Bullying – No Joke

Just Say No

Just Say No

Even if it has never been an issue for you, it is probably obvious that bullying is not funny at all.  The BBC reports on one factor possibly contributing to playground harassment, apparently University of Keele research suggests it is linked to the use of humour.

Correspondent Sean Coughlan reports the University’s Dr Claire Fox’s comments that:

“Children who use humour to make fun of themselves are at more risk of being bullied”

It is as if self-defeating jokes send a signal to the would-be school bully that their potential target is self-effacing and underneath that, vulnerable.

I wonder how many teachers (or managers in the workplace) rise promptly to the challenge of tackling this sensitive area ?

As a start a coach might ask about the wording of any mission statement that the school or workspace has regarding the zero tolerance for bullying.  Beyond that, there are a few additional coaching questions that spring to mind:

What resources does a leader possess to promote the confidence and self-esteem of the people around her ?

How comfortable is she with planning what to say in a conversation with the perceived aggressor, making it clear their behaviour is no laughing matter?

What approach has she outlined to support the person targeted, without over-doing her show of concern?

Once the person in charge recognises the sensitivities in the situation, tackling bullying and then raising confidence becomes possible.  It might be uncomfortable to open up the issues when they are still raw, but having a clear goal to work towards is the starting point in each case.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22354326

Mind Your Language

Logo of the British newspaper The Guardian

Logo of the British newspaper The Guardian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe it is just me.  I can think of many issues in the corporate world that might be worthy of ridicule.  I wouldn’t poke fun at language that potentially helps bring thousands of people together into one culture across several different sites, and perhaps different time zones.

Sometimes though language can obscure meaning, or be quite passive-aggressive when it is used strategically (I’m thinking of some of the Public Relations flavoured speech of the character Stewart Pearson, in Armando Iannucci’s comedy The Thick of It).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2010/nov/01/stewart-pearson-thick-of-it

Anyway, here is the list of scorn-worthy corporate buzz words , proposed by Steven Poole in the Guardian newspaper this week (provoking more than 1800 below the line comments):

–       Going Forward

–       Drill Down

–       Action

–       End Of Play

–       Deliver

–       Issues

–       Leverage

–       Stakeholders

–       Competencies

–       Sunset

None of these is out and out offensive to my mind (as long as they are not strung together thoughtlessly in the same Bull S$!t Bingo-worthy sentence).

Mind you, if I was coaching someone who had ‘issues’ with an option they wanted to take I might have to stop and check what exactly that meant for them.  Otherwise the list is fairly innocuous.

Luckily ‘Kicking This Into The Long Grass’ and ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ don’t feature in the top ten, as those do sound too jargon-like, even for me.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/25/top-10-worst-management-speak

Strong Foundations

James Dyson

James Dyson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you may recognise there is a theme of ‘confidence’ running through many of the posts this year.  That’s not a surprise, as I happen to think we all benefit from confidence, which stems from receiving empathic and effective parenting as young people .

It is certainly easy to recognise the quality of stick-to-it-ness that confident people and groups have.  As confidence coach Pam Lidford says,  deficits in this area only show up when there is a temporary loss of the ability to ‘take calculated risks’.  Pam’s site is well worth a look  by the way  www.PamLidford.com

In the context of confidence I blogged about G4S last year.  In hindsight the organisation was over-confident that their standard recruitment system could deliver exceptional results in hiring Olympic security staff before the 2012 Games.

I also mentioned Sir James Dyson, who displayed the appropriate level of confidence in knowing that his revolutionary vacuum cleaner design would, eventually, work.

I recently considered how the young mobile phone app designer, Nick D’Aloisio, has the right amount of it to have successfully created and sold on Summly before the age of 20.

So it is no surprise to note that University of Warwick research relates to confidence, in the context of the effects of overprotective parenting.   The research is based on the characteristics of children who are bullied and the BBC coverage notes Prof Dieter Wolke saying:

Parenting that includes clear rules about behaviour while being supportive and emotionally warm is most likely to prevent victimisation.”

I wonder if more coaching for parents is a partial solution.  If parents can be supported in  encouraging their children to grow into confident young people (who feel adequately nurtured and emotionally secure) they may be less likely to grow up as bullies, or as those who face bullying.  Who knows, less anti social behaviour and aggression might result too.

An added pay off down the road would be a more resilient generation, better equipped to deal with the challenges that get thrown at them later in life.   If a fraction of that was the case it would be a good result simply from coaching interventions.

The BBC’s coverage of the story follows:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22294974

Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance

Roger Ebert, american film critic.

Roger Ebert, american film critic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are supposedly five stages of grief associated with significant change.  Elizabeth-Kubler Ross identified them as Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

 

Without commenting on the politics involved it seemed to me that people in Durham – and elsewhere – celebrating Lady Thatcher’s demise were acting out their anger.  They were nowhere near accepting that changes had affected local, national and international communities.

 

Lady Thatcher’s biographer, Charles Moore, singled out the BBC as a broadcast outlet which ‘behaved badly’ in stirring up non-issues about Thatcher dissenters.   In his grief he may have experienced some denial, as Sky News coverage of anti-Thatcher sentiments seemed to be just as extensive.

