Power Strategies – a grown up habit of childhood bullying?
In its 2015 survey, award winning anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label,
published its shocking findings that 50% of 13-20 year olds admitted
to having bullied another person, and
30% admitted to doing it once a week – shocking statistics –
an estimated 50% of people entering the workplace
have bullied another, and some frequently.
Is this an unconscious childhood habit
that continues when we start work?
Last Friday two work colleagues were overheard in conversation on the London Underground. A man shared with his colleague how he felt that he, himself, was more outspoken and interactive than the other before giving his colleague the feedback that they were very quiet and didn’t really interact at work. He then went on to boast “I love being intimidating’.
We frequently come across bullying and undermining behaviour in the workplace at all levels including leadership. Such behaviour is what we call a Power Strategy – a way of behaving in an intimidating way that makes us feel superior to another and therefore better or good enough. We all have strategies that we use every day to help us fit in, be liked and succeed. For example, 85% of clients we work with have a control strategy – if I know everything and do everything I’ll be good enough.
We know from neuroscience that behaviour becomes habitual – hard wired into our brains – we become unconscious to it. Bullying and intimidation is an extreme example of a Power Strategy. At work how much of this behaviour is tolerated due to the historic view that assertiveness is good, and that status should demand respect from others? The prevalence of this type of behaviour goes against our research that the majority of people have a value at heart around kindness. And so are behaviour patterns of seeking superiority becoming unconscious habits that cloud our ability to thrive in a humanised workplace?
Do you use unconscious power strategies? Ask yourself…
- How do I behave around people I don’t like?
- Do I have favourites?
- Do I rely and use my status to feel superior?
- Do I ever cherry-pick the best bits of work and leave the rubbish to others?
- Do I talk over others or put them down?
- Am I bitchy? Do I leave others out? Do I gossip? Do I ignore people?
Ways to explore consciously re-wiring our brains and behaviours;
- Raise your consciousness to notice if you use power strategies.
- Be consistent. Treat everyone in the same way.
- See the good in others and step towards those that you don’t like, know or respect, rather than stepping away from them.
- Practice conscious heartfulness – goodness. Make an effort to be egoless and have a positive impact on those around you – whoever they are.
- Practise humility.
- Know your triggers, don’t give your power away and manage your emotional response.
- Aim to be the best person you can be – the real you.
Without these unhelpful Power Strategies, we can all feel better about ourselves & humanise our workplace.
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