Did you ever see the movie “Mean Girls?” If you haven’t, you probably don’t need or want to for that matter—it’s not exactly a classic.
That said, it packs some great lessons. When our daughter was a teenager, I took it as a moment to bond and joined her in watching it.
It was about what I expected. They gossiped. They eye-rolled. They manipulated. They did every awful thing in the book, and they recruited others into the “mean girl” group by making it obvious that if you weren’t one of them, you would be on the receiving end of their venom.
Then the heroine showed some character and put her foot down and made it clear that she wouldn’t participate any more.
Despite being a bit formulaic, there was a pretty powerful and relevant message in that, one that applies to the workplace.
If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ve discovered that “mean girls” come in all genders and ages—people who put others down and hurt them while making it unsafe to stand up to them.
It takes character to stand up to them because you know you’ll be the next target. The problem is, it’s just a matter of time, and you’ll be the target regardless.
IF you want a safe workplace, you have to take a stand and disallow the hurtful behaviors that are normalized in most workplaces. Most workplaces are dysfunctional. Most workplaces are unsafe. All it takes is one person to take a stand and stop the pattern of
“mean girl” behaviors.