Bullying

I have just returned from my second Covid vaccine. Both the National Guard and the Jackson County Health Department are thoroughly professional and friendly. As of tomorrow our family will have all received our second dose. It is a good feeling and one that we have sought for over a year. I saw our friends, Joan and Jim, at the Civic Center and thought about the plain fact that we are all in this together.

Recently I have had my interest renewed in the terrible malady of bullying in the work-place and the herculean emotional and mental and physical ramifications that good employees undergo rather than face the very real fear of retaliation. All to often university administration and management and others tend to keep their heads firmly planted in the clouds while the precious staff, that they are responsible for, are maligned and screamed at and undergo bizarre and at times, obscure judgmental religious speech, in the form of brow-beating members of their staff. Environmental studies reveal that one of the prominent complaints from rank and file employees is that they are bullied and undergo stress by their supervisor’s unwarranted work demands and verbal statements that are not only unrelated to their job requirements but should be taken to the Labor Relations Board.

When I became a manager at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale my primary goal was to treat my colleagues in the department like I wanted to be treated…like family… I had first hand knowledge regarding the deleterious effects of draconian management. I had witnessed staff cry and be forced to take disability for mental and emotional distress. I have counseled several people over my 25 years as a manager/administrator at SIUC who were considering suicide. This problem is real and can not be ignored.

The blindness to staff abuse is a direct result of administrators and managers not wanting to do the hard work of investigating the problem rather than simply taking the slanted advice of the person that they should be investigating. When I became the superintendent of Building Services…as well as the 12 years that I was the assistant superintendent of the department…I had an open door policy. I invited and encouraged all of the members of Building Services to come and talk with me at any time that they felt the need. I informed my immediate staff that if they were doing their jobs properly and treating their staff with respect and as a servant leader that I would back them…but if there was abuse or bullying of staff by their supervisors…I would take the person who was being bullied’s side. I did not recognize Carte Blanche support for management…

Tears are being shed. Sleepless nights are happening. Emotional and mental and physical distress is battering the lives of people who need their jobs and are dedicated to the vision of the institution and the success of our precious students…will someone simply pay attention…will someone care…will someone do the job of an administrator and manager and investigate the suffering of the poor and dedicated… and the backbone of our University…to ensure that everyone is seen and appreciated…and treated like a member of the Saluki Family?

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