No Wonder There Is Bullying and Disrespect in the Workplace


No Wonder There Is Bullying and Disrespect in the Workplace

Now please don’t mistake my heading to mean I support bullying and disrespect because I certainly do not.

As someone who has been bullied twice in the workplace (ironically by women), I could go on and on about this topic. But in this article, I want to shine the light on one of the reasons I believe this is happening.

I rarely watch reality TV unless it’s business related, i.e. Shark Tank, Tabatha Takes Over, SBS Business Secrets, The Mentor to name a few, and maybe you don’t watch reality TV either. But it seems many people do, especially the younger generation, so let’s look at a few commonly watched TV shows:

  • Dance Moms
  • My Kitchen Rules
  • Married at First Sight
  • The Block
  • Masterchef
  • The Kardashians

Now I have seen a few episodes of Masterchef, and snippets on the ads and across social media of the other shows and apart from Masterchef (and again I am only quoting from a limited viewing experience), it seems to me there is a common denominator in all the other shows.

That is to ‘Name and Shame’ in the most disrespectful way.

Why? Because that’s entertainment. Because it’s viewed as entertainment and not a workplace (which it is), it appears to be actively encouraged by producers because that’s what will rate and create discussion which adds to the ratings.

I see a lot of rolling of eyes, pouting, offensive behaviour and language, tantrums, gossiping, backstabbing – I could go on, but I’m sure you’ve got the picture.

But Masterchef seems to be different. It seems to have contestants who genuinely love food and understand it’s a competition but also want to support people on their cooking journey whereas the other shows don’t have this at their core.

Instead, they seem to want to actively tear the other people down so they can win at any cost. So the snarkiest comment wins rather than the positive one. And do the compares/judges/hosts/dance teacher pull up this bad behaviour? Of course not, because that’s not ‘great’ TV.

Do the parents or other contestants express their unhappiness with this behaviour? Yes, but mostly only to the camera or other contestants/parents rather than with the person involved.  Again, because that’s ‘great’ TV and they don’t want their time in the TV spotlight to end.

Dance Moms is a perfect example of this because the parents constantly complain about Abby’s (the dance teacher) negative behaviour towards the children and parents, but they continue to stay and submit their children to being bullied every single day which I find quite shocking parenting.

So on the one hand, there is all this outrage because we want bullying out of our schools, cyberspace and workplaces and yet it seems too many people love it and want more of it in Real Life TV Shows.

If this is what people are watching on free to air TV, Foxtel, Netflix, etc., then is it any wonder they believe it is normal to treat people like this in the workplace because the behaviour is tolerated and encouraged rather than reprimanded?

I wonder then if you have been tolerating bad behaviour within your workplace (and I’m hoping not, but remember you could be the perpetrator rather than the observer), instead of addressing it and re-setting boundaries and expectations?

So my challenge to every business owner reading this:

Have a staff meeting and raise the points in my article to see how you and your team really feel about these issues.

If you don’t like what you hear or realise you’ve let things go off the rails for far too long, then please use this as an opportunity to reset yourself, your team and your business.

Once you’ve done this, you can start being the example of the values and culture you want everyone in your business to portray, rather than the nasty over-the-top drama people we see on TV.

Otherwise, you may remain a hypocrite because you want one thing in the workplace and yet love the opposite in your personal life which is quite the authenticity dilemma.

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