Did you know that being stressed out could cause brain damage?
These are the findings from Dr. Klaus Miczek, a Tufts University psychologist. He found a way to replicate bullying for rodents. By placing a larger and aggressive rat in a cage with younger rats, Miczek observed how the more aggressive rat pushed and abused the younger rats.
Those younger rats produced more stress hormones called corticosterone. He also found that his hormone could stay in the brain long after the incident. For young and developing brains of children, such stress creates a higher propensity for drug abuse, alcoholism, anxiety and depression.
Dr. Miczek found that four different incidents, of only five minutes each, had a lasting effect on the rats. In children with higher stress hormones, the immune system is weaker and memory is challenged. Bullying in humans kills nerve cells.
Therefore, those who face bullying for years are not only enduring the abuse at the time, the targets are compromising healthy brain activity to stay in an abusive situation.
For more information on this neuroscience research, please visit Brainfacts.org http://www.brainfacts.org/in-society/in-society/articles/2015/bullying-and-the-brain
Read more posts by Leah Hollis, Ed.D. here. Leah is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.
Julius knows he has been bullied since his arrival on the job.
While Julius was a stand out during the interview and the search committee liked him, his boss is jealous that he earned his masters at Penn. Julius threw a wonderful party for his mother’s retirement. Julius was even quoted in the news. No matter how Julius succeeded, his boss turned up his nose.
On most days, Julius was either strategizing on how to avoid the boss or working diligently to add to his resume and plot his departure At least once a week Julius was yelled at in open meetings. He found his office locked. No one would answer his questions and he soon found himself isolated on the job. He had a few buddies from his last job who were advising him to just get out. Nonetheless, the bullying at work was beyond a distraction. Julius returned to his old habit of smoking. He also realized that at least twice a week, he turned to over- the-counter sleep aids.
Though he was once a healthy young man, while he toiled under the boss’s jealousy, Julius turned to comfort foods more often.
Hamburgers and French fries with a nice beer was his favorite. He watched more television and fought off some depression. While his work didn’t suffer, Julius’ health did. Like most people who work in stressful situation, Julius found that his health was declining. What used to be a simple walk around the block, turned into a tortuous event. Julius’s comfort food choices led to cholesterol issues during his physical. He had even gained 25 pounds and had to buy new clothes. While his work didn’t suffer, his health did. In reflection, Julius realized he indulged in all his bad habits as stress relievers from work. He realized he needed to return to simple things to cut his health risk.
1. Walking – any walking whether around the gym or around the mall can help burn off the stress hormone cortisol that is released into your system during stressful situations
2. Have a support system who can listen to you ( hopefully while you are walking). Talking out the situation can help relieve stress.
3. Consider your options with the job. How long do you REALLY have to stay? Network with colleagues to find a healthier work environment.
4. Recognize that the bullying will not stop without an intervention. Unless leadership intervenes to deal with Julius’ boss, or the boss leaves, the boss will continue.
5. Sometimes the boss who is a bully is insecure. Instead of supporting or recognizing great talent, the boss abuses staff members like Julius.
6. Dealing with stress is difficult. Forgive yourself for those questionable habits and try to return to healthy habits
Though Julius recognized nothing could be done with the boss, his physical was a real eye opener. Julius realized that people were leaving every year; turnover was common. While he was bidding his time and managing his professional life, Julius realized that he couldn’t let bullying rob him of his health.
He was smart, gifted with science, but smaller than his older brother, Tim. For some reason, Tim enjoyed the blood sport of picking on his brother, especially in front of company. Tim embarrassed Matty about a new girlfriend, about his fender bender, and the last botched haircut. Matty often appealed to his mom who said, “go work it out with your brother…” Soon Matty stopped asking for help. He was quiet at holiday dinners and retreated into his work just after dessert. He stopped bringing friends home. Once he graduated from college, he avoided holiday get togethers, or only stopped in for a couple hours. He recognized the taunting and disrespect not only hurt, but also took him weeks to recover after visiting family.
