Podcast: Workplace factors for bullying and harassment with Karen Gately

NMS Podcast
At Nurse & Midwife Support, we understand that those experience workplace bullying and harassment need support. The more well researched and informative resources that are available the better! In fact it’s such a broad topic that we couldn’t cover it in just one podcast episode, so we brought you two. This is part one of our two part series on workplace bullying and harassment.

Content warning: this podcast contains information regarding bullying which may be unsettling for some people. Call us on 1800 667 877 if you would like to talk.


Cover: Podcast Episode 24

Podcast details

Episode: 24
Guest: Karen Gately
Duration: 39:58
Tags: Workplace bullying, harassment, conflict
Soundcloud: Listen to Episode 24


Bullying in the workplace is never OK, but it is a reality for many. The experience can have a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing and may be related to long-term negative impacts.

In this special double episode of the podcast we discuss workplace bullying and harassment and what kind of support is available for those who experience it. 

In the first episode, our host Mark Aiken speaks to Karen Gately, HR Consultant and Director of Corporate DOJO. They provide information, insights, resources, tips, strategies and explore the choices you may consider enabling you to return to your best self if your experience of workplace bullying has knocked you for a six.

Karen explains the workplace factors that put people at risk of bullying and harassment and the importance of leadership that fosters a culture of trust and respect where workplace bullying is not tolerated to ensure that staff are supported to thrive. We also discuss the ‘unconscious bully’ and factors that may cause a person to engage in bullying and harassment. Karen offers her thoughts on solutions to help prevent or solve the issue of bullying in the workplace. 

You are not alone

Many people tell us they feel isolated, fearful and lonely when they are subjected to workplace bullying. It’s important to know that you are not alone. Reach out for support sooner, rather than later. We are always here for you — 24/7, 365, Australia-wide. If you need to talk, give us a call on 1800 667 877 or email us

You can also check out part two of this podcast, Workplace bullying and harassment – personal stories and help-seeking with Tessa Moriarty and Elle Brown

About our podcast guest

Karen Gately

Karen Gately, the Founder of Corporate Dojo, is a passionate optimist with an unwavering belief in the power of the human spirit. An author, speaker, advisor, and educator in the fields of human performance and leadership, she brings a fresh perspective to what it takes to be a successful manager of people. Advocating an approach focused on leveraging both talent and energy Karen shows leaders how to drive performance through inspiring, results-based leadership.


Mark Aitken: Welcome to the Nurse & Midwife Support podcast, Your Health Matters. I’m Mark Aitken, your podcast host. I’m the Stakeholder Engagement Manager with Nurse & Midwife Support and I’m a registered nurse. Nurse & Midwife Support is the national support service for nurses, midwives and students. The service is anonymous, confidential and free. You can call us anytime you need support: 1800 667 877. Or contact us via the website: nmsupport.org.au.

On the Your Health Matters podcast today, we will discuss bullying and harassment in the workplace and its impact on nurses, midwives and students. I’m delighted to say that my guest is Karen Gately. Karen is the founder of Corporate Dojo. Karen is a passionate optimist with an unwavering belief in the power of the human spirit. An author, speaker, advisor and educator in the fields of human performance and leadership. She brings a fresh perspective to what it takes to be a successful manager of people. I couldn’t think of a better person to discuss the important topic of workplace bullying and harassment with. Hello and welcome Karen!

Karen Gately: Hello! Thank you for having me.

MA: It’s a pleasure, as I said I’m just so delighted that you’re able to speak to us today on this important topic. Karen, would you please tell our listeners about you? Your background and why you started a business called Corporate Dojo, because I just love the name.

KG: Thank you, I really appreciate that. Obviously. Look, my background is in HR. For a long time, I was a HR Director with a financial services business. Then, 15 years ago I decided to get out there and start our own organization and help businesses to be better in terms of the leadership part of the equation. After about 13 years of being in business, we decided to rebrand our business so people really understood who we are and what we stand for. What our focuses are. I’ve grown up as a martial artist, I’m a black belt in karate. So much of what I teach people is based on those foundations of marital arts principals: how do we be the best possible version of ourselves? How do we survive if our life is under threat? What I’ve learned is that a lot of those principles (what it takes to survive, for example) are exactly the same as what it takes to thrive in our workplaces. The Corporate Dojo is really about bringing those same philosophies, same principles into the workplace to help organizations to thrive because fundamentally people are thriving.

