"The standard you walk past is the standard you accept." --Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Australian Army Chief
As I continue to hear stories about how dysfunctional many workplaces are, how workers are poorly treated by both managers and colleagues, the video above really struck a chord for me. In it, Lt. General David Morrison is talking about how sexual abuse and aggression toward women is unacceptable in the Australian Army. And then he says this:
Wow. That's absolutely right. And I'm forced to ask how many of us simply accept poor treatment without saying a word? How many of us see a manager or colleague treating a co-worker poorly and keep our mouths shut? How often do we just accept management policies that put workers last because we fear for our jobs?
Every time we accept poor treatment in the workplace, every time we let ourselves or others be treated poorly without speaking up, we are communicating that this standard is acceptable. That it's OK to be dysfunctional. Is that really the message we want to send?
Even if something doesn't impact you directly, it still impacts you because it creates a culture where poor treatment of workers becomes part of the norm. And eventually, this will come back to bite you too.
Of course, this advice isn't just for work, either. It's for all aspects of our lives. There are many places where we may remain silent for fear of "causing a hassle," or appearing to be "difficult." But in doing so, we collude in creating a world where poor behavior is acceptable. Is that what we want to do?
Think carefully about what you are allowing to happen around you. Walking past it is just another way of condoning it.
As long as we accept poor treatment of ourselves and others, we are creating a world where bad behavior is the norm.