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.
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.
In late October 2013, Jonathan Martin, second year starting tackle for the Miami Dolphins, abruptly left the team checking himself into a hospital because of relentlessly aggressive treatment he received from teammates.
Despite his physical size at 6’5” and 315 pounds, Martin was the target of workplace place bullying; a recent report written by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LPP confirms team misconduct from Ritchie Incognito contributed to the emotional stress and departure from the team.
What is compelling about the report is the characterization of both men fit the classic bully/target relationship.
Martin was mild mannered; unfortunately he had endured a history of bullying during high school. He had been chided to “man up, “or “not punk out,” when faced with aggressive behavior. By his own admission, he “played it off,” when met with a barrage of nasty, humiliating and sexually explicit and racially charged remarks about his mother and sister. Reports reveal that Martin had discussed depression and suicidal thoughts with a psychiatrist and prescribed medication to mitigate the issue. Despite the stress, Martin never reported the abuse to the Miami Dolphin organization for fear of being labeled a snitch or “Judas.”
In contrast, Ritchie Incognito had a history of aggressive behavior prior to bullying Martin.
In college, he had suspensions and ejections from games. He was accused for spitting on a player and arrested for alcohol in several other incidents. He was suspended indefinitely from Nebraska’s team, then enrolled at Oregon, only to be released a week later (Paul, p. 60, 2014). Despite his athletic talent, the Colts, the Ravens, and the Patriots passed on Incognito. In 2005, he wasSporting News “Dirtiest Player in the NFL.”
Looking at the past behavior of both players, they are the classic target and bully pair.
An overly aggressive and troubled young person evolves to terrorize a particularly passive colleague and peer. The unique facts of this case include a “fine book” where Incognito memorialized fines coerced through intimidation, sometimes up to $10,000 of Martin and other players. The press releases in October characterized a type of friendship between Martin and Incognito; however the independent report states Martin’s “effort to befriend Incognito also is consistent with the reaction of a person who is trapped in an abusive situation… it is a common coping mechanism exhibited by victim of abusive relationships” (p. 18). The report also confirms that Incognito joined with two other players, Jerry and Pouncey who bullied another teammate “Player A” and an “Assistant Trainer.”
Anecdotal conversations over the past months have laid blame on leadership, on Martin for being “too soft,” or on team captains for not reporting the misconduct. Yet, the independent report confirms this problem which culminated in the locker room was years in the making. Given the past behavior of Incognito, there is plenty of blame to go around regarding what an organization can accept from a player who has been previously suspended from not one but two college teams.
The recommendations are then for everyone in the environment.
There are many players in the workplace bullying scenario with the Miami Dolphins organization, just as there are many players in ANY workplace environment in which bullying and aggression are allowed to flourish. Any organization has a responsibility to vette out who is hired into the organization. High performers who are bullies, rule breakers and miscreants ultimately undercut the very high performance the organization once anticipated.
- The bully has a responsibility to seek help. Whether the bully is Ritchie Incognito, or any other aggressor, his personal reflection over the years riddled with arrests and suspensions should highlight a number of signals that need intervention.
- Bystanders and witnesses have a responsibility. By saying nothing, bystanders and witnesses allow the aggressive behavior to erode the organization. Saying nothing is a silent state of complicit support for the bully.
- The target has a responsibility as well. While this comment is not about blaming the victim, the responsibility is about self-advocacy. Just as a target of sexual harassment or racial discrimination has a legal responsibility to approach the offender, and then report the unwanted behavior to organizational superiors if necessary, the target of workplace bullying also needs to engage in self-advocacy to let his or her organization know when aggressive behavior has become a distraction to work performance.
This high profile Miami Dolphins workplace bullying case is proof positive that workplace bullying and aggression can emerge anywhere.
Bullying can take hold of an organization and ruin the careers and professional objectives of all those in the organization. For more information about the Report to the National Football League Concerning Issues of Workplace Bullying at the Miami Dolphins, written by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LPP, please follow the link to http://www.nfldolphinsreport.com/.