MA: That’s really interesting Karen. As I said, I love the name and I know many nurses and midwives listening will connect with that. How can they access your business? Or, find more information out about the business? What’s your website address?

KG: It’s https://www.corporatedojo.com/ and you can go to the website and get all sorts of information and copies of articles or interviews that I’ve done. But more broadly, I spend a lot of time talking to people in the media because I’m really passionate about sharing what I’ve learnt to help people to live a better work life. Good old Google, as well, will give you plenty of insight into what we do and access to some of that information.

MA: That’s great Karen, why is it important that we create workplaces with positive cultures? Environments that enable people to thrive at work? You said that that’s what you do, you assist people to thrive. I think that’s a wonderful aspiration, but why is that important?

KG: I think that there’s a baseline reason and that’s around our quality of life. When I originally started my business, I remember I was walking through the city of Melbourne. What I was observing was this wave of lifeless souls walking towards me and going about their business. Heading into their offices and I just thought to myself that there has got to be a better solution. People aren’t happy, people are stressed, we’ve got mental health challenges happening everywhere. But, it’s also not working for businesses. Businesses are not achieving anywhere near the extent to which they could. They’re not realizing their own potential because the human beings within their businesses are not thriving. To me, it’s just logical. It’s a commercial priority that if you want to enable your organization to kick serious goals, you’ve got to do that through the talent and energy of the human beings in the organization. Therefore, you have to actually engage with the quality of their work life, their wellbeing and their ability to be at their best. For me, it’s both a commercial and organizational priority from a performance perspective. But, fundamentally, it’s about healing the world and making sure that people are well.

MA: That’s a great philosophy Karen, I think it’s really important that we acknowledge that. We acknowledge and remember that the people that work in organizations are an organizations greatest asset.

KG: Absolutely. Basically, our people are our organization. Our systems, our processes, our intellectual property, anything that we have from a resource perspective only adds value to the extent that it’s effectively applied. That application is where human beings come in, so it’s people who apply policies. It’s people who leverage technology. It’s people that use all of the equipment that we have in our business to make the outcome happen. Unless we’re operating as a sole provider with fully automated robots doing what we do, then it is mission critical that we can get people to be at their best.

MA: Indeed, I think despite the best endeavours of workplaces and the policies and procedures about prevention of work place bullying and harassment training that workplaces provide staff; unfortunately, workplace bullying does occur.

KG: Yes.

MA: We acknowledge that and we talk about it because nurses, midwives and students listening to this podcast may in fact be experiencing or have experienced an incident of workplace bullying or harassment. If that’s you, I’m sorry that that’s happened or happening to you. You can call Nurse & Midwife Support anytime for support to discuss that often very challenging issue: 1800 667 877 or contact us via the website at www.nmsupport.org.au. Now, to this issue of workplace bullying and harassment, the Australian Fair Work Act states that workplace bullying occurs when:

  • An individual or group of individuals repeatedly behave unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work
  • The behaviour creates a risk to health and safety

Unreasonable behaviour includes victimizing, humiliating, intimidating or threatening. Whether a behaviour is unreasonable can depend on whether a reasonable person might see the behaviour as unreasonable in the circumstances.

Examples of bullying in the workplace include:

  • behaving aggressively
  • tor practical jokes
  • pressuring someone to behave inappropriately
  • excluding someone from work-related events or
  • unreasonable work demands.

Karen, what do you think are some of the workplace factors that put staff at risk of being bullied or harassed?

KG: I think the first one that immediately comes to mind is fundamentally the culture of the organization. If you’ve got a cultural environment, which is fundamentally how people typically behave. Our culture is reflected in our attitudes and our behaviours. If you have an environment where we deeply and passionately believe in respect and decency, then bullying is far less likely to happen. If it does happen, it’s far more likely to be identified and addressed directly. To answer your question, the real risk factors are ignorance and a lack of care factor at most senior levels of the organization that actually allow the situation where either people are not clear on what acceptable workplace behaviours look like or aren’t fundamentally held to account for those behaviours. That, again, is the big picture view. Then, obviously, within some organizations they obviously do have a great culture. They may have individuals or a leader who are bringing the wrong mindsets or attitudes to the equation. Again, often they’re not then addressing that directly. The final category is what I would call our unconscious bullying, where people are not clear on what bullying is. They’re not necessarily intentionally trying to bully someone, but the reality is that they’re behaving in ways that are disrespectful. That are unkind, therefore it does actually fit into the category of what bullying is, even though that’s not necessarily what they’re aware of.

