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Finding bad apples

bad apple

Bad apples exist throughout society and business is no different – these people need to be found before they make the other apples bad. Before the rot sets in – as they say. I have spent much of my life finding the bad apples. I have observed that Business and employees need protection and that compliance alone is not adequate.

CCndexLast week I was fortunate to be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Comcare National Conference in Melbourne. I shared with more than 650 delegates about where my passion for keeping workplaces safe. I went on to tell of my deep sense of purpose and my thoughts about preventing inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. The central point of my presentation was that staying in a place of compliance is not a safe place for organisations to be and that ‘hope is not a strategy’.

I challenged the audience to consider:

If you focus, take a systems approach and you are tenacious, you get to play a bigger game.

For most organisations the response to prevention of workplace behaviour risk is defined by the ‘risk appetite‘ of the executives, directors and leaders within and of course, budget. The obligation on directors & organisations to provide a safe workplace is very clear. Regulators and tribunals know this and encourage compliance to a standard. A standard developed which is a minimum standard. This standard is often patently inadequate given the resources available to larger organisations.

We are seeing increased compliance and regulation placed on organisations around safety because compliance alone isn’t preventing or reducing workplace behavour risk adequately. It isn’t fueling the adequate pace of reduction in injury and cost reduction.

Cats ndexAdopting a minimum standard is like a sporting side taking the field in a ‘do or die’ final and the players only doing their minimum, instead of playing full on. Imagine the coaches and supporters viewing such an approach from their team. I have no doubt that changes would be made quickly to improve performance.

To me the approach for us is no different but the stakes are much higher. We are not simply playing for a trophy and accolades. We are playing for greater engagement, productivity and the improved health and well being of Australian workers and their families. Not just for now but for future generations.

Here is the irony – I know we have done a great job for our clients when they no longer need us…

Could you play a bigger game to keep your team safe?

Bullying & Bystanders

We can all be leaders in our own way. Leadership is hard, it requires focus and attention in every moment.

This experiment and clip serves to focus us on the importance and relevance of values based leadership to solving a problem and to show a better way, despite the personal consequences. Winston Churchill’s words in action.

Everyone has a role to play in stopping bullying behaviour, wherever it occurs. To quote this great leader again:

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” – Winston Churchill

 

 

 

Discrimination in Australian Workplaces – Looking Into The Past Can Help

Looking into the past can help us in the present. It’s 1957. Imagine being in this jury room. A man’s life is on the line. You are one of 12 people deciding on his fate. You have just left the court room. You saw him in the Dock, and he appeared fearful and perhaps sad. The air in the jury room is thick with tension. You and your peers are confronted by a person who is vocal in his stereotyping of ‘these people’, and he seeks to gain support toward a decision he wants. What would you do? What leadership would you show?


 

I love this scene from ’12 Angry Men’ because it explores the risks created through discrimination and bias and it demonstrates the rallying power of leadership and objective challenge based on values. Discrimination in Australian workplaces continues to be a concern. The conversation around discrimination in this country has predominantly been around the treatment of our indigenous people. The problem however remains broader, as our research suggests:

14% of 5000 (1 in 7) working Australians surveyed by Risk to Business in 2011/12 reported experiencing discrimination at work.

  • The discrimination was verbal and mainly occurred during meetings (it was public, just like in the jury room)
  • It happens at all levels irrespective of position
  • It happened most during organisational restructure
  • The older we are the greater the risk
  • Those people felt angry and hurt
  • They felt:
    • upset and emotional
    • sad, depressed and had suicidal thoughts
    • unsupported, alone and undervalued
    • would leave their job if they could
  • 15% reported victimisation when they raised a concern
  • Only 14% of respondents reported that their organisation made things better (86% did nothing or made things worse)

The cost?

