns for people with mental health will not remove the issues we face today, for the people we want the guns taken away from do not always show issues and or do have ways to find guns. Creating a system whereupon a person with red flags is sent to a counselor to work on their issues sounds like a great idea, yet it slaps the constitution so loudly that the ACLU would not allow it and the politicians would never fund it.

This means, that within the community, we will all bond together, the same as we did for 9/11, Sandy Hook, Columbine and even Denver, yet the ultimate reality is nothing will change. The press will continue to vilify this as an act of terror to sell ratings, and the people of the city will hold onto every word that is said as gospel.

For me, this is the saddest part of the story. Until we are willing as a society to realize that within every community lies many ticking issues that with counseling can be helped, stories such as these will continue.

If you are around people who may have anger issues or maybe showing signs of wanting to target a specific group, ask them to get help. There are support groups out there, yet ranting about one person for what they did in the name of religion or sexual preference is the final step. There are many steps prior to this that can help solve the problem.

6 Steps to Tackling Bullying in the Workplace

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The following was found posted by David Liddle on LinkedIn and I thought it appropriate to share:

Bullying appears to be a serious problem in our workplaces. Data from The TCM Group suggests that around 75% of workplace grievances involve an allegation, or allegations, of bullying and the situation appears to be getting worse.

More and more organizations are recognizing that bullying is a serious issue, often through issues being raised in internal audits or staff satisfaction surveys.

One recent high-profile example is the London Ambulance Service. An investigation found that there was a bullying and harassment culture embedded in the organization and identified numerous examples of verbal and physical abuse and harassment of staff.

The organization’s Chief Executive, Dr Fionna Moore, publicly apologized for the problems, saying
“from today, we will no longer tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind, at any level.”

So why is there so much bullying, what is going so wrong? There are two key factors at play here:

The first reason is the impact of the recession in the workplace. With things so tough in the economy since the financial crisis began 7 years ago, people have been keeping their heads down at work. Staying busy, trying not to rock the boat or cause any problems. Many people have felt fearful they could lose their jobs. That has meant worries about bullying and conflict being suppressed as other worries took priority.
As the economy recovers though, people are more willing to express how they feel about their work situation and more likely to put their needs forward. We are starting to see more complaints being made again.

The second reason
 there appears to be so much bullying is the fact that it has become something of a catch-all term used for all workplace conflict.

Employees sometimes have no other way of describing their experience. Often when people experience problems at work they look to the definition of bullying in the workplace to frame their experience.
Many times, when we are brought in to an organization to look at a bullying situation, when we talk to those bringing the complaint, what we actually discover is a problem caused by loss of esteem or loss of confidence or even loss of faith in a manager. A breakdown in the psychological contract between the manager and the employee. This leads to a breakdown in trust. It is the breakdown of trust that is often codified as bullying.

Bullying is a term that is used to describe:

  • An unresolved conflict
  • Distress and fear
  • Loss of control
  • Feelings of insecurity, isolation or vulnerability
  • Feelings of hopelessness or powerlessness
  • A loss of trust

All these issues are important to address but they are not bullying as we have traditionally understood the term. Complex issues are being papered over by the term bullying. In that sense, the term bullying is a problem.
The term bullying itself is doing more harm than it is doing good. It conjures up images of an ogre, a villain and a sociopathic monster. This is simply not the reality of most workplaces. Anti-bullying initiatives need to be far more sophisticated than simply saying that bullying won’t be tolerated”.

While bullying is a very serious issue, the widespread use of the term can be a real problem. It apportions clear blame and tends to single out one person as the problem – the bully. For managers, being labelled a bully can be a career-defining moment. It makes everyone very fearful once the term is mentioned. It is important to say at this point that, of course, malicious, deliberate bullying does happen. When it does it needs to be dealt with quickly and decisively. Managers need to have the right skills to set up and carry out investigations when necessary. They need to be objective and able to carry out factual assessments. But we also need to give employees and managers the skills to identify when the problem might be more subtle.

Here are some tips for identifying and addressing bullying and conflict in your organization.

1. Gather evidence of people’s experience

Whether it is staff surveys, regular meetings, special summits, or other methods, gather data on what problems people are facing and what the root causes might be. This kind of proactive ‘problem seeking’ requires courage from an organization but will really help tackle issues early on. Being proactive is an enormous advantage.

2. Take a hard look at your organization’s grievance procedure

Is your conflict resolution framework perpetuating a right/wrong, defend/attack, win/lose approach to problems in the workplace? The traditional approach to handling grievances is based on a judicial-style investigation of who is at fault. This can often increase rifts in the workplace and rarely uncovers the root cause or an issue. It rarely, if ever resoles the underlying issues. Reframing grievance procedures to include mediation and other restorative approaches can shift the focus to collaboration and collective problem solving when problems arise.

3. Remember, bullying can be upwards as wells as downwards

Often we perceive bullying as a top-down phenomenon; managers treating their employees unfairly. This does happen, of course, but bullying can be up, down, sideways and diagonal. It is also important to bear in mind that in some cases bullying allegations may themselves be an example of bullying.