MA: I’m really interested Karen in this concept of the unconscious bully. That, to me, when I hear that term, it says that the person is actually (as you say) not aware that they’re bullying. But, their behaviours are meeting the Fair Work definition of bullying. How do we raise the awareness in organisations to ensure that people don’t tip into unconscious bullying?

KG: There are a couple of ways in which we can go about this. It starts with training and education, having the conversation. As an organisation, if we are regularly having the conversation around what a thriving environment looks like. Here’s the role we all need to play, this is what bullying looks like, this is what we don’t tolerate. That’s an important part of the equation, but then I think it’s also around the actual action. How do we demonstrate that we are serious when it comes to respectful cultural environments, by proactively addressing issues that are happening? If we look at the unconscious bully, often I’ve met with people who have been accused of bullying who are sincerely taken aback but there’s absolute truth in the fact that they have been thoughtless or they have been insensitive or they just haven’t given enough consideration or regard to behaving in ways that are healthy and are going to enable the whole team to thrive. Obviously, those people, helping them to build awareness of what that link is between their own mindsets, their own emotions, the way that they’re behaving and then how that’s received. Why it’s impacting people to the extent that it is. It’s that blend of: let’s communicate, let’s educate, let’s talk about culture. But then, let’s also coach people and have really honest and respectful conversations about what’s working, what’s not working and what aspects of their behaviours need to change.

MA: Thanks Karen. You’ve talked a fair bit about the importance of leadership and the role that leaders can play in creating, consolidating and sustaining good workplace cultures. What are the elements of leadership that enable a culture to be such that it doesn’t actually allow or enable workplace bullying?

KG: I think, if we bring it right down to the most fundamental core values, it’s around trust and respect. We recognise the link between people feeling respected and trusted in their ability to get the work done and perform at their best. Leaders, in my view, need to be striving to create a strong environment of trust and respect. In order for that to happen, they’ve got to be super clear around what that looks like in real terms, around behaviour. Accountability is key, accountability is around there actually being a consequence. If I’m behaving well, then I’m getting the thank you. I’m getting the recognition. I’m getting the opportunities to step up, I’m getting the rewards. If I’m not behaving well, then there’s remedial steps that are happening. I’m having a tough love conversation with my boss around the need to change my behaviour, there are real consequences up to and including losing my job if I don’t behave in ways that are acceptable. Without those consequences, it’s incredibly difficult to get people simply to shift their behaviour because they’re more aware. Most people who are bullying, for whatever reason. Let’s say that they are quite aware of it and they don’t really care; if that’s the case then they’re not going to change their conduct unless there is a compelling reason to do that. Often, I see leaders make the mistake of saying, “Well this is a highly technically qualified person, they’re really important to us. It would be so hard to replace them. We’ll just tolerate it and tiptoe past the issue. We’ll pay lip service to it, we’ll have the occasional conversation with them.” But, ultimately nothing happens. What that tells them is that they’re allowed to get away with behaving like that. Worse, it tells everybody around them that it’s ok for them to behave that way. Then we start to create this cultural environment where it depends on who you are, if you’re important enough then you can act with impunity. Clearly, that’s just completely unacceptable and ineffective.

MA: Absolutely. There’s extensive research and awareness that bullying is an issue in the nursing and midwifery professions. I’ve thought a lot about this. I’ve thought a lot about the pressure cooker environments that a lot of people find themselves in in workplaces, particularly in the healthcare and aged care sectors. There’s a lot of peripheral issues that are creating heightened stress and tension. We’ve had and are experiencing the impact of COVID-19. That’s created these high-pressure cooker environments. We’ve had nurses under the spotlight of the Aged Care Royal Commission and the Royal Commission into Mental Health in Victoria. They’re all very pressure cooker type environments and factors. Do you think that there are specific workplace factors that heighten the likelihood that a nurse or midwife may experience bullying and harassment, apart from those things?

