It's time to stop the bullies
I HAVE been a director of the Chamber of Commerce for almost a year, and during this time I have attended many events and meetings and met a great many business people and organisations.
On the downside, however, I have been to non-chamber meetings where I have seen and heard things that make me very uncomfortable and I think it's time to talk about it!
I am troubled that on many occasions I have found discussions focusing on the fact that some individuals in our wonderful city seem to bully their way through their professional life, thinking it's ok to step on people and break the rules if it means they can succeed.
On writing this piece, I am reminded of something my late father said: "Emma, if you sit back and say nothing when people are being racist, sexist or bullying others, you are condoning their behaviour. If you see wrongdoing, stand up and say so."
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And like most parents, he was right – and I am troubled that I have not commented and "let it go" when some of my business contacts have acted inappropriately.
As parents we encourage and support our children to stand up and expose bullies, and as responsible employers we don't tolerate this kind of behaviour in our offices, so why do we let it happen in other business arenas?
Why are people afraid to rock the boat, and stand up when we see individuals abusing their power, breaking the rules and intimidating people to make them or their business look good?
I am not naive, I know that people say "business is business" and "I didn't set up my company in order to make friends".
But neither is it my aim to put others down, ignore the rules, and be handed lucrative contracts as a result.
I want Fireproof PR to succeed on its merit, not by holding people to ransom or using bullying tactics that result in us getting work we don't deserve.
If by being honest, just, and "the nice guy" my business ceases to grow and expand, then so be it.
At least I will have a clear conscience.
But one thing I will not do is ignore the advice my father gave me.
I am going to speak out when I see inappropriate behaviour and business activities, and I hope that on reading this column, one or more of you will do the same.
This way we will be able to show the business bullies, that Plymouth is a great place, for great people to do business and isn't somewhere where bullies succeed.