Skepticism, especially with those you don’t know well, can protect you and the organisation you work for.
The most ambitious bullies and harassers, the kind that causes the most damage, groom HR and management to get the protection they need to bully and harass. If you’ve successfully intimidated HR, they will be resistant to challenging you on anything; it doesn’t have to be straight menacing intimidation. HR can be intimidated by how important bullies and harassers can make themselves seem to the organisation that employs them. They can make it appear to HR and management that they would be the last people on the planet to behave abusively. The bully/harasser can ‘love-bomb’ their manager and even take over the part of their manager’s job, their manager hates the most, for them, making it in their manager’s interests, to protect them. This is how the most infamous bullies and or harassers get away with bullying and harassing on an industrial scale.
Let’s look at Jimmy Savile; as true of most bullies and harassers, he wanted status, power, and opportunity (to get away with the sexual abuse of children.) The BBC gave him all 3, the era he lived in also protected him. No one wanted to believe that adults sexually abused children, so the culture invaliding their claims silenced them.
At a girl’s school I attended, there was a girl, unpopular because she seemed a bit odd; children who have been sexually abused by those supposed to protect them can ‘act out’ seem ‘odd.’ She was removed from that school when inappropriate letters involving her family were found – it was deemed there was something wrong with her! When I researched the ‘Your not my mother,’ ‘Oh yes I am’ Slater storyline for EastEnders in 2000, in my head, it was for her hoping that she escaped and got the support she deserved. What was the most helpful way to research the story for any Abigals, Alexandras, or Amandas who watched?
In the days predating child-protection policy, no one in the BBC felt empowered enough to challenge Savile. Everyone had heard the rumours, I knew, and I didn’t even work in his department. Anyone who did try and challenge Savile would be threatened with legal action. In addition, Savile created layer after layer to protect himself. Savile was a ‘Star’ who made himself seem too important to the BBC, to the charities he raised millions for, he duped Snr police officers; likewise, politicians – Mrs. Thatcher was a fan! And Savile protected himself via the vulnerability of the targets he chose, children who were ill, being treated by the NHS, in hospitals he’d raised funds to build or in children’s homes – easily cast as ‘bad’ girls whose word was not to be trusted.
From my experience within the BBC, the most charismatic person I met was the most abusive. Ever since, I have been very wary of anyone who is charismatic, the more charismatic, the more skeptical I am. What flaw have they worked so hard to deflect people from by their charm?
If you are HR or management, the most important thing you do is protect the organisation that employs you. With that in mind spotting those who may bully and harass is critical. Remember, Savile cost a director-general of the BBC their job and the BBC its reputation, so understanding how bullies and harassers groom is essential if you are HR or management. Come to launch to learn what I teach and why it works – how it bully-proofs individuals, HR, Management, and organisations on Tuesday 16th November at 12-noon or I have been doing individual launches in under an hour – message me a date and hour that could work for you. #bullyproofing #workplacebullying #bullying #harassment #bullyingawareness #bullyingprevention #anewnormal