I’m not here to make friends- maybe you should be

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in bullying

I’m not here to make friends- maybe you should be I’m not here to make friends- maybe you should be   Steve was hired as the new associate vice president of the mid west region. The last four quarters, his division faced declining production and slipping revenue. Investors were concerned; the board was ready to take prisoners. Steve was the solution. He inherited a beleaguered staff. The morale was low, and turnover increasing. Several reports had errors and projections were not accurate. The remaining staff operated in fear. Steve figured he had to “lower the boom” to straighten out the division. He held early meetings, insisted on weekly accounts of departmental time, and shaved 15 minutes off the lunch period. The staff responded. Some quit while others spiraled further into a mild depression. After his first month he abruptly leaves a staff meeting barking, “nothing had changed!” There were still errors, still problems, and still low productivity. His assistant was on his heels as he marched into the office. He slammed the door as the assistant entered. Steve punctuated his small tantrum with the comment “I’m not here to make friends!” The assistant quietly looked up from her note pad and simply stated, “Maybe you should be…” Often new executives take on a job that requires restructuring, reorganization or some other tough decisions. A common mantra is “I’m not here to make friends.” However, while staff may not be invited for Thanksgiving dinner or birthday parties, they are people who consume most of our waking time. We should strive to be friendly. Whether someone is the boss, or a middle manager, everyone has a responsibility to be civil and courteous. Developing a rapport with staff in which office friendships can flourish can go a long way to developing internal motivation and productivity. People who MUST work will work the terms of the contract and leave when the listen blows. People who TRUST are motivated by an affinity for the job and people around them will go the extra mile to meet objectives and maintain a positive environment. Maybe the problem with office morale is someone needs to be there to form office...

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Excusing Bad Behavior in the Office?

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in bullying

Excusing Bad Behavior in the Office? Excusing Bad Behavior in the Office? Excusing Bad Behavior in the Office? Layla was working on a project that required the input of two other offices. She needed data from the research office, and also promotional materials from the institution’s marketing division. She was on a deadline, but still needed to move forward and show progress. Layla was referred to Vivien in research. Vivien had come highly recommended and apparently a very competent colleague. During Layla’s initial contact with Vivien, they made a series of agreements about time line, gathering data, and how it should be conveyed for Layla’s project. Layla even developed a grid to confirm data in an effort to make Vivien’s job easier. But something went wrong. After the initial contact, Vivien didn’t welcome direct phone calls. Though through email, Vivien insisted she could deliver the data within the time limits and insisted with Layla “…and don’t call me.” Layla knew this was awkward. How could any two professionals work without communication? When the deadline finally came, Vivien had not followed through with what was promised. Layla could work with the delay but needed more information to manage other parts of the project. Apparently, Layla made a big mistake in picking up the phone for clarity. Not only did Vivien refuse to answer, Vivien immediately fired back with a very nasty email…”I told you not to call me… you are disturbing me…!” When Layla mentioned this email to her office mate the answer back was, “Oh yeah, Vivien is just like that…” This excuse is often given when someone acts unprofessional in the office. When incivility and a nasty attitude goes unchecked, the aggressor becomes emboldened and holds the office hostage with his or her nasty behavior. But what can Layla do? She needs the data. How to handle bad behavior: Trading self-respect for a project is never a good idea. Ignoring bad behavior only reinforces it and makes the aggressor more aggressive. Layla should speak up. No one should put up with a nasty attitude just to collaborate on a project. One of the reasons targets are bullied or picked on is because the aggressor perceives that the target will endure the abuse. Layla can find another way to work around Vivien. Are there other sources of data? Is there another way to present the report without Vivien’s information? Layla shouldn’t take it personally. The aggression apparently has personal issues. Layla never met Vivien before, and doesn’t have a history to make her that upset. Layla should check the behavior, then move onward and upward. Remember, we train people on how to treat us. If we say nothing about the abuse, we are indeed accepting unacceptable behavior.  Bullies and aggressive people act this way because they are “ALLOWED” to act...

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Plenty of Bull to go around

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in bullying, Cultural Diversity Training Workshops

Plenty Of Bull To Go Around: Reflection On The Miami Dolphins Bullying Incident Plenty Of Bull To Go Around: Reflection On The Miami Dolphins Bullying Incident Plenty Of Bull To Go Around: Reflection On The Miami Dolphins Bullying Incident In late October 2013, Jonathan Martin, second year starting tackle for the Miami Dolphins, abruptly left the team checking himself into a hospital because of relentlessly aggressive treatment he received from teammates. Despite his physical size at 6’5” and 315 pounds, Martin was the target of workplace place bullying; a recent report written by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LPP confirms team misconduct from Ritchie Incognito contributed to the emotional stress and departure from the team. What is compelling about the report is the characterization of both men fit the classic bully/target relationship. Martin was mild mannered; unfortunately he had endured a history of bullying during high school. He had been chided to “man up, “or “not punk out,” when faced with aggressive behavior. By his own admission, he “played it off,” when met with a barrage of nasty, humiliating and sexually explicit and racially charged remarks about his mother and sister. Reports reveal that Martin had discussed depression and suicidal thoughts with a psychiatrist and prescribed medication to mitigate the issue. Despite the stress, Martin never reported the abuse to the Miami Dolphin organization for fear of being labeled a snitch or “Judas.” In contrast, Ritchie Incognito had a history of aggressive behavior prior to bullying Martin. In college, he had suspensions and ejections from games. He was accused for spitting on a player and arrested for alcohol in several other incidents. He was suspended indefinitely from Nebraska’s team, then enrolled at Oregon, only to be released a week later (Paul, p. 60, 2014). Despite his athletic talent, the Colts, the Ravens, and the Patriots passed on Incognito. In 2005, he wasSporting News “Dirtiest Player in the NFL.” Looking at the past behavior of both players, they are the classic target and bully pair. An overly aggressive and troubled young person evolves to terrorize a particularly passive colleague and peer. The unique facts of this case include a “fine book” where Incognito memorialized fines coerced through intimidation, sometimes up to $10,000 of Martin and other players. The press releases in October characterized a type of friendship between Martin and Incognito; however the independent report states Martin’s “effort to befriend Incognito also is consistent with the reaction of a person who is trapped in an abusive situation… it is a common coping mechanism exhibited by victim of abusive relationships” (p. 18). The report also confirms that Incognito joined with two other players, Jerry and Pouncey who bullied another teammate “Player A” and an “Assistant Trainer.” Anecdotal conversations over the past months have laid blame on leadership, on Martin for being “too soft,” or on team captains for not reporting the...

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Micro-inequities: Little Things Mean A Lot!

Posted by on May 27, 2013 in bullying, Diversity Training

Micro-inequities: Little Things Mean A Lot! Micro-inequities: Little Things Mean A Lot! Micro-inequities: Little Things Mean A Lot! Layla, a 35 year old Latina woman (who looks ten years younger than her age) is starting her new job as senior director of her division, supervising over 20 employees. Despite her corporate dress and swank presence, when she walks to her new desk, she is interrupted along the way to “fetch coffee.” Her own secretary while kind, comments under her breath… “Guess they hire them younger and younger…” Layla recognizes that while she has her stellar MBA diploma hung proudly behind her in the office, all too often, people assume she is sitting at her boss’s desk fixing a calendar, or that she is inappropriately at the wrong seat. During her first  division meeting, the vice president congratulates her with, “Gee Layla, you are awfully impressive in a meeting…”   Layla thinks, of course she is impressive. That’s how she got the job. That’s what $100,000 of graduate school was for. Why is being impressive so noteworthy while for others it was just expected? “Micro-inequities can be like little paper cuts.”   Is this bullying? Favoritism? Racism? Sexism? Such terms don’t exactly describe Layla’s experience, though her race and gender inform the slights she receives. She is not being attacked over time or facing escalating discrimination. She isn’t in a hostile environment, and even is promoted for her work and merit. Yet these little dings and slights challenge her resolve and focus at times. Layla is experiencing what is called “micro inequities.” She endures comments and behavior that at times make her want to disengage from her job. From time to time, Layla has a wandering eye on the job board in search of an environment that is more inclusive and supportive. How can an organization be more sensitive? The Golden Rule is a good start. Make comments that you would like to receive and reflect on your own behaviors as a leader. If you have a great idea, do you want your supervisor distracted with text messaging when you talk?  As a new hire, do you want someone commenting on your age, race, clothes or appearance is a less than flattering way How would you feel if people make inappropriate assumptions about your work duties based on age, race, gender etc? Micro-inequities can be like little paper cuts on someone’s motivation. One or two might be overlooked; but even mild and non-verbal put downs over time can disengage even the best employee. Subtle put downs accumulated over time for employees can hurt staff productivity and compromise innovation. Employers and coworkers can guard against micro inequities by reflecting on comments BEFORE such remarks are made audible.  Remember, everyone doesn’t have the same sense of humor. Lastly, an authentic discussion and request for feedback can cut through misunderstandings and micro-inequities.   ORIGINALLY...

