I was approached this morning with a question from a friend, and it’s actually a question I get a lot so I wanted to share with you. The question was, “Jill, you talk all the time about mobilizing people… about training them how to overcome the fear of looking stupid by trying to help others… especially when they think nobody else is concerned with the behavior. How do you actually teach this and how can I quickly teach this point to my high school students?”

There are several answers to this question, but one of the quickest ways to relay the importance of intervening after witnessing a problem, is to offer perspective regarding intervention statistics. I will often say, “Did you know that most studies show that bystanders are present in 85% of bullying incidences, but that they only intervene in 11% of the cases?” This usually surprises people, and I follow up with, “…and for the 11% that do intervene, the bullying behavior drops by over 50%!”

 So to get over the fear that you might look “stupid” intervening in a situation that “may not be a problem,” you can try to solicit help by simply turning to another onlooker and asking, “Am I the only one that’s bothered by this?” In 80% of situations where ONE person steps up and says something, other bystanders will step up as well.

As important it is to be a leader, it is equally important to recognize when one brave individual is stepping in to the aid of another. Do not underestimate the power of being the “first follower,” and engage. To further bring home this point, I’d like to share this video with you. Enjoy!

Click here to watch the video