By: Joe Nguyen
In the workplace, it's easy to fall into the trap of being a bystander. A bystander is someone who observes negative behaviour or incidents but does nothing to intervene. On the other hand, an upstander is someone who takes a stand against negative behaviour and works to create a positive workplace culture.
Bystander vs. Upstander Being a bystander in the workplace means that you're passive and not taking an active role in creating a positive workplace culture. It's easy to turn a blind eye and assume that someone else will take care of the situation. However, this attitude can contribute to a negative workplace culture where harassment, discrimination, and other negative behaviours go unchecked.
In contrast, an upstander takes an active role in creating a positive workplace culture. They speak up when they see something negative happening, and they work to make the workplace a safe and supportive environment for everyone. Upstanders are confident, assertive, and courageous, and they're not afraid to speak their minds.
It can be challenging to speak up when you see something wrong happening, especially if you're worried about the consequences. However, accountability is what creates a positive and respectful workplace culture. Everyone needs to be responsible for their actions and how they impact others.
Calling In vs. Calling Out
When addressing negative behaviour in the workplace, it's essential to understand the concept of calling in vs. calling out.
Calling out is a more confrontational approach. It involves publicly pointing out negative behaviour and holding the person accountable for their actions. While calling out can be effective, it can also be damaging to relationships and lead to a defensive response.
Calling in involves having a conversation with the person who is engaging in negative behaviour in a supportive and constructive way. It's an opportunity to educate them on the impact of their behaviour and offer resources and support to help them improve.
So while we should all be upstanders, you should also make a conscious effort to call in and invite them to understand your perspective rather than just disagreeing with theirs.