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NFL Domestic Violence and the Workplace: What’s the Difference?

Violence in WorkplaceNFL Scandal—How About in the Workplace?

Everywhere we turn we hear more and more about domestic violence and abuse among some NFL players.  Worse yet, we hear about how the behavior has been tolerated . . . until the public outcry began changing the way this behavior is handled.

Does “Domestic Violence” Occur at Work?

While few people get physically knocked out or beaten, the emotional abuse is alive and well in many organizations.  Just like in the NFL, “players” or powerful executives seem to get away with almost criminal behavior.

Some examples of intolerable behavior towards others:

Screaming or yelling at others

  • This is even more offensive when it occurs in front of other people
  • Intimidating others with outbursts or nonverbal “punishing” behavior

 Temper Tantrums

  • Throwing things
  • Slamming fist on table

 Threatening . . . 

  • Firing
  • Suspension without pay
  • Loss of bonus, pay, or other perks
  • Demotion

 Abusive language

  • Far too common!
  • Either directed at someone or in general spewing out expletives

 Disrespectful attitude and communication

  • Treating others in a demeaning way
  • Pressuring a lower-level employee for sexual favors


The big question is why do some people get away with this?  How can they possibly hold a high-level leadership position within a respectable organization?

In my executive coaching work, I have listened to reports of this type of behavior far more often than you can imagine.  Just like in domestic cases the victim is often afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation or even worse treatment down the road.  The abuser is frequently in a position to impact the bottom line or politically wields a great deal of power.  He/she, therefore, is reinforced or subtly rewarded for the abusive behavior.

The time is ripe to expose this type of inexcusable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace.  How can we do this?  Organizations that are serious about creating a productive and humane environment should give employees an opportunity to honesty state their experiences.  When abuse is uncovered, investigate and take action where appropriate.

 A few workable solutions include:

  • Culture survey
  • 360 assessments of executives
  • Ombudsperson or neutral, confidential party within the organization
  • Workshops to communicate a zero tolerance policy for abuse

It’s time to make a positive change!


For more information on executive coaching or training workshops, please contact Kathy Cooperman:  720-542-3324 or kathy@kathycooperman.com.           





© KC Leadership Consulting, LLC, 2014; All rights reserved.


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