MVP Seminars Blogs

Harassment in the workplace is a critical issue and all organizations must be careful in making sure they have appropriate processes and procedures in place to avoid significant problems. It is also important that all employees have a thorough understanding as to what kinds of things might constitute ‘harassment’ and what kinds of impact that might have.

Harassment in the workplace can come in various shapes and forms. However, in general it is about treating everyone the same way (i.e., fairly) no matter who the individual might be and how different he/she might be from others. As we all know, employees can be different from each other in many different ways. That is why it is critical to make sure they are all treated fairly and similarly.

If an organization is not able to maintain a well-established approach in this regard, it may have to deal with difficult situations that might be significantly unproductive for the organization. First of all it creates a negative environment that contributes to under-achievement as a company. It can also be damaging financially if the victim decides to fight back in terms of a lawsuit. In general, it can cause several different outcomes that are typically negative for the company.

That is why training in this area is critical for all employees. It is important for all organizations to have appropriate processes and procedures in place so that difficult situations can be handled through a well-established framework.


Sumi Mukherjee

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While conducting research for today's show, I found fourteen of the most common reasons people get angry. Keep in mind, these are only the triggers. Outside circumstances are never the actual cause. There are three root causes - hurt, fear, and frustration - that prompt anger in us. Let's examine some of the most frequent experiences that elicit  an angry response and what steps we need to take to combat each.
  1. Rudeness: When others treat us disrespectfully, the message they are sending is that we are  unimportant or less important than they are. We feel devalued; our feelings, needs, or input are not considered notable. Keep in mind that our worth is not defined by another's opinion of us. Their inability to appreciate us as we are reveals their flaws, not ours. Choose understanding of their weaknesses over hurt.
  2. Injustices: (perpetrated against us, another person, or any living entity) Natural human response seeks fairness for all living creatures. A lack of justice creates a sense of imbalance and disrupts the natural order of things. Consider this: life is rarely fair by our standards. Choose to seek to understand what is happening, why, how it can be corrected or used for the good of all.
  3. Being teased, bullied or treated unkindly: Anytime a person is being treated in an unkind manner, the message received is that they are not held in high regard by the offending party. People often try to exert power over the other person through acts of aggression and manipulation (the need to control is rooted in fear). Those who are truly confident within themselves are not intimidated by mean-spirited people. Choose confidence over fear, don't take personal offense, and rise above the incident. Be the example of true strength.
  4. Stress: (deadlines at work, traffic, family responsibilities, etc.)Stress is the result of trying to do too much in too short a period of time or without the proper training or materials. Keep in mind, that stress is created by the mind due to the unrealistic demands we place upon ourselves or others. Re evaluate your situation and remember to be reasonable in what you expect and do. Replace demands with sensibility and balance.
  5. Disappointments: (being let down by others, broken promises, betrayals, loss of trust, unmet expectations, could also include poorly made products and services, overly priced items, corporate or political greed). It is humanly impossible for anyone to be 100% trustworthy. Sometimes a broken promise is unavoidable, other times deliberate. Regardless, being prepared for disappointments by having a plan B enables us to continue to move forward in life. Replace resentment with understanding that not everything is meant to turn out the way we anticipated and that we have the ability to make every unexpected circumstance work in our favor.
  6. Failure: (inability to complete a task or reach a desired goal as planned) Many people judge themselves by how successful they are. Keep in mind, that failure is only a matter of perception. I may not complete the full marathon but running 17 of the 24.6 miles has a certain element of success to it. Choose to see mistakes and obstacles as stepping stones to greater accomplishments rather than berating yourself. Find the value in every experience.
  7. Family issues: (acquiring new family members, in-laws, new baby, adjusting to marriage, purchasing a house, infidelity, career change, relocating, serious health issues, caring for elderly parents, blended families) Families can be our greatest resources or the greatest source of tension in our lives. Expectations for family members and our relationships are typically higher  that for others. Choose acceptance as a way of loving and valuing each person. Prioritize each new circumstance and only address those of the highest importance. Let go of the others.
  8. Financial issues: (too much money or not enough - leads to worry and anxiety) Put money into its proper  perspective. Sadly, we equate success in life with how much money a person earns. The two are not even remotely connected.  We place far too much importance on acquiring it, holding on to it, and how it is allocated . Money's only value is when it is used it for the benefit of our entire planet. Replace the need for greed with appreciation for what you currently have. If money is lacking, remember to be grateful for that you have and trust the God will provide all of your needs (not desires).
  9. Feeling coerced: (pressured into doing something you don't want to do or into being someone other than who you are) Families, churches, friends, business associates, and society in general pressure us to be what they deem acceptable. Build your self-confidence and self-love enough to be faithful to who you really are. Live an authentic life rather than one of lies and deceptions. Set boundaries and choose self-love over the need to fit in. Gently release those you do not support you.
  10. Feeling unsafe: (threatened either physically, emotionally, financially; having your values or rights challenged or taken away from you; a threat to your livelihood) Being safe is a God-given right of every human being. Those who truly care about us provide an atmosphere of safety and concern. Remove yourself from any perceived threat if possible. Speak up to those who are alarming you. Fear, a root cause of anger, reflects a lack of trust in one's ability to handle whatever situation they are in. Build your self-confidence; trust in your abilities and have faith in God. There is nothing to fear. You are fully capable.
