The Grinch Inside Us All

dr seuss grinch character

Bullying is a leadership issue that can change. Bully behaviors are in our schools, our classrooms and our workplaces. Learn how genuine awareness can help identify the Grinch in all of us. Engage in the anti-bullying individual and leadership training programs in support of a healthy workplace.

Notes For The Slides:

Slide 1

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch / You’re a nasty, wasty skunk / Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk / Mr. Gri-inch / The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: Stink, stank, stunk! 

The objective of my speech is to open the discussion of the shadow side of leadership, (versus inspirational side) the Grinch within. I am so excited to tell you my story. 

Slide 2

It is perhaps a familiar scene during the holidays to sit around the TV and watch the Grinch, or read the children’s book. The Grinch started out as a not so nice character, yet towards the end of the story he grew a conscience evolving into a humble and good character. We as adults have all been the Grinch in one way or another. 

However, when it comes to children sometimes their undeveloped minds cannot tell the difference. Sometimes they cannot tell the difference between fictional characters and the reality in their lives, as their brains truly are not completely formed. Young children, teens, and young adults sometimes make poor decisions based on their current surroundings, peer pressure to fit in, and they miscalculate their ability to think through the consequences of their actions. Including, making a left-handed turn while driving and being distracted by others in the car, or just loud music playing. 

Slide 3

Let me tell you a true story. How many of you are familiar with the Slenderman game? Slenderman is a fictional character whose objective is to haunt and traumatize children. In Wisconsin this past year, there were three young girls, 11 years old at the time that successfully listened to the haunting of Slenderman and played the game. Two of the girls made a plan, led one of the girls to the woods, and stabbed her 19 times with the intent to kill. The girl stabbed lived. This trauma is known as Cyber bullying. 

This incident left all three children and their families in a trauma. The courts now are deciding how to handle these pre-teens for attempted murder. Secondly, it has changed their lives forever. These people are wounded; and with the help they are receiving, the hope is they will recover. 

You may be asking yourself, why am I so passionate about this ‘dark’ subject? I was moved by that story and other sports stories in the news this year. 

As I began to do research to write curriculum for my leadership course in bullying, I began to realize the target and the bully sometimes are one in the same person, and sometimes not. The research points to the behaviors being generational in nature. The behavior of the target starts innocently enough, to fight off someone intending us harm, and there the cycle begins. We fight back. The cycle needs to be broken before it leads to more harm, as it did with the young girls in Wisconsin. 
The Slender Man (also known as Slenderman) is a fictional character that originated as an Internet meme created by Something Awful forums user Eric Knudsen (a.k.a. “Victor Surge”) in 2009. It is depicted as resembling a thin, unnaturally tall man with a blank and usually featureless face, wearing a black suit. Stories of the Slender Man commonly feature him stalking, abducting, or traumatizing people, particularly children.[1] The Slender Man is not confined to a single narrative, but appears in many disparate works of fiction, mostly composed online.[2] 

Slide 4

Let me tell you my story. My older sister and I walked to grade school together in the morning. My sister used to do very hurtful things to me, including tripping me, pushing me into the dirt, and sometimes ripping my clothes. When I got to school, sometimes my clothes were dirty, ripped and torn. What was even worse for me is when I got home for lunch, and my mother saw my clothes. My sister stood by secretly laughing as I was scolded for being so careless with my clothes as they would need to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced. 

Now, you might say all of that is very normal as children play. Well, it might have been, yet it continued, all the way into grade school, middle school, and high school. You may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with bullying and being a target in children and adults? 

Based on the research these behaviors are learned overtime and are generational in nature. These behaviors are played out in middle school and continue into adulthood. In the K-12 public school systems, Educators are aware of these problems. The behaviors are being addressed in an Anti-Bully curriculum now being taught. There are laws to protect children and young adults within public school systems, secondary and higher education. However, not yet in business. There is growing attention for The Healthy Workplace Bill. 

Slide 5

In our businesses, this cycle of the bully and target has not been addressed. It is costing our organizations millions of dollars in employee turnover and legal fees. Bullying is an equal issue for both men and women. We have seen these behaviors most recently in college and pro sports. We just don’t see it in the daily news when it happens in the workplace. Could you image…”Xtra…Xtra read all about it!” All though we often know about it. 

The benefit of businesses, and leadership addressing these harmful and yes traumatizing events in their workplace would minimize employee turnover and legal costs. Businesses might do this by instituting an anti-bully training program and an awareness campaign that address and support both the bully and the victim. 

How can you become the change agent to lead the change when you see these behaviors in your organizations? Change starts with the gift of awareness. Developing the inside tools to make a difference in your life and the relationships with others. 

Each of us has a story about our own bullying experience. For every story we hold near and dear to our hearts, there are usually many versions of the same story we tell ourselves—so “being mindful of what we can do to help each other during these stressful times might be to simply trust our guts’ instinct and helping each other out goes a long way to build-up moral, self-esteem and self-confidence.”

Contact me, I will build a course for you.

Image credit: Cincinnati Arts.

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About Linda Savanauskas

An accomplished talent management professional with experience in curriculum design, development of learning strategies, and professional skills development training programs for the workplace. Collaboration in training programs includes small and medium size businesses (SMB) to larger organizations from Raleigh to Charlotte, North Carolina. Virtual instructor led training can be offered to any location.