Why are there so many books describing workplace bullying?
Perhaps it’s because we don’t inspire students to make a difference, or to instill in them the need to do better. This semester I tried to change this situation through having students research the following areas: (1) corporate bullying; (2) mobbing; (3) hazing; (4) stalking; (5) cyber bullying; and (6) bullying within the school system.
The following is a WMOT interview with the “stalking” group: [MTSU Business class shares findings on bullying]. I wanted to encourage my students to start a movement, and to infiltrate firms to enact positive change. I want them to be the seeds that germinate into full blown cultural transformation within companies.
Corporate crusaders have developed an impervious nature that allows them to be resolute in the face of intentional harm. They have fostered the capability to be “immune in the middle of hell.” In Christ in the Margins, Lentz and Gateley describe the legacy of those whom they consider to be modern day saints – those ordinary citizens whose commitment to a larger cause and willingness to sacrifice for other people made them extraordinary among their peers.
“Everyday saints” are the individuals who treat everyone (including the difficult, the indigent, and the infirm) like royalty; they are the “prosocials,” who possess the desire to bear another’s suffering, to be the lightening rod in a contentious situation, and to stick out their necks for a cause deemed politically incorrect.
Wise leaders are able to obtain a moral outcome in spite of significant obstacles (Sternberg, 2003). One example is Nelson Mandela, who forged South Africa’s future on the platforms of forgiveness, honesty, disclosure, and mutual support. Mandela felt that the censure and retributive justice which his countrymen desired would only serve to deepen the wounds that divided South Africa. Gandhi, Mandela, and Martin Luther King all engendered a mutual laying down of arms through their choice of non-violent opposition.
In holding themselves accountable, these leaders ensured that love would be their spiritual legacy. They did not forge bonds of relationship so that they could achieve immortality. Rather, they nurtured them so that others could realize the immortal within themselves.
The majority of us willingly trade our inner transformation for the safety of an uninspired, repetitive approach to life. People are in most cases unwilling to pay the price for their freedom. To put on “the new skin of beauty, elegance, excellence, grace, and dignity,” (Sharpton, 2004) to focus our thoughts on that which is uplifting, takes effort.
A change in our habitual mode of thinking is a precursor to “lucid living,” in which we discern the overarching reasons for life events, and the subsequent learning for which we are responsible. Mental lucidity also allows us to peel away the layers of façade to see the core of our personality stripped of its pretentiousness.
In Holographic Universe, Talbot describes this exposition of personality as “gazing at the unceasing river of images that is always flowing through [the] unconscious mind,” (Bolino & Turnley, 2003) a process by which Dryer (a renowned psychic) was able to bore through the layers of his psychological pretense.
Individuals as a result become their own barometer of what is not right within them. If they can better sense another’s boundaries, they will be less likely to hurt their feelings; if they can experience another’s discomfort, they will refrain from inflicting future injury.
Risking one’s life for justice may be a rarity, but so too is supporting any cause that the establishment has deemed politically incorrect. Justice does not always entail risking one’s life. It may also include acting as a change agent in a culture which is lifeless. In The King’s Speech, a prodigious stutterer not only became king, but he led his country through one of the most treacherous times in history. The seeds of greatness reside within each student – it’s our job as educators to unlock their hidden treasure.
Bolino, M. C., & Turnley, W. H. (2003). Going the extra mile: Cultivating and managing employee citizenship behavior. The Academy of Management Executive, 17, pp. 60-73.
Sternberg, R. J. (2003). WICS: A model of leadership in organizations. The Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2, pp. 386-401.
Sharpton, A. (2004). Democratic presidential debates.