Craig chats about what International Stand up to Bullying Day means to him.
Stand up to Bullying is a topic immensely close to my heart. For much of my school life, I was bullied and this had a lasting impact on me as I grew older. I made the decision that I didn’t want anybody else to experience what I had, whether that be at school, home, or in the workplace. This is a big reason why I choose to do what I do now, because I want to help people choose and shift behaviours, as it can be really damaging.
Our culture at Rambutan is one where we enjoy each other’s company and have a joke with each other (some might say that I’m the funniest one… some might not), but we also understand the line that’s drawn. What I mean by that is being crystal clear how well we know the other person, the impact we may have on them and what they’re going through. We live and breathe our values, and the way we choose to be vulnerable around one another. It’s what makes us such an amazing team (if I do say so myself), but we’re mindful of what’s acceptable. There isn’t a hard and fast rule. It’s about the relationship you have with the other person. It’s important to have a workplace environment where it’s ok to challenge what’s unacceptable.
For many people today, it must be so tricky, with lots of bullying through texts and social media, where bullies don’t have to put their real names. Online bullying can sometimes transpire in the workplace, to unacceptable behaviour through emails. We have to work relentlessly to help each other recognise ‘this is what’s acceptable and this isn’t’, and then offer support to help people find the right way, and sometimes encourage them to speak up. For some people, bullying is like hitting a nerve. You may say a joke that takes them back to a particular time they were bullied. It’s like a scab on your arm. It’s healed now, but if you keep picking it, it opens up again.
When I think about Stand up to Bullying, it’s more of a question of how do I help someone to understand the impact of their behaviour? This links to emotional intelligence. We need to tap into our self-awareness, master ourselves and how we come across, so we’re always thinking about ‘how do I present the best version of myself?’ and ‘how do I help someone else be the best version of themselves?’.
What can we do to combat bullying? I don’t think there’s a magic answer. Having a Stand up to Bullying campaign, or having people in the public eye saying bullying is bad raises awareness of the issue, but doesn’t completely solve it. I believe it’s more about seeking to understand why somebody chooses that behaviour and helping them see another way. It’s about constant communication, shifting the choices that people make and calling people out. This isn’t an easy change to accomplish, but it’s easy to check on those around you, and really ask them how they are. Sometimes all people need is the space to talk and think it through, and be comfortable with it.