I am so relieved! Someone close to me has finally succeeded in finding a new job, away from a bullying boss. It’s so difficult when someone in authority decides to abuse their power over you, as it is easily assumed that those with greater power also tell the greater truth! Hence, they can block your path out, enabling ongoing abuse. This situation repeats itself over and over, from the school yard to our homes, places of employment to the nations. Bullies are amazingly good at couching their behaviour, and they hone in on vulnerability. Sometimes they appear unaware of the devastating effects of their actions, although many clearly delight in the pain they cause others. This makes my blood boil!
Intervention by authorities usually depends on evidence, or at least some credible witnesses. Our Australian culture of mateship can help here. Who do you know that is being bullied? Can you assist them directly by speaking the truth to those who have decision-making power? That makes you an everyday hero! Or you may be a source of strength for them merely by coming alongside and believing in them – being a good mate by refusing to side with the powerful. Your encouragement could give them confidence to eventually stand against the bully. Your words and actions have power too!
Are we complicit in yielding to the ‘loudest’ voices? Let us look beyond persuasive personalities to evidence-based research and a good reputation of credible service. It is also wise to weigh whether the dominant person is telling us the truth, especially when the weaker one asserts otherwise. It is important to take time to unearth the truth when peoples’ lives are at stake.
I like what Jesus said to his mates about leadership and power:
‘But it shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant’. (The Bible, Mark 10:43).
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.