  • 14% reported reduced productivity
  • 15% took 1 to 5 days sick leave
  • 12% took 6 to 10 days sick leave
  • 13% took 11 to 30 days sick leave
  • 10% took more than 30 days sick leave
  • 36% took no time reporting reduced motivation
  • observers who saw discrimination reported reduced productivity and motivation
  • Loss of team based trust and engagement is harder to measure

Of the workers reporting discrimination, the industry sectors they were working in at the time were represented from highest to lowest as:

  • Emergency Services and the Resources sectors;
  • Health;
  • Transport;
  • Government, Business & Finance, and Professional Services sectors;
  • Energy, Retail, and Hospitality;

I believe we can do better.  What values do you apply through your leadership. Change happens through leadership at every level, processes and systems. Change happens through how we talk about discrimination as a community, and change happens through policy, regulation and enforcement. We all have a voice that we can use for good or for bad. The choice is ours. The standard we pass by is the standard we adopt.

How can your leadership change the world of one person?

I love this short story about ‘The Star Thrower’ because I believe that people should have a great day at work, every day. I believe that we all have a leadership role to play.

  •  The Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner reported that 28 per cent of women had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, compared to seven per cent of men. The best way to reduce these figures is to not be tolerant of sexual harassment.
  • Over the past five years there has been a 56% increase in the number of inquiries made to the Australian Human Rights Commission in regard to incidents of discrimination. Values based leadership and programs reduce discrimination.

Adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

I believe that we can all make a contribution – person by person, workplace by workplace. I believe that people do their best work when they feel safe, engaged and part of something bigger than themselves. I believe that no person should be bullied, discriminated against or sexually harassed at work. I believe we can all make a difference, through our leadership and values. Contribution is important.

How can your leadership change the the world of one person?

 

Myths about work place bullying

Bullying Def

I have heard many descriptions and definitions of bullying. Most times people jest or diminish the meaning of the word as if they are trying to dismiss it. I thought it worthwhile to be really clear.

  • It is not ‘just’ a personality clash
  • It is not a leadership style
  • It is not a matter of perception
  • It is not a difficult conversation in a performance review

It is ‘repeated, unreasonable behaviour that creates a risk to the health and safety of an individual or a group’ The important thing to know is that ignoring it will not make it go away!  If you see it, or experience it – do something about it. Everyone is entitled to a ‘great day at work.’

Protect or Perpetrate

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Bully or bystander. Is it the same thing?

In Lt General Morrison address at the June 2014 global summit to end sexual violence in conflict – made a bold and powerful statement – polarising debate – engaging people behind his call for an end to sexual violence and greater equality for women in military roles in times of conflict.

Every day at Risk to Business we work in businesses who find themselves ‘surprised’ by the behaviour of some of their employees. I am very glad that Morrison has spoken out – and it is relevant for all work places.

He showed insights and strong leadership to make his statement , particularly in face of recent allegations about inappropriate behaviour in the Australian Defence Force. Morrison has said “enough.Here is the report.

Morrison states that  “They (soldiers) either protect or perpetrate”.  In other words there is no middle ground. If you see bullying and do nothing about it then you too are a perpetrator. Ignoring someone in pain – turning a blind eye – not helping is condoning the behaviour of the perpetrator and makes the witness one too/

His comment is very relevant to my earlier blog about ‘Bullies & Bystanders

Morrison also said: “There are no bystanders — the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” And I wholeheartedly agree with him.

Do you agree? – Let me know your thoughts

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The Impact of Bullying – Leadership Required

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Nearly 80,000 people have viewed this video which shows the impact of workplace bullying on people.

It explores why leadership is critical.

The definition of workplace bullying is different in Australia – but the outcome and damage it causes the same.

It is defined here as: ‘repeated, unreasonable behaviour that creates a risk to the health and safety of an individual or a group’.

Although the definition is different, the outcomes on people, business and productivity are relevant. The commentary on leadership is particularly interesting.

Take 10 minutes to view the video – and if you don’t know where your business is positioned regarding bullying and other anti social behaviour – then do the self assessment by clicking here. Workplace Behaviour Risk Audit Survey