This all too familiar scenario plays out in the guise of innocence and coming of age. However, the interaction between Matty and Tim are imprinting on them roles of bully and target. Children learn early how to self- advocate, endure abuse, or self isolate to avoid the embarrassment when they are young. The support they receive or are denied also shape their experience around bullying. What seems like an innocent interaction leaves what Dr. deLara will call, “bullying scars.” We learn how being bullied as kids, and carry that into adulthood. Perhaps it is no wonder some of the most epic battles occur over holiday turkey or ham.
Throughout the holidays consider:
- Have you learned to turn your head when friends or family tease you? How can you break that cycle?
- Have you been the one to pick on others? Consider ways to communicate without shaming.
- Do your kids come to you to intervene in a dispute? Turning them away sends a message that their self-advocacy is not a viable approach to resolution.
The holidays can and should be a safe place to reflect on happy times and family traditions. We learn some of our most cherished values from family. With this in mind, one such tradition should not include rehearsing power differentials and power struggles that we take into adulthood. Check out Dr. Ellen Walser deLara’s book Bullying Scars The Impact on Adult Life and Relationships from Oxford Press.
Happy New Year and have a bully-free 2017.
Read more posts by Leah Hollis, Ed.D. here. Leah is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.
Leah P. Hollis speaks at ACE, addressing costly bullying behaviors in higher education
WILMINGTON, Del., Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — In this historic moment saturated with bullying, aggression, and incivility, what does bullying cost higher education? Hollis, President of Patricia Berkly, LLC, and thought leader on workplace bullying in higher education, addresses this question at the American Council on Education (ACE) Women’s Leadership Forum at Clemson University.
On average staff enduring bullying and aggression at work spend 3.9 hours a week ruminating, strategizing, and avoiding bullying; in turn, over five weeks annually is lost, per person in employee disengagement. In addressing close to 50 emerging women leaders, Hollis, also offered her research findings that documented stress leave, resignation, and suicidal ideation for those enduring bullying. Echoing one of the participants in her study she remarked, “It is devastating to have a great career and end up dealing with a bully…” Hollis further commented, “No one is a winner when a bully is allowed to fester.” In short, organizations that protect or ignore bullies are more likely to have costly turnover and low morale. She asked the audience, “Think about it…who wants to report to a workplace that is a war zone?”
Given the national attention on bullying, more colleges and universities are considering anti-workplace bullying policies. Despite the fact that workplace bullying is typically legal in the United States, many organizations are starting to recognize the debilitating impact on their employees and prohibiting the behavior as a matter of policy. One way to find bullies is to look at the foot traffic. People will leave a department to escape a bully, even take lower paying jobs or horizontal transfers just to escape. High turnover and absenteeism are costly to an organization, and some of the clear signs that something needs to change. Given the stressful times facing higher education, civility is needed more than ever.
Dr. Leah P. Hollis will speak at ACE’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. in late November, 2016. She is the author of Bully in the Ivory Tower: How Aggression and Incivility Erode American Higher Education (2012). Her recent book, The Coercive Community College: Bullying and Its Costly Impact on the Mission to Serve Underrepresented Populations was published by Emerald Publications (UK) (2016). She is an assistant professor at Morgan State University who can be reached through her website at www.diversitytrainingconsultants.com.
CONTACT: Warren, 1-610-990-6588
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/leah-p-hollis-speaks-at-ace-addressing-costly-bullying-behaviors-in-higher-education-300361845.html
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Over the past year, higher education has had an intense national conversation about the need to diversify its faculty, staff and executive administration.
This time has long been coming, as a majority of the young people born are black, brown and beige. The United States is evolving into a “minority-majority” country.
When I started my career in the early 1990s, often the word “tolerance” was used. TOLERANCE… and all I could think of is tolerating the taste of bad medicine, tolerating the cold. TOLERANCE. The word doesn’t mean you want me there… just that you tolerate me, put up with me.
In 2016, this newer wave of activism by our young people has challenged tolerance and transcended to INCLUSION. The cultures from our community mosaic should be included, and not just in a culinary way. So often inclusion is dealt with by serving different foods from around the world… there is much more to it than that.
Inclusion means tempering those micro aggressions, comments that show one’s bias about race, gender, or sexual orientation. Inclusion means allowing and truly inviting other voices to the table, without reprisal. Inclusion means equal pay for equal work, while differential pay shows whom you truly value. Inclusion means striving to understand people who grew up in different communities, backgrounds, and social economic status, and avoid jumping to conclusions about what they/we should or should not study, read, or write.
We have an awesome time here; sure change is contentious, but we have a change to truly create that new nation.
What we need to realize, is that the change is now, upon us know at work, in school, in our communities. Much more than food for thought.
Originally posted on Annie Jennings WIRE
For National Bullying Prevention Month- Is Your Brand NICE?
We all go through this world… a world full of political leaders who spend more time sniping than talking to the true issues. We have service providers who cut corners, and people who do the bare minimum just to get by. We live in a country where shootings are commonplace. Scams and phishing schemes flood the Internet. Nonetheless, we can still be NICE and sway the balance back to civility.
A few weeks back I had to get some service done in my home. When I called in a panic, the lady answering the phone was NICE. She understood my panic and continued to gather information, with please and thank you strung along in the conversion. She assured me she understood my concerns and that the company would come out around my hectic schedule.
When the service man arrived, he offered a comprehensive explanation of the malfunction. He told us about upcoming regulations that will affect future service. He took the time to nicely explain how to prevent the problem again. Once the service visit was complete, we received a survey on how the service was conducted.
While no one wants to face breaking appliances, all I could think when the experience was over… their brand is nice. The appliance was fixed; we knew what to anticipate in the future and knew how to follow up if there were future problems.
Please note I am not saying nice means vacating our responsibility for self- advocacy. I am not saying we should let people walk over us and be so nice that we are taken advantage of. I will say, especially in National Bullying Prevention Month, we should be nice to each other. We should strive to continuously educate each other how to interact with civility. Collectively, our brand should be nice.
Olympic State of Mind
This week the world descends on Rio De Janeiro for the Summer Olympic Games. The pageantry and excitement hold the attention of the world for the two weeks that world class athletes compete for some of the loftiest accolades in amateur sports. While the Olympic games bring national pride to any country with participating Olympic athletes, it also is a world-class symbol of diversity.
The Olympic flag with a white background and rings blue, yellow, black, green and red represents the flags of the
countries when the modern Olympic games started in 1912. The Olympics is not only built on diversity, but requires diversity. Athletes from across the globe, regardless of race, gender, or national origin come together to create some of the best athletic competitions in the world, and typically in a sportsman like manner.
This Olympic state of mind that reflects diversity is something we all can continue to embrace in our schools and workplaces.
A diverse state of mind from all those who come to the boardroom or homeroom can help us perform at our personal best. Just like the Olympics require a diversity of talents, our workplaces require such as well. In a historical moment with a particularly contentious political process, with violence and aggression costing lives for citizens and law enforcement alike, we all can strive for an Olympic state of mind.
I recognize that the troubles facing our society are not simply solved in reflecting on athletic competition; nonetheless, just as a cross section of global athletes and a fair playing field is needed for a successful Olympics, a cross section of diverse citizens and a fair playing field is also needed for us in our day to day walk of life. Good luck to the United States Olympic Team.
Steve was hired as the new associate vice president of the mid west region.
The last four quarters, his division faced declining production and slipping revenue. Investors were concerned; the board was ready to take prisoners. Steve was the solution.
He inherited a beleaguered staff. The morale was low, and turnover increasing. Several reports had errors and projections were not accurate. The remaining staff operated in fear. Steve figured he had to “lower the boom” to straighten out the division. He held early meetings, insisted on weekly accounts of departmental time, and shaved 15 minutes off the lunch period. The staff responded. Some quit while others spiraled further into a mild depression.
After his first month he abruptly leaves a staff meeting barking, “nothing had changed!” There were still errors, still problems, and still low productivity. His assistant was on his heels as he marched into the office. He slammed the door as the assistant entered. Steve punctuated his small tantrum with the comment “I’m not here to make friends!”
