Author, philanthropist and management advisor Andrew Faas has a solution for one of the most overlooked issues in the professional world (and one many are afraid to talk about): workplace bullying. On Feb. 2, the chief executive for the Faas Foundation led a discussion-based session with Lynn graduate students and working professionals to bring simplicity to what is often seen as a complex topic.
Faas reflected on his early professional life, describing himself as a workplace bully. “I felt that I had to behave a certain way to get ahead,” Faas said. Years later an employer brought attention to his behavior, and at age 26, Faas learned what he deemed the most important lesson in leadership: “Respect is far more powerful than fear.”
He later became the victim of workplace harassment he described as a period of “sheer hell,” when his phones were tapped, peers waited like vultures for him to make a mistake, and colleagues shunned him. Eighteen months later, he realized he was angry. He wanted revenge and searched endlessly for a sense of closure that was seemingly unattainable. This prompted him to attend interventions organized by his family, and they suggested he channel his anger into writing.
Faas took the advice and wrote his book, From Bully to Bulls-eye. During the evening’s discussion, he answered questions about how to create an effective and psychologically prosperous work environment. He referred to the ideas as “The Covenant,” which involves three major steps: the value exchange—or understanding what both parties want from one another; the test for reasonableness; and the method by which both parties reach an agreement.
Faas emphasized that employers must understand how employees feel and why they feel that way. He urged the participants to find fulfilling work and to build meaningful relationships in an organization. These attributes, he said, are conducive to growth.
He stressed that bullying can be fixed, and open communication is instrumental in that process. Faas closed with a lesson when it comes to bullying, “Don't become that agent.”