Are we overreacting or is it really that bad?

Are we overreacting or is it really that bad?

Internationally certified (team) coach Angela van Dorssen shares insights from her daily practice. She has been a certified Neuro-Transformational Coach since March 2020. 

This question comes up regularly in conversations when it comes to transgressive behaviour in the workplace. 

Some quotes:

Aren’t we overexaggerating? This used to be totally normal, didn’t it?” 

As a man, I’m afraid to do anything anymore. I won’t get into the lift alone with a female colleague anymore.” 

But also: “My supervisor swore at me. I confronted him about it, and it wasn’t the first time. Now, he has informed the entire team that he has apologised to me. I no longer feel safe in the team. I fear for my job if I inform HR.

I have been working as a self-employed professional for ten years now, and since The Voice scandal, I have heard examples of transgressive behaviour at least once a week. And these aren’t just from women. Cases range from childhood abuse to recent incidents in the workplace or in relationships. In the past, this topic rarely came up. And not because nothing was happening, as it turns out. 

I get the impression that this is just the beginning. I am pleased with the tentative openness that has emerged, thanks to the courage of others who have paved the way. This research concurs with my feeling that we are more willing to talk about it and recognise its importance.

Not online, but in open, honest conversations, with curiosity about all opinions to reach clear agreements and policies. We are searching…

Are we overreacting? No, I genuinely don’t think so and I believe it’s receiving attention it deserves. Employers and managers have an important role to play in this.

Simple questions like: 

  • Have you ever experienced transgressive behaviour? 
  • What do we as an organisation/team consider transgressive behaviour?

These questions help put the topic on the agenda.

I asked the first question in my personal circle because I also wondered if things were really that bad. I am still shocked by the answers: two rapes within a relationship, two sexual assaults by a physiotherapist and a masseur, and a daughter (aged five at the time) who laughingly told me that a classmate regularly touched her bottom despite her saying no. I didn’t even realise it because I didn’t know I needed to ask this question privately as well.

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