Leah P. Hollis, Ed.D.
President Patricia Berkly LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the home of brotherly love and sisterly affection, was the proud host of The Black Doctoral Network Inaugural National Conference October 3 through October 5 2013, at the Double Tree Hotel. This hallmark event was led by Dr. Maurice Green, Executive Director at the International Black Doctoral Network Association. The speakers throughout the conference were a literal Who’s who of the black intelligentsia focusing on the theme “scholarship, service and community.”
The opening session was introduced by Trabian Shorters of BMe.org. He asked for black scholars to choose a partner and look closely…. Then name everything wrong with the partner. The connection is this is how the world looks at African American men, seeking first what is wrong. His mission is to work with young African American men in the communities so society doesn’t perpetuate the loss of African American boys and men to the justice system. The task was assigned to conference delegates to preserve the black community and advance the progress of its most squandered resource, the African American male.
The opening ceremony on Thursday evening continued with a compelling speech by Dr. Cornell West, imminent scholar and professor at the Union Seminary in New York City. West urged the audience of black scholars and advocates to find their original voice. “Anyone can be a copy…” but one is always successful when he or she finds that authentic voice. West reflected on the work of WEB Dubois, Angela Davis and William Julius Wilson as examples of original thought that propelled the African American consciousness. He also commented on the spiritual center of our communities, or the erasure of such. Churches, mosques and synagogues are seldom found in the black community; young people find transcendence through music, expressing themselves over a rhyme.
Moved by his remarks, participants in the crowd asked questions about how black intellectuals should poise themselves in a supposedly “post racial” society. Other remarks included the reflection on the Historically Black College, and that the community college serves a great deal of African Americans.
The conference continued through October 4 and October 5 with key note speeches from Dr. William Julius Wilson and Dr. Julianne Malveaux. With over 350 scholars in attendance from institutions such as Cornell University, Morgan State, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, Howard University, University of Denver and Spelman, to name a few, the program was loaded with critical topics in academy. Presenters offered their primary research and perspective on research methods, entrepreneurship, the academic job talk, the publish/perish process, violence in the workplace and community, and urban education. The conference sessions were engaging, for African Americans, by African Americans.
Considered a solid success by conference organizers and participants, The Black Doctoral Network Inaugural National Conference had several sponsors including top university sponsors such as University of Pennsylvania, the University of Delaware, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sponsor partners also included John Jay College of Criminal Justice, AmeriHealth Carita, African Ancestry and Bme.org with the Knight Foundation serving as the title sponsor.
Leah P. Hollis, Ed.D. is president and founder of Patricia Berkly LLC in greater Philadelphia. She presented her original work at the conference reflecting on workplace bullying and its impact on African American staff in the academy.
(originally posted on JENNINGSWIRE)
We have been here before.
There is nothing like race and presumed murder that divides a country.
And when we return to our desks the day after the verdict, tempers can flare and teams can be divided.
This article is not about choosing sides, or analyzing the merits of the Trayvon Martin case or the verdict.
Of course prayers go out to Trayvon’s parents who lost their 17 year old son way too soon. However, this article IS about office decorum in the face of media sensationalism.
Here are a few strategies to keep the peace when you go to work.
1: Don’t assume everyone has the same views as you. I was once told God and politics are tough workplace topics. Controversial court cases should go on that list as well. The workplace is for work, to focus on objectives and do such productively. Bringing up divisive topics and insisting people agree only yields division.
2: Don’t view everyone else as racist, bigoted unsympathetic because they don’t want to discuss the matter. Such verdicts can be polarizing, and leave viewers projecting their angst on people and clients on the job. Such projections are emotional, and unfair to those around you.
3: Don’t engage if asked about the case. Of course there are always first amendment rights to speak out and speak up if one chooses. However, chances are that engaging in a hot conversation about this verdict can be divisive as well. Will it really make for a healthier workplace to have an argument about a court case decided in another state?