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Interview on WUSA9 Workplace bullying in higher education

Posted by on Jan 4, 2013 in bullying, cyberbullying, sexual harassment

  Interview on WUSA9 Workplace bullying in higher education Interview on WUSA9 Workplace bullying in higher education Interview on WUSA9 Workplace bullying in higher education     By Thomas James http://workplaceviolencenews.com/   Bullying among children and teens in schools receive extra attention these days, but experts say bullying takes place in other times in our lives. In fact, workplace bullying is happening at an alarming rate. Especially in higher education. Leah P. Hollis, Ed.D., Author of the book “Bully In The Ivory Tower” says 62 percent of people who work in higher education have experienced bullying versus 45 percent of the general population. Dr. Hollis says, “I surveyed 175 schools and what I found in the return was that a number of people, especially in the entry levels and the middle management were talking about how they were the target of bullying either from the boss or the organization in general. 9 News Now’s Anita Brikman interviews Dr. Hollis about her survey and why workplace bullying is more prevalent in higher education than in other professions: Anita: “What’s going on? Why at college and universities?” Dr. Hollis: “What’s interesting is at a college or university we are all trained to be experts in our field to go out and do this wonderful research and create excellent knowledge. It also is an isolating experience so now when you have to manage people or collaborate or have team building you’ve already been protected by tenure perhaps or at least in a culture that supports being isolated and also supports a pretty big ego. So that doesn’t always make for the best management skills.” Anita: “So in these case studies, who was saying they are being bullied? Younger educators bullied by tenured folks?” Dr. Hollis: “Typically it was somebody at the entry level, your assistant director, it might have even been the director or just the manager of the department. Folks who are reporting up-line to Vice Presidents, Provosts, or even the Presidents. So bullying has to do with power and those with the least amount of power are the ones on the receiving end of bullying.” To see the entire interview, including how workplace bullying in higher education affects students and how can we deal with workplace bullying across the board, click here....

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Don’t Be Afraid of the Office Bully Monster

Posted by on Nov 10, 2012 in bullying, cyberbullying, Discrimination

Don’t Be Afraid of the Office Bully Monster Don’t Be Afraid of the Office Bully Monster Don’t Be Afraid of the Office Bully Monster Originally posted on JENNINGS WIRE   We are entering that cherished time of they year… Halloween moving through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years is a time where office parties and progressively bad behavior seem to be overlooked underneath the haze of holiday cheer. There is nothing like spiked apple cider, rum cake and that mysterious red punch at the party to make colleague and supervisor overlook their better senses. Employees who are new to their career might find this to be an invitation to join in the “reindeer games,” without considering the consequences when they sober up the next day.  Take a page from Lance, the new assistant director who got a bit comfortable with his boss at a party. With the apple bob at lunch and spicy cider mixture that somehow got spiked, the office staff was at ease in an environment that was typically tense and rigid.  Lance was thrilled with the holiday cheer as his first year under his boss, Artie, was less than something to celebrate.  Lance noticed that the rest of the staff was at ease too, maybe this was the end to the yelling and manipulative behavior that had been the norm for his department.  Maybe Lance could finally relax. Artie and Lance had a chance to chat over the apple cider. Artie had let his hair down, discussed his own insecurities with upper management and with a buzz, confided in Lance about fears of losing respect at the top.  Lance felt comfortable and joined in, sharing his own insecurities with his low grade point average in college, feeling unaccomplished with his quest of grad school, and his lack luster relationship with on-again-off-again girlfriend.  For about 90 minutes, though induced by alcohol, they were civil human beings for a change.  As the office party came to an end, the staff took their last nibbles at cookies and caramel corn, then returned to a relatively productive afternoon on the job.  All seemed well. The next day, Lance reported to work to find that things were “back to normal.”  No one made eye contact with each other.  There was a muffled tirade coming from Artie’s office. As Lance settled in, his cube mate remarked, “ the ogre is back…!” Artie quickly came around the corner and berated Lance for being 15 minutes late.  He reminded Lance that “this is why he couldn’t make the cut in grad school…” and that “… no woman would stick with him given his tardiness..”  Lance was demoralized.  All the things he had shared over spiced cider was coming back to haunt him publically.  He was powerless to respond, and saw no relief from the terror which returned to the office. Lance was caught in what...

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