KG: Look, I think those things are very relevant. I haven’t looked at the research that you’re referring to, but if I reflect on all of the industries where I work where there are a lot of people who are highly qualified and highly technical in what they do, what doesn’t always come with that skill set is self-awareness, interpersonal engagement skills and communication skills that actually help in that team environment. There’s been a lot of research done on the need to not only be developing people’s technical capabilities, but also those broader capabilities that help them to be effective in the workplace. I can assume that there will be, to a certain extent in some of the environments where nurses and midwives are working, there will be people who are very technically qualified and strong but haven’t developed some of those broader emotional intelligence or interpersonal engagement capabilities. Now, if that’s the case and we add in the high-pressure environment that literally includes life or death situations, sometimes those people are not necessarily communicating in ways that are good enough. They’re harsh, aggressive or uncompromising or not listening. Irrespective of what kind of environment that we’re in, those are incredibly important approaches that we all need to bring, regardless of how technically important we are to the outcome our organisation is trying to create.

MA: Great points Karen, I think that communication really is 101 and yet often as humans we’re often not very good communicators.

KG: No.

MA: We often don’t feel empowered to communicate how we’re feeling or indeed to ask the person who might be the perpetrator of the bullying to stop.

KG: That’s right.

MA: That can be difficult if it’s your manager.

KG: That’s right.

MA: Those communication skills are obviously important, but how do you suggest that somebody who might be being bullied by a person who they see as more powerful than them, how do they ask that person to stop? Is it indeed safe for someone to do that?

KG: I think that’s a great question, because there is indeed the theory and then there’s the practice. What I mean by that is that it’s very easy for me to say that it’s really important to stick up for yourself and it’s really important you’re clear around the boundaries that you set. That you won’t let people step over. All of that helps us to maintain some sense of control over how life and other people in particular impact us and our mental health and wellbeing. But, clearly, when there’s a power imbalance it can feel extremely intimidating or very scary and risky to actually take that step. I do think it’s necessary, but I think that if it’s something that seems or feels overwhelming that I’d recommend you actually get advice. Whether there’s a HR person you can talk to or a more experienced colleague, even another leader who you do trust and respect, get their advice around how you approach the situation. How you approach the conversation. It’s typically better, particularly if we’re dealing with an unconscious bully, if we are able to maintain our own behaviour at acceptable levels. So, the way we’re talking to them is still respectful but we are being honest about how we’re feeling when they make certain comments. Or, that you’d appreciate it if they didn’t yell at you. That it feels intimidating and you’d rather have the conversation.

Sometimes, that unconscious person, when they hear that direct from the person that’s feeling impacted it’s enough to make them burst their bubble and understand that it’s not ok. That they’re out of line and need to self-correct. But, the reality is also that some other people may be resistant, not care, take offense or be taken aback. We need to think about who we need to have that conversation with and if you need to get advice so that you can approach it in a way that is constructive. Or, do you need somebody else to be sitting next to you while you have that conversation? To summarize that: I think if we can go direct and have that conversation one to one, that will help most people to not feel too defensive or taken aback. Therefore, more likely to respond. But if we simply cannot get ourselves to have that conversation because of the fear or because of how we anticipate that person will react, then ask somebody else to go with you to have that conversation. Again, all of that can sound far easier said than done. But, it’s a harsh reality that until you speak up you can’t start the process and be in the driver’s seat of your own life. Changing that reality and making sure that you’re not just tolerating bullying because that ultimately can end up in very scary places from a mental health perspective.

MA: Yeah, definitely Karen. They’re really important points. I recommend that people document their bullying experience in a confidential journal.

KG: Absolutely.

MA: I think that really assists them to make sense of their feelings, emotions andalso, if the process becomes formal and a complaint is made then it’s useful information for the person to refer back to. What I also advise, because I’ve seen some terrible things happen where a person being bullied has the documentation at work and they leave it in a public space and it’s found by a person and then used against them. I think, doing that at home or keeping it in your car so that it’s not actually at work. Doing the documentation outside of work, because it can help you make sense of the experience and then refer back to it if you need to.

