Bystander Intervention in the Workplace
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Bystander Intervention is where you witness and recognize a potentially harmful situation and choosing to step in and defuse the situation for a positive outcome. In the last couple of years, many instances dubbed as Karen situations have arisen. A Karen situation is where a white woman abuses her privilege. There has been an uptake of white women calling the police on people of minority descent when they have committed no crime. Calling the police on a minority, especially a black man is potentially a life or death matter. We have all seen the news and have heard countless stories from black men and women on their tragic encounters with the police. The Black Lives Matter Movement is because of police brutality from these encounters.
The workplace is a representation of the society that surrounds us. It is the responsibility of a business or organization to ensure that it is providing an environment that is conducive, welcoming, and safe for all employees. In a utopian world, no strife would arise within the workforce. However, when you are working in a diverse company, we cannot predict people's temperament or reactions.
Working in a diverse company means that you will encounter people from unique backgrounds, customs, cultures, nationalities, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. You should not stand by and watch your co-workers being discriminated against or bullied because of their differences. We have all heard stories from victims retelling the abuse they received from employers, management, and co-workers. Others have had their mental health adversely affected, leading to depression and sometimes suicide. We all can take part in intervention by speaking up and taking action, which goes a long way in defusing potentially harmful and unpleasant situations.
The following are five practical steps to encourage employees to be accountable and responsible for providing Bystander Intervention at the workplace:
Note potential harmful events
Encouraging your employees and colleagues to be respectful and kind in the workplace is paramount. When we are busy at work handling customers/clients and rushing to meet deadlines, we can easily lose track of our surroundings and cannot notice the suffering of our colleagues. It is a good habit to pay attention to what is going on around you. It is only when we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, that we can help each other out in tense situations that involve discrimination, microaggressions, or bullying.
Take your time to investigate
Sometimes it’s hard for people to open up to others and request for help. When you notice a problem, take it upon yourself to investigate it and report the issue anonymously or help the victim through the reporting process.
Make it a personal responsibility
Discrimination, microaggressions, and bullying will continuously run rampant and unpunished when people in the workplace and society do not take personal responsibility to end it. Do not delegate responsibility to a third party, take a confident stand to step in to take responsbility.
Take precautions when intervening. It's important to ensure that you do not put yourself in harms way.
Alert the authorities
After intervening alert the authorities for further help in the matter. You can call the police, Human Resources, company management, or relevant authorities.
Bystander Intervention is the right way to mitigate any injustice at work or in society. Making it a personal responsibility to fight against discrimination, microaggressions, and bullying in the workspace, is one of the most effective ways to stand up for and increase social justice and inclusion within the society. Bystander intervention should be encouraged for all employees regardless of position, gender, race, or age.
Hello! What is one strategy you used as a bystander to defuse a potentially harmful situation in the workplace? Please feel free to share your strategy by commenting below. Help our readers to learn and grow more on this topic. Thank you in advance for sharing.
About the Author: Ty Howard,
Founder, CEO and Editor in Chief of MOTIVATION magazine
Ty Howard is an organizational development consultant and executive and manager development coach. He's an internationally recognized authority on personal, professional, relationships and success habits development. He is the creator and lead facilitator of the trademarked Untie the Knots® Process, and the author of the best-selling book Untie the Knots® That Tie Up Your Life: A Practical Guide to Freeing Yourself from Toxic Habits, Choices, People, and Relationships, as well as dozens of published articles on relationships, healthy habits development, empowerment and peak performance worldwide.
For information on the author, click on the following link: Ty Howard.