Anti-Bullying Awareness Month – Addressing Bullying in our Schools and Businesses

Did you know that October was National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month? Bullying is a serious national issue which sadly has a negative impact from youth in the schools all the way up into the business world. This post will briefly share a little information and provide some resources.

Webster’s defines bullying or a bully as someone who uses browbeating language or behavior to be habitually cruel to someone weaker than himself. This can particularly apply to someone who has physical strength, power by position, or as a member of a majority group, uses this strength to belittle and harm a person. Instead of using their strength to bully others, people should have a positive impact by using their strengths to assist and mentor others.

Starting with our youth, bullying can be particularly harmful if unaddressed, and can lead to destructive behavior on the part of our children. The victims of bullying can turn inward, turn to alcohol and drugs, and in the worst cases get involved in gangs or attempt suicide. I wrote a blog two years ago in terms of how especially gay bullying can even grow from an individual issue into a serious drain on our national economy and well-being. (Link to “The Macroeconomics of Gay Bullying”).

An anti-bullying billboard I saw when I went to Atlanta for my college homecoming last weekend.

Here are some resources for school environments:
• The boys of Robert Land Academy in Vancouver, Canada have taken a pledge to not bully nor be a bystander when they see bullying happening, and you and your school can also take the pledge (link).
Anti-bullying resources from GLSEN (Gay,Lesbian and Straight Education Network)
• “Bully Free – It Starts with Me” resources from the US National Education Association.
• Check out a new cool book for children on anti-bullying by leading diversity, inclusion and anti-bullying consultants AK Consulting.

And now the discussion is turning beyond bullying in the schoolyards; business leaders are now more openly discussing the issue of bullying in the workplace. Last year I wrote a blog (link) about how schoolyard bullies can grow up to become workplace harassers. Even last week at my local Triangle Society of Human Resource Management (TSHRM) monthly luncheon meeting, we had an excellent speaker (Jennifer Alfonso of She taught us the difference between bullying and harassment, the different styles of bullying and how to identify them, the tremendous costs to a business when bullying is present, and the importance of having corporate policies to address bullying.

Bullying is bad for our schools, our country, our economy and our business and together we need to be vigilant to continually battle against it. Let us use our talents and strengths to build up each other and our world!

Courageous HR – Human Resource Professionals Should Be Dynamic, Impactful Leaders

Last week, I went to my monthly Raleigh-Wake Human Resource Management Association (RWHRMA) luncheon meeting and experienced a superb inspirational speaker. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., past National SHRM chairman, past senior HR executive at major firms, and current President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) presented “Courageous HR: The New Imperative.” (Link to Johnny’s speaking page.) Professionals in the Human Resources field left the meeting invigorated by the message that we can (and should) have a profound positive impact within our organizations.

Nationally recognized speaker – Johnny C Taylor, Jr.

He started by painting the compelling picture of why strong HR leaders are needed now more than ever in organizations: 84% of workers in a recent survey stated they intend to leave their current jobs when the economy improves, 1 in 3 will leave their jobs regardless, and 20% have a negative view of their jobs and have already “check out.” My own analysis: these kind of dismal statistics will have a highly negative impact on employee productivity and hence our entire economy. Something needs to be done!

Johnny summarized the various ways that HR leaders should courageously lead and think “outside the box:”

1. Recruiting which focuses on the finding the right person who truly fits a job opening and with the corporate culture.
2. Rewarding the true stars, the highest contributors. It is not about equality, it is about fairness. Those who contribute significantly more to the company’s success should be rewarded significantly more. And the rewards should not only be monetary, but creative and meaningful perks can also highly motivate employees
3. Intelligently invest in employee development. Employee development programs should not be delivered uniformly to all employees. They should be targeted. Train employees and develop leaders. Not everyone wants to be or can be a leader, so leadership development should be delivered to the right audience.
4. Truly love and engage the employees. Communicate to them honestly. Don’t hide and withhold information. Conduct relevant meaningful employee satisfaction or engagement surveys and use the information to take action. And finally eliminate stupid rules.

My own closing thoughts. First, we all can have much more fulfilling jobs if we can visualize how what we do can significantly impact our organizations. Go for it!

Second, consider contacting me to talk about how my career development / career road mapping services can be one meaningful program for your enterprise that can truly engage your human talent, making your employees more enthused and productive on the job.