Bullying Doesn’t Just Happen in Schools. Here’s How to Turn a Workplace Culture of Bullying to a Culture of Innovation

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Bullying. Inclusion. Exclusivity. Diversity. Innovation. I just wrote this, and it occurred to me to what extent those words seem to go against it. They don’t even seem to be of the same vocabulary, let alone the same subject matter. But they are. And as with any change of attitude, we must understand the problem in order to act on a solution and enact some change.

Miscellaneous equipment is not just a good additional strategy. They can create a culture that unleashes all the power of innovation. But only when management drives this culture and develops the ability to lead it through its actions. Only when everyone in the company understands that the key to winning is to accelerate learning, create and innovate in diverse teams at various levels of the organization.

Related: How to Interrupt Workplace Culture to Strengthen High Performance …

The problem with the culture of bullying

The term bully evokes images of a child in a yard, knocking other people down and stealing their lunch money. But the impact of adult harassment in the workplace is not a matter of laughter.

A recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that one in three employees believe school bullying occurs at their workplace. This figure is especially worrying considering that some of the respondents said that their organization has a policy against school bullying. The study also found that most organizations do not have a procedure for tackling workplace harassment.

A toxic culture can lead to an inability to recruit and retain talent, lower levels of employee engagement, lack of creativity, bad reputation, and ultimately low profitability. School bullying creates an environment where people are afraid to talk, challenge the status quo, and take risks.

That means you end up with a company full of people who are too scared to try new things, too scared to make mistakes, and too scared to innovate.

This culture has drowned out innovation in many companies because it suppresses truly creative thinking. This is because the exclusivity of school bullying lowers self-esteem, making people less likely to take risks or come up with new ideas. It also impedes the diversity of thoughts and actions, two key ingredients needed for true innovation.

How did we get to this point? How have we created such toxic jobs? And what can be done to change them?

Build an inclusive culture to stimulate innovation

The culture of bullying is a culture of fear and is a culture that stifles innovation. You need to trust each other and have safe conversations so that you can challenge each other’s ideas.

According to a McKinsey survey, companies with racial and ethnic diversity exceed industry standards by 35 percent.

  1. Innovation occurs when different people with different backgrounds, skills, and experiences share their ideas, knowledge, and insights. If all members of your team are similar, they won’t bring many new ideas to the table. Having more homogeneous teams is like two people looking at the same problem from two different angles – they will end up seeing the same thing. Instead, various teams bring new perspectives and experience to problems, leading to new ideas and innovative solutions.
  2. Inclusive leaders understand that innovation thrives in diverse environments. That’s why Google engineers believe the company’s success is based on its ability to attract a workforce that reflects the diversity of its users. So does Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who recently released a note sent to all employees to remind them of the value of bringing different perspectives together.
  3. Inclusive leadership is the key to creating an inclusive culture. This leader ensures that all employees feel supported, respected and valued regardless of differences. It also builds a culture that fosters the diversity of thoughts and encourages everyone to contribute to the best of their ability. The inclusive leader adopts diversity by incorporating more diverse people into the organization, hiring the full spectrum of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, and so on.

Related: Creating a culture of innovation begins with the leader

Diversity beyond numbers

Diversity is more than numbers, as we often see in many companies today. It’s also about how we treat our peers and create a culture of innovation that benefits from their diverse opinions and backgrounds.

In a recent Deloitte survey, 80 percent of respondents indicated that inclusion is important when choosing an employer. But what makes a leader inclusive?

Inclusion goes beyond diversity to ensure that people feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued by who they are. It’s also about creating an environment where people are encouraged to work every day.

The logic follows that if companies have a more diverse workforce, they will have a more diverse customer base, and therefore we will better understand and serve those customers. Diversity alone, however, has not yielded the desired results. Studies have shown that diversity has little impact on productivity or innovation. This happens when leaders do not actively create inclusive environments that allow employees to maximize their contributions.

The inclusive leader can challenge the status quo, accept the diversity of thoughts, and listen with empathy to create an environment where everyone can do their best work and innovate.

Take away

The diversity index should no longer be considered a checkbox or an exercise to follow. It is an essential requirement in a digital world where the talent pool is constantly increasing.

It’s time for an approach that changes the game of analysis, where we stop segmenting people and start seeing them all as whole individuals. It is time to replace the culture of school bullying with a culture of innovation and create leaders who are inclusive of all people. We should make social profiles more about character than numbers. In doing so, we can all be better equipped to lead ourselves and others through the ups and downs of life in our increasingly connected world.

Related: Bullies at work: eliminating abuse in the workplace

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