Again, this advice is not about right and wrong, justice for all, or just an angry response regardless of your opinion. This piece does reflect on the objectives when one returns to work, to remain focused, productive and collaborative. If engaging in this, or any hot topic defeats those healthy workplace goals, think twice before engaging in verbal jousting to vent steam on your coworkers.
Imagine further, that after such dedicated service, GI Jane and another 26,000 of her fellow service women face sexual assault while serving in the military. Often such assault goes unreported and unpunished, leaving the question, is there justice for GI Jane?
While GI Jane was fictitious, the pervasive level of sexual assault in the service is not. Unfortunately as Face The Nation* reports, a culture of power in the military leads to the pervasive abuse of women serving our country.
In the current system, the commander oversees such complaints; yet this can lead to conflicts of interest or lax oversight, especially if the commander is party to the complaint.
In civilian workplaces, employees are protected from retaliation when they voice concerns for civil rights as outlined in Title VII legislation.
Also, in civilian workplaces, employees can access a third-party in the EEOC and the court system if they don’t find justice internally with Human Resources.
However, it appears that the power structures in the military jeopardize this very right for women. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, has proposed legislation that takes the adjudication process out of the hands of commanders and instead brings such cases to a military board outside the chain of command.
She also reminded the senate that countries like the United Kingdom and Israel have already taken such steps to protect their service women.
The military reports that 97% of its service men and women go through sexual harassment prevention training. Another 9 out of 10 state they would encourage women to report such abuse.
Then why do 26,000 women face sexual assault?
As with any organization which subscribes to power structures as part of its management structure, when power is abused, those at the bottom of the food chain are the ones to endure such abuse.
This is not commentary on how the military should run its leadership training or functions, but it is a reflection on how the misuse of power corrupts. Whether military or civilian leadership, whether it is about abuse, assault, bullying or other corruption of power, it is leadership at the helm that sets the tone, who serves as the architect of the organizational culture.
*SOURCE: CBS News Report
Despite her corporate dress and swank presence, when she walks to her new desk, she is interrupted along the way to “fetch coffee.” Her own secretary while kind, comments under her breath… “Guess they hire them younger and younger…”
Layla recognizes that while she has her stellar MBA diploma hung proudly behind her in the office, all too often, people assume she is sitting at her boss’s desk fixing a calendar, or that she is inappropriately at the wrong seat.
During her first division meeting, the vice president congratulates her with, “Gee Layla, you are awfully impressive in a meeting…” Layla thinks, of course she is impressive. That’s how she got the job. That’s what $100,000 of graduate school was for. Why is being impressive so noteworthy while for others it was just expected?
“Micro-inequities can be like little paper cuts.”
Is this bullying? Favoritism? Racism? Sexism? Such terms don’t exactly describe Layla’s experience, though her race and gender inform the slights she receives. She is not being attacked over time or facing escalating discrimination. She isn’t in a hostile environment, and even is promoted for her work and merit. Yet these little dings and slights challenge her resolve and focus at times. Layla is experiencing what is called “micro inequities.” She endures comments and behavior that at times make her want to disengage from her job. From time to time, Layla has a wandering eye on the job board in search of an environment that is more inclusive and supportive.
How can an organization be more sensitive? The Golden Rule is a good start. Make comments that you would like to receive and reflect on your own behaviors as a leader. If you have a great idea, do you want your supervisor distracted with text messaging when you talk? As a new hire, do you want someone commenting on your age, race, clothes or appearance is a less than flattering way How would you feel if people make inappropriate assumptions about your work duties based on age, race, gender etc?
Micro-inequities can be like little paper cuts on someone’s motivation. One or two might be overlooked; but even mild and non-verbal put downs over time can disengage even the best employee. Subtle put downs accumulated over time for employees can hurt staff productivity and compromise innovation.
Employers and coworkers can guard against micro inequities by reflecting on comments BEFORE such remarks are made audible. Remember, everyone doesn’t have the same sense of humor. Lastly, an authentic discussion and request for feedback can cut through misunderstandings and micro-inequities.