Posted 08/20/2013 by Brent O'Bryan
“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down” is an old Japanese saying that took hold in our post World War II corporate America culture. This phrase encourages an unspoken rule of conformity combined with an authoritarian hierarchical structure. Today it is important for business leaders to consider the impact this has in American workplaces.
When individuals see something but say nothing, or when organizations discourage, intentionally or not, the active reporting of concerning actions and behaviors, opportunities for violence in the workplace increase. So, what can an organization do to transform from a “see something, say nothing” culture to a “see something, say somethingTM
Organizational culture, policy and practices need to be objectively evaluated, and if necessary, changed. The culture of an organization will always trump policy when the two are not aligned. And, culture is often best defined by the accepted behaviors and practices in an organization. While the printed or preached culture may be a positive one, if the reality of what is practiced every day is not, senior leadership needs to take steps to make the desired culture a reality.
The following are some actions that business leaders can take as part of their efforts to help prevent violence and create an environment where all team members can thrive.
• Tame Senior Management Bully Squads
• Create Leadership Development Programs
• Develop a Culture of Openness
• Establish Reporting Mechanisms
To learn more about how business leaders in human resources and other senior leadership roles can work collectively to change, I invite you to read my article in Occupational Health & Safety
About the Author
, SPHR, is the Vice President of Learning & Development for AlliedBarton Security Services.
94 days ago
I have a question that you may be able to help me with. If an employee through Allied Barton is being harassed and/or bullied by their supervisor, who should be contacted? please get back to me. Thanks in advance.
69 days ago
What does "zero tolerance" mean when it comes to workplace violence? If the supervisor is harassing, bullying, or intimidating those under him--slamming doors, throwing things, yelling, saying sexist comments--is that the kind of thing that he can be terminated for? or do you leave him in place hoping he cleans up his act? Whats an organization to do?
66 days ago
The best way I have found to consistently act within a zero tolerance culture is to make certain that the message about what is not acceptable is made clear through a thorough investigation process. And, for an investigation to take place, someone must have the courage to 'say something'.
78 days ago
Thank you for contacting us. AlliedBarton has formal processes in place to help employees ask questions or voice concerns. You have several contact options. Your regional HR Director or Manager is an important resource that can help guide you. You can contact this manager through your local district office. Additionally, our Security Officer Hotline is available around the clock. Employees utilizing the hotline have the option of providing their name or leaving an anonymous message. Our Concern Resolution Process and Hotline are detailed in our Security Officer handbook – which is available on our employee website, MyAlliedBArton.com, under Dare to be GREAT.
113 days ago
I couldn't agree more with this article Brent. Too often times during my daily conversations do I hear people talk about situations where they see something happening but are somehow programmed that its not their place to say something. This programming needs to be changed. And what better place then people's place of business. This is in fact where people spend the majority of their lives.
113 days ago
Great observation, Jason. Programming is a direct result of culture (family, mentors, community, company, department). Reprogramming will require a change in culture. That change will require both individual and collaborative buy-in and effort.
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