How To Handle A Hostile Work Environment?


What is a hostile work environment?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines a hostile work environment as:

“conduct [that] is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.”

Theory X management was commonplace in the 20th Century. This management style holds a belief that people are assets and will not work unless managed very closely. People are basically lazy and left on their own, no work would ever get done. Workers need strict supervision and clear consequences for poor performance. Baby boomers grew up in these environments and some adopted these same methods of oversight. It is probably why we have so many micro-managers today. Old habits die hard. However, over managing people is not a hostile work environment!

What is empathy?

Many people believe empathy is the ability to feel others emotional state. This isn’t empathy. Empathy is the ability to sense or be aware of others feelings and respond appropriately. Empathetic people are able to read others’ feelings. These people genuinely care about people or at least you think so. Empathy is the ability to put yourself into another person’s shoes.

Why is empathy important.

Gone are the days of Theory X management. Gone are the days to top-down management. Collaboration rules the workplace today. Honestly, some of the examples of a Hostile Work Environment are as silly to me as the people claiming the presence of such. However, that said, everyone should feel safe in their work environment.