KG: Absolutely, because I think self-doubt is often a part of the problem where people question, “Am I being hypersensitive? Maybe this isn’t bullying, maybe I’m not doing a good enough job. Maybe they’re just having a go at me because I need to be better.” Sometimes that can really delay the point at which we go, “No, this isn’t ok.” If we’re journaling or writing down our experiences, we can start to see the clearer patterns. For example, sometimes people think, “Well, they yelled at me once. They excluded me once, they intimidated me one. They humiliated me once. They haven’t done it often enough for it to be a problem.” The reality is that all of those are individual instances of bullying collectively create a pattern that is very problematic. If we’re writing down all of these different moments where we actually do feel hard done by, unfairly treated or bullied then we can start to see what those patterns are for ourselves. It becomes clearer to us what the issue is, that it is an issue and that we do then need to take action around it.

MA: Good points Karen. There’s a sense from some managers I speak to that when poor performance occurs, they feel a bit nervous about taking it on or having the conversation because they fear that they may be accused of bullying. The definition of bullying says that you can actually have a conversation with an employee about poor performance or inadequate performance. You’ve written a great book called The People Manager's Tool Kit, I have a copy of that in front of me. It’s a practical guide to getting the best from people, I think it’s a great book and I’d highly recommend that to anybody who’s interested in getting the best out of people to read this. You’ve got a chapter on managing performance, which I think is particularly excellent. There’s some great tips in there and you talk about smart objectives. How would you recommend that a manager starts a conversation with an employee around improving their performance without it being seen as bullying?

KG: Absolutely. I think that’s a key point because I hear that myself all of the time as well. Sometimes, people are very quick to say that performance managing is bullying. Bullying is not making somebody feel uncomfortable, it’s not helping somebody to see their reality that they’re not actually delivering on their role. It’s necessary, as leaders, that we move past that fear and have the conversation. But what’s absolutely critical is that we’re doing that appropriately so that we’re speaking in ways that are respectful yet truthful. If we can deliver the truth with respect and sensitivity, it’s entirely more likely to be received, heard and acted on. We’re entirely more likely to help the person be successful. But, we’ve also approached it in a way that is fair, reasonable and therefore not bullying. Some of the absolute no no’s are getting frustrated with a team member, failing to give them that really constructive feedback and then losing your cool. Snapping at them in front of the rest of the team, for example. Or, choosing to highlight an error that they’ve made in front of their colleagues. That’s crossing the line, because in anybody’s book that’s a humiliating experience to have your boss call you out in that way in front of people.

It’s about how we go about it, if we’ve got smart objectives which are really clear around what the outcome looks like. How we’re going to measure and assess how you’re going, how it’s relevant to your job so that everybody is really clear on what they need to deliver. If we’re then having regular coaching conversations with them about how we’re progressing and what’s working, what’s not working. How we’re going to learn and be better, then ultimately by the time we’re having a conversation around poor performance and the fact that you’re ultimately not reaching the standards that you need to, it shouldn’t be a surprise. It shouldn’t be this out of left field, sudden conversation that’s delivered in a confronting and harsh and aggressive way. If you’re clear and coaching people on an ongoing basis, then opening that conversation is far easier. You know, “I wanted to meet with you today to have a really honest conversation about how things are going. There are these things that I think are good,” obviously giving people that insight into what you do trust and respect. For example, that might be their work ethic. That they’re actually trying, “but there are some gaps that we need to work together to bridge so that you’re ultimately able to deliver on the role at the standards that we need it done. I’m going to work with you on that, we’ll be really clear about what those changes are and I’m available to support you with coaching to help you get there.” That’s an appropriate way of performance managing someone, so that if the day comes where they cannot be successful and they need to leave. Again, we don’t have to personalise this. We don’t have to see them as a wrong human, they’re just a human that wasn’t able to deliver in this job. We can still compassionately part ways, we can still be kind and help those people to move onto something that’s better for them whilst at the same time, making that tough call and not tolerating poor performance.

MA: Yeah, that’s a great point Karen. I often think, I love that word compassionate. I think, particularly in caring profession where we care for others we need to be caring for each other as well and having compassion.

KG: Absolutely.

MA: When I was in management and meeting with people around performance type issues or complaints, I’d enter the conversation with a real curiosity around trying to understand what was going on for the person. My counselling qualification actually really helped me to do that, because I’d often start the conversation with, “This thing happened, it’s come to my attention and we need to talk about it. It just seems out of character to me, how you would have interacted. So, firstly, are you ok? Can you tell me, from your perspective, what happened?”