The assistant quietly looked up from her note pad and simply stated, “Maybe you should be…”
Often new executives take on a job that requires restructuring, reorganization or some other tough decisions. A common mantra is “I’m not here to make friends.” However, while staff may not be invited for Thanksgiving dinner or birthday parties, they are people who consume most of our waking time. We should strive to be friendly.
Whether someone is the boss, or a middle manager, everyone has a responsibility to be civil and courteous.
Developing a rapport with staff in which office friendships can flourish can go a long way to developing internal motivation and productivity. People who MUST work will work the terms of the contract and leave when the listen blows. People who TRUST are motivated by an affinity for the job and people around them will go the extra mile to meet objectives and maintain a positive environment.
Maybe the problem with office morale is someone needs to be there to form office friendships.
Ever wonder why it is tough to return to work after a five star vacation?
Think of the courtesy and service anyone receives when visiting a classy hotel. Visitors are greeted kindly “How was your flight…” or “May I help you with your bags?” The concierge will look for places to visit and offer directions. Housekeeping will turn down the pillow and leave a chocolate. Everyone typically has a smile on his or her faces, and visitors leave considering a return stay. The entire experience is MORE than civil.
What would a five star workplace look like? Colleagues and customers would smile as you enter the door. Workers say please and thank you. All people in the workplace have a smile on their faces and seem genuine about everyone being engaged in the experience.
The summer months bring a time for many people to get away from the daily grind. However whether one visits around the corner or around the world, the courtesy and kindness people experience on vacation play a large part in the relaxation and relief when they unwind. Some readers may chime in and state that tips and fees bring that smile and courtesy on vacation; however in the workplace, everyone is being paid too. So think again… the workplace also should be a place, which engages people.
Here is a tip for anyone, despite the extravagance of their respective vacations. As we all go back to work, consider taking a five star attitude back to the office. Please and thank you are more than courtesy. The smile opens doors, forms collaborations and motivates people to engage in the task. A little five star civilities can help people reengage in the upcoming year.
Originally posted on Annie JenningsWIRE
She needed data from the research office, and also promotional materials from the institution’s marketing division. She was on a deadline, but still needed to move forward and show progress.
Layla was referred to Vivien in research. Vivien had come highly recommended and apparently a very competent colleague. During Layla’s initial contact with Vivien, they made a series of agreements about time line, gathering data, and how it should be conveyed for Layla’s project. Layla even developed a grid to confirm data in an effort to make Vivien’s job easier.
But something went wrong.
After the initial contact, Vivien didn’t welcome direct phone calls. Though through email, Vivien insisted she could deliver the data within the time limits and insisted with Layla “…and don’t call me.” Layla knew this was awkward. How could any two professionals work without communication?
When the deadline finally came, Vivien had not followed through with what was promised. Layla could work with the delay but needed more information to manage other parts of the project. Apparently, Layla made a big mistake in picking up the phone for clarity. Not only did Vivien refuse to answer, Vivien immediately fired back with a very nasty email…”I told you not to call me… you are disturbing me…!”
When Layla mentioned this email to her office mate the answer back was, “Oh yeah, Vivien is just like that…”
This excuse is often given when someone acts unprofessional in the office. When incivility and a nasty attitude goes unchecked, the aggressor becomes emboldened and holds the office hostage with his or her nasty behavior. But what can Layla do? She needs the data.
How to handle bad behavior:
- Trading self-respect for a project is never a good idea. Ignoring bad behavior only reinforces it and makes the aggressor more aggressive.
- Layla should speak up. No one should put up with a nasty attitude just to collaborate on a project. One of the reasons targets are bullied or picked on is because the aggressor perceives that the target will endure the abuse.
- Layla can find another way to work around Vivien. Are there other sources of data? Is there another way to present the report without Vivien’s information?
- Layla shouldn’t take it personally. The aggression apparently has personal issues. Layla never met Vivien before, and doesn’t have a history to make her that upset. Layla should check the behavior, then move onward and upward.
Remember, we train people on how to treat us. If we say nothing about the abuse, we are indeed accepting unacceptable behavior. Bullies and aggressive people act this way because they are “ALLOWED” to act out.