I have followed this intriguing disruption to the world of civility for most of its duration. I, in fact, wrote a blog, The Consequences of Bullying, about part of the irony surrounding the allegations several years ago. Mr. Faas and Ms. Coloroso sued one another – Mr. Faas for non-performance, and Ms. Coloroso for plagiarism. Shortly after posting the blog, I received a letter from Ms. Coloroso’s lawyer demanding that I retract the blog, claiming it contained false and defamatory statements. I removed the blog until the matter was settled in court, and now I reiterate that I stand by my previous statements.
Although the real underlying cause for this prolonged and exhausting battle remains unclear to me, experience in working with such dynamics tells me there is more here than meets the eye. The sad irony is that the very subject upon which Ms. Coloroso has based her entire professional career has become her downfall. What kind of message does this send to our youth today? It is no surprise that anyone who is an expert in bullying was more than likely a bully themselves. However, if one is going to offer advice and counsel on bullying, they would likely be more effective if they were healed from the underlying cause or causes that precipitated such behaviour in the first place.
Bullies can be rehabilitated; and if they are going to walk the talk, this is imperative. The lack of civility in both the home and workplace today has reached epidemic proportions. We need the leaders in the field of civility and bullying to help people take the necessary steps to change their ways. Identifiable steps and procedures to make these changes are emerging through the good works of many colleagues in this growing field. In his recently released book, From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Moving Your Company Out of the Line of Fire, Andrew Faas provides a number of practical steps and words of advice on what to do if you are suffering in a toxic work environment. In my upcoming book, The Six Pillars of Civility, I will share a variety of exercises and principles to help make the dramatic change necessary to live a more fulfilling life – both at work and in your personal relationships.
But the demoralizing undermining of the work by the examples set by Ms. Coloroso and her colleagues at The Workplace Bullying Institute - recognized industry experts - severely hinders the work of those of us working in the trenches to bring about the Emotion Revolution that is so badly needed today. How can we recommend in good faith that people turn to such industry experts if these very experts are going to revert to employing bullying tactics to live their own life by?
Hopefully the exposure of this court case will clearly communicate that bullying appears everywhere, and nowhere is it acceptable.