4. Bring the ‘holy trinity’ together to develop early warning systems

By bringing on board the ‘holy trinity’ of stakeholders – HR, management and unions you can maximize your chances of catching problems early. Joint initiatives encouraging early reporting of issues really help resolve difficulties quickly. Initiatives can be intranet pages, printed materials, special meetings – anything that has the support of everyone in the organization and will help embed the culture. Meet regularly to assess the effectiveness of existing systems and look at updating them as needed.

5. Offer career long training and support
Training and support needs to be available for managers on an ongoing basis. Not just ‘sheep dip’ training – everyone going on a one day course before being left to fend for themselves. From the moment managers are appointed, dealing with conflict needs to be part of their core competencies so that they understand what is expected of them and can access the support they need. Emotional intelligence and compassion should be recognised as key managerial skills. Managers who don’t feel they will be supported when dealing with conflict are more likely to ignore it or even suppress itz

6. Constant review

As with any good practice, keep conflict management policies under constant review. This isn’t something that can be set up and forgotten about. There needs to be an active monitoring of framework effectiveness rather than a passive approach which waits until problems arise.

Finally it is important to remember that conflict exists in every single organization. It is part of life and part of working life. Don’t be afraid to talk about it and promote the systems you have in place to deal with it. Talking about how you deal with bullying, harassment and conflict in general doesn’t make you look like a bad employer struggling with a problem, it makes you look like a good one, dealing with a difficult fact of life.

What do you think?

  • Have you ever experienced bullying at work – how did your organization respond?
  • Do you agree that mediation offers an effective remedy to workplace disputes?
  • Are you an HR professional who has introduced a bullying initiative – what challenges did you face and what impact did it have?

Please share this article with others. Please also leave your comments and thoughts in the comments area of this post and I will gladly respond.

This is 2015 – Time to let go of a Fake History

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There seems to be an interesting situation occurring in the United States.
On 06/25/2015, the Supreme Court brought into law the ability for a man and a man to marry one another. The same ruling also allows for a woman and a woman to do the same
This is what confuses me. The United State of America, the most free nation in the world, the most advanced nation in the world and the wealthiest nation in the world has to have a major vote to allow people to marry.

The arguments for why these people cannot marry are strictly based in religion. Which is interesting to me, since religion had nothing to do with marriage until the Protestant Reformation. Prior to this time period (approximately 16th century) the desire to marry can best be seen by reading pride and prejudice. The art of offering a daughter to a family for wealth, riches or status. There are several books written on this topic, I would like to suggest every person questioning this marriage decision (including the 4 judges of the Supreme Court) read “Marriage a History” and “Public Vows”. Both of these are books that outline through academic work the truth of marriage.

So having shared all of that, I stopped and thought about the history of the United States. Many feel as if the Founding fathers created a document that considers health care, marriage and even morality. The truth is they did not.
They created a document that made sense to them in 1776 which they felt over the next century could hold up. The Founding fathers never thought of healthcare, marriage or even morality as these topics were handled easily enough with a small population.

Keep in mind, the Founding father created a document which reads: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
A) All Men – signifies white men. This later changed to allow for black men and even later than that, all women. The United States has tip toed into each area of humanity, since it was designed to be served by and for white men alone. This is the way it was in Europe at the time, which is why people who decry the United States racist are not reviewing World History.

  1. B) The Constitution is meant to be interpreted without prejudice and with and understand for humanity, by humanity and with a humanitarian mindset. This document was developed by people who studied more philosophy (founding fathers) than they did politics. These people developed a document that allows for a humanitarian option when one was not viable. They had just been given freedom from a dictator of sorts.
  2. C) The United Stated agreed to sign the Declaration of Human rights after World War 2 (1948) in which we agreed as a nation to abide by. Interestingly enough, the document does not say anywhere that people cannot marry, rather it says that people are free to marry whomever they so choose.

I have read comments from future Presidential hopefuls who I am more than sure have a homosexual person in their family. I have read comments from angry people who want to condemn homosexuals. These people do so in the name of God. This leaves me curious for several reasons. 1) God is Perfect, therefore if he/she makes a homosexual then is that person not perfect in the eyes of God.
2) God is forgiving, therefore who are people to make judgements for God? 3) If people could just choose to give up being targeted, abused or hated don’t we think as a society they would. Genetics are biology and from what I have read and deduced, being homosexual if genetic, which means to me, God created it and that person is just as perfect as I am.
4) All religions are supposed to be loving, caring and respectful – those of you that are spewing anger over this decision, which allows for homosexuals the same rights that heterosexuals have (Amendment 14 duh!) don’t you think God would be angry with you choosing to be hateful?

There are so many ways to make this debate and decision a positive one, it is time for the people who are afraid of social change to allow themselves a chance to grow. You are people who follow a church that needs to open its doors to people of all creeds and you are part of the problem within this nation, not the solution. I ask each of you to go to social media today, apologies for who you have been and to accept that hetero/homo sexual are people and they all now share the same rights – the ability to live happily or unhappily ever after.