KG: That’s right, absolutely right. Again, I find that sometimes (as leaders) we’re too quick to make assumptions and make judgement calls around what we think is going on. The classic example is assuming that a person doesn’t care when they’re not delivering. Or, they mustn’t be engaged. The reality is that they may not have the confidence, they may not have the skill set, they may not be clear that they’re supposed to be doing that. There are a whole lot of things that could be going on and unless we’re having a compassionate coaching and honest conversation with somebody, we can’t get into their inner world and understand what’s going on in their head. What emotion’s they’re feeling and how that is impacting the ways in which they’re behaving every day and (ultimately) delivering on this job. So, it’s not possible to help a human being to grow and become a better version of themselves and to ultimately thrive without knowing exactly who they are. So, if we are a distant leader, we don’t talk to our people. We don’t spend time with them, we don’t know who they are then it’s super hit and miss in terms of helping them to get there. The more you know people, the more you can understand their sensitivities, how they’re likely to emotionally respond. How you can be prepared around those emotional reactions and build their confidence. Help then to feel like they can get there. Again, I think it’s critically important that we actually put on the coach’s hat and know our team of players and guide them.

MA: Karen, I know in the work that I’ve read that you’ve written and in your podcast and your fantastic show: Black Belt Leaders, which we’ll talk more about in a minute. You talk about the importance of emotional intelligence for leaders, but also for every worker. I’m interested in your view on the importance of that, why it’s important and why it’s a protective factor against engaging in bullying.

KG: Absolutely. I think, fundamentally, emotional intelligence is the extent to which we’re aware of ourselves. Where we have a consciousness around our impacts and interactions with other people as well. We’re very aware of our own emotional states and are able to self-regulate our own conduct or emotions. When we’re in that top end of being emotionally intelligent, we can see ourselves. We can observe our thinking. We can make choices around the way we’re thinking, feeling and behaving. Obviously, we can see that for other people as well. An example where this is absolutely fundamentally important is if I’ve got a leader who lacks emotional intelligence, they’re more likely to allow their frustrations to build and get to a place where emotionally they might (for example) be personally offended that somebody is going off and not working hard. They might see that as being a slight on them and their relationship. In that process of personalising that scenario, they’re more likely to process that in ways that are unhelpful.

Equally, it’s true for those of us who are individuals, that ability to be open and receptive to feedback is a critical tool that allows us to grow in life. If our starting position is, “I need to defend myself. I’m hearing something that makes me feel uncomfortable, it undermines my sense of self and my confidence in me. Therefore, I need to push that information away. I need to resist it and fight it.” Then we’re not going to grow, we’re not going to learn from experience. That’s an incredibly common example of a lack of emotional intelligence where we feel under threat and we unconsciously and emotionally react with a defensive response. That might be to deflect and blame somebody else, it might be to deny that there’s anything wrong or that it’s our fault. Again, the more we can be emotionally intelligent and open to feedback, open to receiving it. Open to acknowledging that we’re not perfect and there are ways in which we can get better, the more likely we are to successfully come out of the other side of a performance management process a better version of ourselves and ultimately successful.

MA: Yes, great points again Karen. Thank you. I talked a bit about your show, Black Belt Leaders, before and I love that show.

KG: Thank you.

MA: I’ll get you to talk a bit more about it in a minute. But in episode 50, you talk about rebounding from setbacks. You and your guest, psychologist Liv Downing, unpack how to rebound from setbacks. This is very relevant to nurses and midwives who are experiencing workplace bullying. How do you get back on your feet when you’ve been knocked down?

KG: Again, there’s so much, we could spend a whole podcast unpacking the different strategies so I’ll hit the highlights. I think the first one is to actually manage your own energy levels. I think, when we’ve gone through a really difficult scenario we can be super drained of energy. When we’re drained, our mind is a less helpful tool that filters through a distorted reality. For anyone listening, I would encourage you to reflect on how you behave when you’re energised. How do you think, feel and behave? When you’re drained of energy, what’s more likely to happen? The reality is that when we’re drained of energy, we’re less likely to have confidence. We’re more likely to feel defensive. We’re more likely to avoid risks and try and stay safe and all of those types of risks and behaviours that really constrain our potential.

