Antonio Brown. An amazing NFL player who, at 30 years old, forced his way out of Pittsburgh, forced his way out of Oakland, and was fired by the New England Patriots after playing one game thanks to accusations of sexual misconduct. When the Patriots gave him another chance they probably thought they were getting a super talented misfit, who would fall in line and get his act together. However, from my experience people don’t change.
Troubling behavior begets more troubling behavior. Take for example the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in a major corporation who humiliated one of my friends last week in a public meeting. How bad was it? My friend texted me that she was leaving the office immediately because she could not take this treatment anymore. Apparently, it’s a trend and this person has a very bad reputation.
I encouraged her to report the CTO to HR because the reason why this man continues behaving this way is because he can. When no one has the courage to call someone on their crap, they will continue spewing out crap and disengaging employees in the process. My friend mustered up the courage to contact HR and guess what? Apparently, several people in attendance at the meeting reported the incident. Great first step, but will the organization have the courage to fire this bully? I hope so, but from my experience, it’s not a slam dunk.
Organizations allow employees to get away with horrendous behavior because they think it’s easier to turn a blind eye than to confront the perpetrator. However, they are wrong. Bullies breed employee disengagement and if they are not confronted, they will continue wreaking havoc in your organization.
WHAT CAN I DO? Institute a zero-tolerance policy as it relates to workplace abuse. The accusations against Antonio Brown are physical in nature, but someone being reamed out in a public meeting is emotional abuse. Both forms of abuse are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated if you are going to create an amazing workplace culture that no one can imagine leaving. As for Antonio Brown? My hope is he will not get picked up by another NFL team. As for the CTO, I will keep you posted. My bet is he will not get fired, but for the sake of employees everywhere, I’m hoping I’m wrong. I’d love to hear your bet!
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.