On April 26th I spoke at the BC Human Resources convention in Vancouver. During my presentation I talked about the fact that in spite of my overwhelming interest in supporting my clients to be proactive and preventative, the main focus of my work is “fixing” relationships that have gone off the rails, relationships that have become unhealthy and often toxic for the individuals involved. The key to preventing a relationship from becoming toxic is to recognize the “red flags”: behaviors that signal the danger of disrespect in a relationship. Here’s a list of “red flag” behaviors to watch out for.
Last year, Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito took what was once thought of as only the playground pranks of youngsters into the mainstream of the adult world. Along with his antics of bullying toward his fellow teammate, tackle Jonathan Martin has come the realization that this behavior is more widespread than most people think and bullying occurs quite frequently in the office boardroom along with the locker room and still on the playground.
I recently conducted a workplace investigation that was initiated by a couple of employee complaints about a senior manager’s leadership style. This manager was very, very senior. As in close friends with the CEO and a “lifer” at the company. As such, he was widely perceived as untouchable. Thanks to the company’s commitment to a respectful workplace, that soon changed.
I’m referring to the choice that we all have to make when faced with obvious signs of disrespect in the workplace. This is especially so if the behaviour is not directed specifically at us. Often times in our workplaces we choose to adopt the old maxim “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” when we witness or experience disrespectful behaviour, and decide to do nothing about it. After all, it’s so easy. The decision is just to do nothing at all. Metaphorically, we choose to place our head in the sand.