This week is Anti-Bullying Week in the UK and the topic is something that is extremely close to our hearts in the #BeTheRipple team. To show our support for the wonderful work that the charity BulliesOut do around the topic of bullying, we have decided to post out pieces every day this week, amplifying voices, sharing stories and exploring the way that bullying makes people feel.
We are happy to share another piece today for our blog series, a piece from Sandy Wilkie entitled 'Lessons from a 'Scottish Play'.
Sandy is the Founder and Co-Director at Greenhill Vista Ltd. He has over 22 years experience in OD/HR roles across public & private sectors. Experienced in OD, Facilitation, Employee Engagement, Creative Writing, Leadership Development, Event Management and agitation.
You can find him on LinkedIn: Here.
Over to Sandy:
Lessons From the 'Scottish Play'
“I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only
I’ve been directly involved in a whistleblowers campaign to expose endemic & systematic workplace bullying within a health & social context on the west coast of Scotland.
I suffered harm, but escaped the organisation (let’s just call them B&A Healthcare Trust) with my dignity and life intact earlier this year. My well-being and resilience have since recovered.
But this piece is not about me. It’s about the systematic failings of leadership & culture. In a way that directly damages staff, harms their families, introduces patient risks and generally makes a mockery of the mission to provide high-quality health & social care services to a remote & rural region.
So why does it happen? Why do health & social care organisations exhibit bullying cultures when they are supposed to be demonstrating care & compassion ?
So my emergent theory for why B&A Healthcare Trust is has a toxic bullying culture goes something like this
1. The desire to succeed and hold power makes people driven & selfish; value-less rather than values-led. It’s the vaulting ambition of Macbeth that blinds managers to the harm they are causing.
2. The pressure to deliver on national targets set by Govt, at a time where funding for frontline services is insufficient
3. The remote & rural nature of some Health Trusts encourages local thinking. Not enough good candidates from outside the area are given the opportunity to come in with fresh ideas and a willingness to call out shabby practices
4. The wrong people are appointed to top roles for the wrong reasons; I have seen candidates put into roles because they are friends of powerful managers on the appointments panel. So the bullying culture feeds & renews each time.
Yet is doesn't have to be this way. There are some excellent examples of health boards, trusts and integrated health & social care organisations where values-led leadership fosters a truly great staff & patient experience.
So in this national Anti-Bullying week, some gentle words of wisdom.
- if you see or experience workplace bullying, call it out; you might just save someone’s life
- if you get nowhere with existing internal channels, then whistleblow upon the basis of evidence. Work in collaboration with others from a broad constituency, including locally elected politicians and the broadsheet / online media. You can cultivate a powerful team.
- harness the resources & support available from organisations like Bullies Out
- you are doing this for the right reasons; speak up, speak out to make things better
Stay strong, believe in better. Make it happen for yourself, colleagues and your patients/clients/customers and local community.
As William Morris helped articulate in 1883: ‘Educate, Agitate, Organise’.
Thank you so much to Sandy for sharing this piece.
If you are not yet a member of the #BeTheRipple community, we would love you to join us. You can find us on Twitter: @BeTheRipple2020 and/or in our LinkedIn community: Here
Thank you once again to Sandy, demonstrating the power of voice, community and standing up and speaking out.
If you have been impacted by bullying or harassment of any kind, please speak to someone you can trust at work or outside of work and get some advice from your organisation or externally. You do not have to put up with people treating you unfairly or unkindly, at work or in any other setting.
You can find expert guidance at the following links:
If you would like to submit a blog for this series, please send your work via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find PDFs of all blog pieces: