What To Do To Stop Bullying In The Workplace

August 21, 2020 by  

In workplaces of every size, there can be differences of opinion and personality. In some organizations, banter can quickly turn to insulting behaviour. Robust management styles can be seen as an abuse of power. A strong personality might be construed as intimidation.
So, what exactly is workplace bullying? Traditionally it is described as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.”

Such actions can include:
• Being constantly criticized
• Shouting, aggressive behaviour
• Ignored, victimized, left out
• Picking on, regularly undermining someone
• Misuse of power such as threats about job safety, or denying training or promotion opportunities
• Mocking, being made to be the butt of all the jokes
• Unwelcome sexual advances

There is a notable lack of a legal standard for bullying – however, any harassment linked to a ‘protected characteristic’ under the Equality Act 2010 is illegal and can form part of a legal case against an employer that does not act against such behaviour.
If bullying becomes an issue in your work environment, it can lead to problems for everyone involved. These can include low morale and poor employee relations, poor performance and lost productivity, absences and resignations, loss of respect for management and damage to company reputation. In extreme circumstances, tribunals and court cases can follow however it is simple to take action to ensure that your workplace remains a safe, friendly place to work.

So, what can employers do to prevent this from becoming an issue in your workplace?
Firstly, you need a robust workplace policy in place, which has a clear statement regarding how bullying and harassment will be dealt with. This might include examples of unacceptable behaviour, with investigation procedures and timelines. It should always include what steps need to be taken to address this, from approaching managers and HR, right through to formal grievance procedures.
To make this policy most effective, it is always good practice to consult with employees about what they want to be included. With open and honest discussion, managers and employers are setting a good example for colleagues working together to make all employees safe from harassment.
As part of this policy, you may want to set standards of behaviour. This might involve guidance booklets, training sessions and seminars, extra training for management and HR, and even contracting external counsellors, trainers and mediators.

The most important thing that any manager or employer can do is take any complaint of workplace bullying or harassment seriously. All complaints need to be dealt with fairly, confidentially and sensitively. Any person that feels that they are being bullied needs to be listened to and the issue needs to be investigated.
There is an obvious advantage to dealing with any bullying informally, to begin with, if this is appropriate. It could be that people don’t realize that their behaviour is a problem, and a quick one-on-one discussion is all it takes to nip it in the bud. If this isn’t the answer, then you might consider counselling and this can be someone from within your organization that has received special training, or you might have an Employee Assistance Program in place where they offer counselling and mediating services that, as a third party, ensure that all issues are dealt with objectively.
If the bullying or harassment merits a formal grievance, disciplinary procedures may need to be started. This might include formal meetings, suspension or transfer but it must be objective, fair, confidential and dealt with promptly. Any disciplinary actions must be based on a formal procedure that is transparent with designated timelines for each outcome.

How to Reduce Anxiety When You Begin Your Presentation

August 11, 2020 by  

Do you need to calm your nerves during the first moments of public speaking? Here is how to reduce anxiety when you begin your presentation.

If there is one problem we all share as public speakers, it is being just a little nervous at the start of a presentation. For some people, of course, fear of public speaking is more serious than that. But even for the confident among us, the opening moments of a speech are a challenge.
We may experience the Imposter Syndrome—which tells us, “It is only a matter of time before everyone realizes you don’t know what you are talking about.” Or it may be the scary thought that you are going to forget what you are here to discuss. Or it might just be the (false) conviction that that is a serious collection of unfriendly faces out there.
Interestingly, these opening jitters are usually a much less serious condition than deep-seated speech anxiety. The “awful first two minutes” does in fact disappear, and before we know it we are discussing our slides or first important point. True fear of speaking, on the other hand, may already have been making you miserable over this speech for months, if you didn’t give way to speech phobia outright and found a way to avoid the speaking situation altogether.

So what can you tell yourself to gain the boost in confidence to slay this particular dragon?

You Already Know How to Be a Dynamic Speaker!
Recently, I discussed this beginning-a-speech-dread with a client. She is highly accomplished in her field and works at one of the leading organizations in her industry. I can almost hear the follow-up thought that she probably has as she looks out at an audience: “So what?” 
Actually, the “so what” can and should be the basis of her confidence and that of others just like her. Does that include you? It all has to do with having faith in yourself. And I don’t mean the religious kind.  When you know your material, not by heart but because you are passionate about it and are very familiar with the elements and concepts you are about to offer, you will actually forget to be nervous.  Once you get into your delivery you will be in your element and you will carry your audience with you.

The reason we get wrapped in anxiety when we are about to start our speech has to do with an over-focus on our performance. And that is usually closely intertwined with the information we will be delivering. We see our challenge as being some kind of superhero at a professional presentation. Precisely because of our accomplishments, we believe everyone will think less of us if we don’t perform at the level that’s appropriate for our position.
But audiences really aren’t scoping out your performance, in fact, they usually couldn’t care less. They are there to get something they don’t yet have, whether that’s information or insight or inspiration. And only you can give that to them. A collection of slides can’t do that, however solid the data on them is. Nor can a slick speaker who is light on actual knowledge. Those aren’t the ways to captivate an audience.
As I tell clients, you could leave your laptop in the cab on the way in from the airport, and still speak incisively for an hour on your topic. Who you are is the reason you have been tasked with giving this speech. So in the end, it doesn’t matter if you don’t follow the script perfectly in the first couple of minutes. You will absolutely still be delivering the value expected of you. Of course, you will! That is what I mean by having faith in yourself.
Why put up with the jitters or freezing on stage? Wouldn’t you rather learn how to love public speaking? Just try to enjoy yourself and if you do your audience will also enjoy your presentation.

When Memorization Can Help You in Public Speaking
Here is another, more practical way of ensuring that you hit the ground running: memorize the first minute of your talk. And actually, do the same with your conclusion.
Despite the negative press memorizing for public speaking has received, there are some solid reasons why committing your introduction to memory can help you. Obviously, doing so has the advantage of keeping you from stumbling through your opening remarks. Since you will only be committing a minute or so to memory, there is not much risk that you will leave out anything.

Just as important: the first 60 seconds is critical to launching your speech successfully. Judgments about you, and decisions about whether to accept what you are saying, are formed during this period. That is why it is necessary to grab or hook listeners’ attention and engage them right from the start.
There is nothing wrong and in terms of effectiveness, a lot right with strutting your best stuff when everyone is paying maximum attention. Why leave it to chance? Convince the audience they are in good hands. If the thought of doing that reduces your anxiety well, it should!