 

US film critic Roger Ebert’s inspiring achievements (both before his 2006 life-changing health crisis and subsequently) are also food for thought regarding the five stages model.  The BBC’s Ouch blog posting below contains details.

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/margaret-thatcher/10001850/BBC-behaved-badly-over-Margaret-Thatchers-death-says-official-biographer.html

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-22183313

The Iron Lady

English: Margaret Thatcher, former UK PM. Fran...

English: Margaret Thatcher, former UK PM. Français : Margaret Thatcher 日本語: 「鉄の女」サッチャー英首相 Nederlands: Margaret Thatcher Svenska: Margaret Thatcher som oppositionsledare 1975 Русский: Маргарет Тэтчер, бывшая премьер-министр Великобритании (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a post I promised earlier concerning the Iron Lady.

Back in the spring of 1979 at my school Mr Robinson’s sociology class was set a topical assignment. We were given a project brief to write about the upcoming election in any way we chose.

I chose to survey the local shop keepers’ voing intentions; cut the editorials out of the newspaper; and watch a range of political programmes on BBC and ITV (this was years before multiple channels and social media).

Being a bit retentive I still have the project I completed all that time ago. It is quite something to look back at what I wrote then, a few days after Lady Thatcher‘s funeral service at St Paul’s Cathedral.

My conclusion in 1979 was that Mrs Thatcher won the election because workers wanted her to control their soaring taxes.  I also thought that underneath her ‘mother knows best’ persona was a much harder woman, who could do battle with the best of them.  I additionally thought that her offer to strivers, council house tenants, and small business people seemed to have helped her secure her victroy.

Who knew then that, subsequently, war in the Falkland Islands; struggles with the National Union of Mineworkers; establishing the Right To Buy council houses and the deregulatory ‘Big Bang’ in the City of London would help her toward two further election victories and cement her reputation as one of the significant political presences of the post-war era.

Amazing what can be achieved with a strong sense of self-esteem; defining set of values (Thatcherism) ;coaching to establish a powerful personal brand; and an instinct for meeting the aspirations of the politically non-aligned.

Even then it was possible to see that by standing out so clearly from the political crowd she would distinguish herself one way, or another.

Older And Wiser

The Age UK logo

The Age UK logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Without a great fanfare Dame Joan Bakewell has celebrated her 80th birthday.  She has been a mainstay of the brodcast world since the 1960s and shows no sign of taking it easy now.   It is a long way from the BBC’sThat Was The Week That Was‘ programme with David Frost, to Sky Arts 2013 portraiture competition, capturing the essence of Hilary Mantel.  The Guardian newspaper has a modest editorial on that subject, which I found interesting.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/16/in-praise-joan-bakewell-editorialI was thinking of the impact of people living longer and enjoying good health when I came across some research from Age UK, the chariy for older people, concerning ‘Improving Later Life’.   Apparently one of the key issues for those in their mid to late 80s is continuing to have social interaction, to counter the trend to loneliness and isolation which might other wise set in.

Both of these points are important.  Remaining active and engaged with the world, whilst combatting isolation, help individuals sustain their health, well-being and confidence.  There is also a tremendous opportunity for self-discovery as there is more time in which people can indulge in some life long learning and further spiritual growth.  That’s a win for older people, their families and the community at large.

The Things You Learn From Rock And Roll

Yannis Philippakis singing with Foals at the B...

Yannis Philippakis singing with Foals at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have read my posts about David Bowie, or the Rolling Stones, you’ll know I like music created by established artists.  Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with newcomers, with the right attitude.  That attitude involves doing what you love for reasons other than wanting to be famous, straightaway.

That attitude is voiced neatly in a recent BBC News article on the Foals and the Maccabees.  The Foals frontman, Yannis Philippakis, gives a great quote to the BBC about his musical ethos.  He says:

“Music is its own reward and making music is what you do it for, it’s for the fulfilment and the beauty of the creative moment”

Equally important is the nurturing approach that record companies have toward their artists.  If the company is into making quick money from the talents of the winner from a singing competition like the X Factor they will drop the artist quickly if sales don’t meet expectations.

As a side note, I guess it helps if you have a robust sense of your own talent if you are entering those talent shows – like Will Young or JLS seem to have – since you know your abilities are strong enough to transcend the here-today-gone-tomorrow environment which introduced to the spotlight.

Anyway, record companies interested in developing their artists, rather than quickly exploiting them, form substantive working relationships built for the long term.  The BBC article notes what Martin Mills, founder and chairman of the Beggars group says about longevity being vital in the independent sector.

“You’re looking for artists that are more than just one moment, people that we think can grow over a period of time and become even greater”

The moral for the creative musician (and maybe for the person seeking a fulfilling non-creative career) seems to have a flavour of Laura Berman Fortgang’s philosophy: find your reward and fulfilment from doing what you love to do; build a relationship with an employer who supports your growth over the long-term; live the best life you can.