I believe nothing is more harmful and unproductive than bullying. And I’ve seen it grow right here in our own community and not with kids, with adults. Here is the definition of bullying: Using superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants. This includes, hate speech, and marking remarks that demean or offend. We’ve seen people take their lives over bullying simply because the words that were said, most often behind a computer screen, were enough to push the individual over the edge. It’s ironic that as we discuss bullying in schools and encourage our children to treat others with respect despite differences, adults are now taking over the bully pulpit. Twitter, Facebook, and email provide a platform for people to lash out, say untoward things behind the safety of a computer screen.
I knew when I was a writer and even in my position now, that I would be open to criticism. Winston Churchill noted, “You have enemies? Good, that means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.” Nobody wants an enemy, but you cannot please all the people all the time. However, no matter how much you may disagree with someone, it should not warrant bullying- ever.
We can blame others for this recent upsurge of bullying and divisiveness, but how we react when we disagree with someone falls solely on our shoulders. In other words, we own our actions, our responses and our comments, verbal or written. I’m not a big social media person, but over the years I have seen ugliness and bullying escalate, and as a parent and grandparent, I’m concerned. I’m equally concerned as a community and business leader.
In all my years of business negotiations, and there have been some tough ones, bullying never solved anything or served to educate anyone. Further, bullying was never a tactic because both sides wanted a solution not a “my way or the highway” type outcome. In my humble opinion, be it life or business, the golden rule when applied, works. Sadly, I believe that people, both young and old, have cast that aside because being right reigns supreme.
I hope that despite the intolerance of other positions or beliefs, as a community we can come together and respect different opinions. We will all never agree, that’s simply life, but we have in the past disagreed without lashing out and/or bullying.
I raised my children to know that some will not have the same opinion and that’s o.k. If their opinion makes you think and gain a better understanding of their position, that’s a good thing. But you don’t have to agree. I’d like to think I manage my team with the same philosophy, agree to disagree, but never disagree by making it personal or disrespectful.
Let me be clear, passionate, healthy conflict is vital for solutions, whereas bullying is simply oppression of a different perspective leading to one sided, often emotion-based decision. At the end of the day, I think we can all agree that solutions allow us to move forward stronger and more educated.
Make it a great day!
NACC President & CEO