  11. Being tired, hungry: The need for rest, sleep or food are basic needs for survival. Unmet needs lead to anger. Remember that it is the individual's responsibility to satisfy their own needs. Choose action over dependence on others to provide for you. Speak up and get up: do what you must to be content.
  12. Pain: (emotional or physical) Pain lowers one's tolerance level and magnifies that which we are normally able to endure. In addition to addressing those issues causing the pain, we must remember not to impose our suffering on others. Choose consideration of others as important as caring for ourselves. Be equally as thoughtful and sensitive.
  13. Being humiliated or embarrassed. No one has the ability to embarrass us. Regardless of what someone says or does, low self-esteem concerns itself with how one is being perceived by others. When we are confident within ourselves other's opinions no longer impact us. Choose to forgive the other person for their insensitive or rude behaviors for their actions are a reflection of who they are, not you.
  14. Grief: The loss of someone we love, our health, a lifestyle we've become accustomed to, and many others losses can propel us into the grieving process. Oftentimes, we feel misunderstood in our suffering, or pressured to move beyond it before we feel ready. This can cause us to lash out at those who we believe are unsympathetic to our situation. Choose to dialogue with those you are closest to in an attempt to enlighten them as to your situation. For those who seem uninterested or unable to understand, acceptance of where they are in life thwarts any additional pain and affords you peace of mind.
Anger is a normal useful, and even healthy emotion that has the potential to initiate positive change. By recognizing our triggers, we are better able to either avoid them or know in advance the best way to respond. In each situation, evaluate whether or not the incident is even worthy of getting angry. With these few simple suggestions, anyone can dramatically reduce their anger and choose happiness and peace as a way of life.  
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Many school districts around the country are incorporating training programs to focus on maintaining a safe environment in schools. I have recently spoken at a number of these training events. Prevention of bullying is of course one of the main topics discussed in these sessions. In my presentations I often emphasize the fact that “understanding the bully” is one of the key factors that can help immensely in prevention of bullying. There are a large number of papers and publications that deal with the research and analysis of bullying prevention techniques and/or programs – focused more on “after the fact” rather than “before the fact”. However, if we can focus on the goal of understanding why bullies do what they do it will allow us to get to the root of the problem and promote a conversation and discussion on what we can do to address the associated issues. My presentations are based on my book that includes a lot of descriptions and discussions on devastating psychological impact of bullying, but it also contains one whole chapter on “confrontation with a bully from the past”. The contents of this specific chapter is often the central theme of my presentations at these training sessions. This very interesting encounter reveals a significant understanding of why bullies do what they do. If we can somehow get to the point of addressing these associated issues, we will make enormous progress in prevention of (and maybe even elimination of) bullying altogether.
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We all know that bullying has been going on in our schools for years and we also know that it creates an unpleasant school experience for the victims. Over the recent past, we have certainly become more aware that it is important to try to create and maintain a more positive environment in the schools for all students. But are we doing enough? Many schools around the country have now incorporated processes and procedures for reporting incidents of bullying. It is also visibly recognized (through posters and signs on various walls) in most schools that bullying is not an acceptable behavior. Discouragement of such negative behavior is certainly an appropriate thing to do. However, bullying still goes on at an alarming rate with continued negative impact. One of the problems is that many educators/caregivers/mentors do not quite appreciate the kinds of devastating long term impacts that bullying can have. It is often a common belief that schools and communities are doing okay as long as there are no bullying-related suicides or school shootings, and that once the victims graduate from the school system, these will all become distant memories and will soon fade away with no serious impacts. Unfortunately for many victims that is not the case. It is now being recognized that there can be a definitive connection between bullying and its long-term psychological impact. This is an extremely serious issue that often goes unnoticed and undetected during school years. There are numerous people out there who fortunately did not commit suicide because of bullying, but have had very difficult and traumatic impact on their lives for many years beyond high school. It is critical that educators/caregivers/mentors have a thorough understanding of this impact so they would be more effective in detecting and intervening as needed. It is also important to develop a better understanding of why bullies do what they do so an appropriate approach can be developed to assist students who are being bullied as well as those who are doing the bullying.
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When we talk about a safe environment in schools we must include discussions about creating and maintaining an atmosphere in schools where ALL children can feel free to be themselves and learn most effectively at their own pace. The most effective way school administration and staff can achieve this goal is by eradicating bullying that impacts millions of children negatively around the country. And this impact is often a daily reminder for the victims of bullying that their school environment is certainly not a safe place where you can look forward to growing and learning without any threats from anyone. It is well known that a strong emotional health and a positive self-image are some of the key ingredients for academic success. It is not at all a difficult concept – if a child is concerned about having to deal with bullying on a regular basis, it is simply not possible for the child to focus on the academic aspects of school life. Many schools do have programs in place that discourage bullying, and that is certainly a good thing. Many of the programs also focus on prevention, but very few truly focus on the root of the problem. That is why training for school administrators, educators and support staff must include understanding of the root of the problem at a very early stage. The school staff needs to understand that their enormous efforts in trying to educate children is wasted when a significant number of students, who could otherwise do well in academics, end up with devastating long term impacts because of bullying.
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