The news of Matt Lauer’s behavior and firing sent shock-waves through the country. We’re used to waking up in the morning and seeing his face, waiting for him to bring us the breaking news of the day. But something changed last week and I think it deserves some attention.
I’ll be honest. At the start of last year when it seemed like everyone had been harassed, I was quicker to brush it off. There are those who seek fame and fortune and are willing to manipulate the system, making us less likely to believe true victims. I’ve changed my stance on this to some degree.
When I would see Matt on the Today show, I saw a powerful man. I saw someone who was determined to keep his “seat,” who wouldn’t back down, and sheer strength; someone untouchable. I saw a bully.
My point [and realization] is that harassment and bullying are closely linked. And that link all stems with a desire to preserve and protect power, at all costs. Rape is a power move. Abuse is a power move. Maintaining control and power by subjugating the “weaker” to fear and be under you, a power move.
People say, “Well why is it all happening right now?” I’d reply that it’s been happening for years, this is how business was done, and it’s just now coming out and being labeled “unacceptable.” But if I’m completely candid with you, I don’t think the executives are sorry it happened so much as they’re sorry it’s been discovered and what it could do to their brand. It’s going to take another wave of morality to get motives pure.
I’m hoping the next move is to work on eradicating bullying from the workplace. I’ve undergone it, many of my friends have, and HR brushes things to the side. The reasons? The bully many times is a high performer and brings in X amount of money or Y amount in sales/clients, therefore “can’t” be removed. Creating a culture where everyone feels safe and can work to the best of their faculties isn’t as important as the Almighty Dollar. But I’d venture to guess that if we valued the morals first, the money, and even MORE money would follow.
Enough time has been wasted letting “top” talent stick around because we fear them. Enough time has been used up in excuses for why we can’t handle the bully or get rid of an abuser in the workforce. It leaves the victims with little options and makes them a victim all over again when they have to leave the company at no fault of their own.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton.