You’ve possibly had a bad experience with someone at work. It’s no secret that there’s “a management style where the goal appears to be to systematically destroy the confidence and self-worth of their employees,” as Rob Campbell explains it.
Campbell is head of strategy at R/GA EMEA. He has experienced the “systematic abuse” of a bad manager and now he has begun a website to collect stories from others. He hopes it will help to eradicate toxic culture in workplaces.
The idea began when he wrote a blog about the topic:
“Well that post hit a big nerve because within 72 hours, it had been shared thousands of times on Twitter and I received over 250 stories of abuse from people who previously thought they were alone in facing this cruel and debilitating experience,” Campbell wrote in a subsequent post.
“I must admit I was initially shocked how many people had been affected until I remembered the reason this topic is so rarely talked about is because one of the ways the abusers get away with it is they make the victim feel so worthless, they believe it’s all their fault and so keep quiet out of shame for their supposed inadequacies.”
“Then I got an email from someone I used to work with,” he adds. “Rather than tell me they had gone through a similar situation at work – or even their thoughts on my post – they asked if what I’d written was about them. After telling them that if they feel guilt, then maybe they needed to take a look at how they conducted themselves [because at no point had I mentioned any names or places in my post] I then realised there was a way I could try and help stop this situation happening to others.”
The new site, Corporate Gaslighting, is available at TheyTriedToKillMeButI.Live. It invites people to send their stories.
Campbell says he hopes it will achieve two aims.
“For management … my hope is they come and read the stories to be reminded of the responsibility they have for the people they manage. And if they end up reading something they think is specifically about them … then maybe it will force them to look at their actions and behaviours and – for their sake – start to change them.
“For victims … my hope is that by either writing their story or reading others, they’ll not only realise they’re not alone in this slow, viscous destruction of self-confidence, but the reasons for it happening have absolutely nothing to do with them and all to do with their managers. If I achieve this, my hope is it helps removes the stigma of guilt and failure we are all made to feel we brought on ourselves … because then it will remove the power abusive managers have over us … allowing us to start valuing ourselves again and [hopefully] giving us the strength to take action rather than only take the abuse.”
There are just two rules:
- No names of people or companies.
- Please sign off your post with the industry you were working in at the time the abuse to help others recognise the scale of this problem.
If you’ve been abused at work, help Campbell to start something that will stop it.