Young Workers

Inspiring Leadership of a Different Kind

We hear stories of bullying, or we may have experienced it ourselves. So often those who’ve suffered at the hands of others talk about how if only one person was there to support them, it would have made all the difference in the world.

When we think of bullying and young people our minds may go to the schoolyard and acts of cruelty suffered by the weak. But bullying can take many forms, including its own variations in the workplace.

For our working kids, this could be a co-worker being physically threatening or a supervisor making inappropriate comments. While these incidences may seem minor to those around the aggrieved parties, they can cause great stress and trigger reactions that can be very harmful in the short and long term.

Of course as parents we hope our kids do not have to deal with negative workplace experiences of any kind, never mind ones with lasting effects. If they are subjected to these circumstances we would hope someone would offer support in their hour of need.

That said, why not inspire our kids to be that person who recognizes when someone is in distress at work and help them?

The first step is to ask them about their workplace. This includes asking them about the people with whom they work. Is it a nice group of people? Are there any people that stand out in a good way? Are there any people who are difficult? Hopefully you will start getting a sense of their workplace dynamics.

If there are individuals who sound to you like they may be mean or abusive in any way, try and get beyond the fact – and relief – that they do not act out against your kid, unless they do of course. This is where you can teach your kid an important leadership quality – the ability to advocate for and support others. We’re not talking about heroics that could put them in harm’s way. The simple act of encouraging your kid to remind their co-worker of their rights will hopefully lead to actions that will protect them from further abuse. It will also have the effect of making them feel that someone cares and that they are worthy of caring.

We all would hope that if our kids were in that position someone would come forward. Why not teach our kids to be that person.? These qualities will serve them well today and be part of the foundation we hope to contribute to that sees them evolving into thoughtful individuals who lead meaningful lives.