Although the focus is on women, mistreatment can happen to anyone.
Abuse may not be intentional, but IT’S NOT ACCIDENTAL. According to the EEOC, 80% of the incidents will not be reported because employees fear of not being believed, retaliated against, and job loss. When I experienced harassment and the process to address it, I saw the waste of human and financial resources. I realized, like many of you, the internal and legal system is often reactive and not meant to solve the problem of harassment. Each organization is different, some more committed to employee protection. Effectiveness is created with intention and culture.
We are in a tipping point with our awareness of the issues, again! 45 years after the Women’s Movement started in the 1970ies, not much is different. I think employees need support and preparation to succeed in high stress, challenging situations.
Whether your organization addresses these issues or not, use these 4 key steps to prepare for challenging situations:
1. Understand that abuse is not about you. Don’t tolerate and internalize the negativity. Recognize the case as the power dynamics at work.
2. Recognize your physical, mental, and emotional warning signs that you are not feeling well from not being treated well. Toxic treatment is a health hazard and will make you sick.
3. Educate yourself. Learn about the relevant employment laws and how to protect your rights. Follow your organization’s policy and procedures.
4. Cultivate mental toughness, stay alert, and disciplined. If you have not experienced abusive treatment in the workplace, it’s hard to understand how intensely stressful it is. You must be TRAINED and prepared to stay responsive and not reactive. Any reactivity and display of emotions most likely will be used against you. Watch the importance of temperament and emotional intelligence in the media coverage for the next Supreme Court Justice.
Instead of feeling powerless, prepare yourself. Demonstrate resilience.
• Reject the belief that a toxic environment cannot harm you.
• Build your courage and competence to take a stand.
Previously published on LinkedIn.
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