Often, with people that have been through those tough times our first starting point is, are you sleeping well? Are you moving? You don’t need to be an elite athlete to get energy from exercise. You could just be going on a regular walk. Are you nourishing your body with food, water? Those are fundamentals. Then, it’s around understanding what thoughts you’re entertaining. What thoughts you’re giving power to. So often, we’ll be ruminating around baggage or things that we shouldn’t be. Things that have happened in the past that were unfair or whatever the case may be. The more that we can see those thoughts and put them in their place and spend less time ruminating over them, the more likely we are going to be able to see things that are good. Things that we can be grateful for. That practice of gratitude is another incredibly important way of reenergising our spirit, rebuilding our confidence. Helping us to feel that we can actually move forward and get to a better place. It can be a tough journey, there’s no doubt about that, but I strongly encourage people to start with their body and their mind. Know that you’re giving it every chance that it’s got to serve you faithfully.

MA: And how do people access your show Karen, Black Belt Leaders? I think there’s some great information there that will really support people.

KG: Thank you. We produce Black Belt Leaders with Ticker, an online streaming news service. All of those episodes can be accessed via our website. If you go to corporatedojo.com you can search for Black Belt Leaders and access any of those past episodes.

MA: I think it’s really important to give people hope, which I believe we have through this podcast. If you’re experiencing bullying or harassment, it can really feel all consuming. I think that those points Karen makes are really important to connect with. If you need support, you can contact Nurse &Midwife support 24/7. Anonymous, confidential and free at 1800 667 877 or via the website at nmsupport.org.au

Apart from all of those things that we’ve discussed Karen, how do we give people a sense of hope that they’ll get through this experience?

KG: I guess the simplest thing I can say is that, you know, I’ve worked with a lot of people who have. It can feel overwhelming at the time, we can feel powerless at the time. But, in my experience, when we do find that courage to seek the help we need we can find the courage to have the conversations that we need to have. We build awareness of the people around us, a lot can change. The other reality is that sometimes we need to acknowledge that a particular organisation or team that we’re a part of working with are not committed to creating an environment free of bullying. Therefore, we need to seriously consider whether that’s the right climate or organisation for us. Again, I would encourage people to back themselves. If you’re not in the right environment, then take yourself off to somewhere where you actually do belong. That may take a few steps, finding a new job is never a straightforward process. But, again, let’s just be really mindful of what we accept. What we tolerate and get into that driver’s seat and ask for what you want and need.

MA: Great points Karen, thank you. I cannot believe that we’ve got to the end of this podcast. We could speak about this all day and I could speak to you all day about your wonderful insights and wisdom. Today, we’ve discussed the impact of bullying and harassment on nurses and midwives. We’ve discussed Karen Gately’s business Corporate Dojo and the great work Karen and her team do supporting workplaces to thrive. We’ve talked about Nurse & Midwife Support and how we support nurses, midwives and students experiencing bullying and harassment. Workplace bullying and harassment have been discussed and I think that we’ve provided some tips and strategies for how you can access support and how you can engage in strategies that can get you through an incident of workplace bullying and harassment. Karen, any final words of wisdom?

KG: It might sound a little bit like self-promoting, but I would point out that we have a program online called, “Be Awesome.” It’s designed to help people to thrive in life. If you are feeling like you’re in a difficult place and you want to understand more about how you’re thinking and what aspects of your thinking or behaviours are helping you, then that program can help you step through it. It’s got a workbook that will help you to actually explore your current reality and help you make decisions about what choices you need to make in order to be your best self and to thrive in life. I’d encourage you, if that’s where you’re at, to check that out as well.

MA: That’s great, our audience love resources so they’ll find that really useful. We’ll put some of these resources, links to your website and information about your book The People Managers Toolkit up on the Nurse & Midwife Support website with this podcast. Thanks very much again Karen for being a great guest. I’m sure we’ll have you back to talk about another topic in the very near future. I’d like to thank our nurses, midwives and students and all those people listening to this podcast for the great work that you do and acknowledge the important work that you do. Particularly in the current climate that we all find ourselves in. So, take care and look after yourself, your health matters. If you need support, Nurse & Midwife Support is available 24/7: 1800 667 877 or via the website at nmsupport.org.au I’ll speak to you next time.