Horrible Bosses – Dealing with the Devil
Did the recent comedy flick ‘Horrible Bosses’ ring a bell for you? Have you worked for a monster like Kevin Spacey’s control freak, Colin Farrell’s drug addict or Jennifer Aniston’s sexual predator? Maybe not to that extreme, but I’m betting plenty of movie-goers cheered on Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day as they took down their horrible bosses.
In the real world, bad bosses are no laughing matter. Beyond Bullying estimates that 2.5 to 5 million Australians will experience workplace harassment during their career. This can cause anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia, and does not make for a happy and productive workplace. So before ‘Horrible Bosses’ gives you any dangerous ideas, here’s some tips for dealing with a toxic boss.
A good place to start is to read up on your workplace’s bullying policy and complaints procedure. Talk to a supervisor at a higher level, a harassment contact officer or a health and safety representative. If you’re having trouble finding support internally, contact your union or another relevant organisation such as JobWatch and Reach Out, which can point you in the right direction.
Keep a diary and document everything that happens, including your attempts to get help and anything you do to try to stop the bullying. This can prove helpful later, if you are forced to take your case to another level.
If you’re feeling game, approach your boss. Explain to them that their behaviour is unwanted and unacceptable, and is creating a hostile atmosphere in the office. Bad bosses don’t always realise that they are treating their employees unfairly, explains Ian Stephens, director of training and development consultancy Enrich Management Group. To them, intimidation is an acceptable means to an end, and business as usual.
“Any bully, be it in the schoolyard or workplace, has learnt at some time in the past that the strategy of being a standover merchant gets them results. Sometimes they’re not even aware of it, and it takes an intervention to wake them up.
“When I work with managers to overcome this kind of behaviour, we do a survey of their colleagues and the people around them, which gives the leader feedback on how they’re seen by others. That can be a big shock, a big wake up call.
“They just have to learn that there are better ways to get results from your people than bullying tactics. Every employee has a reserve of discretionary effort – that extra 10% they will put in for a leader who inspires them, who recognises and rewards their good work.
“Workers who feel oppressed by their manager are just going to show up from nine to five and won’t put their head down. They’ll do what’s necessary to keep their job and nothing more.”
Stephens himself had to face a controlling boss. He handled the situation by being assertive and standing his ground.
“My boss expected me to lie to clients about how long I’d been working for the company. He told me to say I’d been there for three years, because the clients wouldn’t want to work with a junior.
“I said, ‘but that’s not true.’ We had an argument and I nearly resigned. He backed down and we found a middle ground – I told clients I’d been in the industry, if not the company, for three years – which was true, and I felt comfortable saying.”
Personal integrity is one thing, keeping your job is another. Those who are not willing to risk losing their job can turn to the people around them for help, instead of confronting the boss directly.
Colleagues can be an invaluable source of support, says Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School. Employees can band together to focus on tasks and help each other to succeed despite a demanding boss. By creating a network of alternate relationships, you may not feel so isolated, and together you can weaken the control of the toxic manager and bring them to the attention of higher level management. Find someone in your workplace that you can trust, and anchor each other with moral support.
If following your company’s official complaint procedure hasn’t worked, you may need to turn to legal avenues. Workplace bullying involving discrimination (on the grounds of sex, race, age, disability, etc) and harassment (including stalking and assault) is a criminal offence and should be reported immediately. Other kinds of bullying may be covered under Occupational Health and Safety legislation, which states that employers have a legal responsibility to eliminate or reduce the risks to employees caused by workplace bullying.
Bullying can be costly for an organisation – in high turnover, lost productivity and increased leave taking. Not to mention the financial burden of legal and worker’s compensation as well as lost management time from addressing cases of harassment. Should the story reach the media or social networks, bad PR is another damaging factor.
It’s in an organisation’s best interest to minimise the impact of a toxic boss. To do this, Kanter recommends that performance reviews are based on objective measures, not subjective ones. The organisation can examine tasks and workloads for relevance and fairness, and make flexibility a right. They can also switch a chain-of-command hierarchy for a team-based culture that encourages success and empowers employees. Here, workers are given shared responsibility and leaders are coaches rather than ‘bosses’.
“To me, a great leader never sees themselves as a ‘boss’. ‘Boss’ says, ‘you’re my subordinate and I issue your commands to you’,” says Ian Stephens.
“Everyone needs to be made to feel important – that’s one of the seven life requirements that leaders shouldn’t overlook. New managers must be trained in the appropriate upskilling tools so they can step into that identity comfortably.
“Leaders should encourage peak performance without resorting to intimidation tactics. For businesses, ultimately – if you can’t change the person, change the person.”
Fred Barret, an American consultant, has a novel way of testing employers before he decides to work for them. Barret told Sue Shellenbarger, Wall Street Journal columnist, that he always visits the bathroom at an interview to check out the toilet paper. According to Barret, soft and cushy paper is a good sign. Rough paper signifies that the company is happy to cut costs when it comes to looking after their employees.
So next time you’re at an interview, if your gut’s telling you there’s a horrible boss behind the desk, make an excuse to visit the loo. Are they looking out for your bottom line?
Article supplied by Big Fish Global Consulting Group Pty Ltd www.bigfishgroup.com.au
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January 2012… we return from the festive season literally sluggish. We don’t realize that our thinking and actions over the next 30 days set up one of three outcomes. A spiral of positive energy and a year of manifesting, a ground-hog year of staying in your comfort zone, or a downward out-of-control spiral which goes from bad to worse!
You don’t need a crystal ball to see how 2012 is going to turn out for you. Those who actually achieve their desired outcomes will be the ones who live the following principles. They underpin the science of manifesting your personal or professional goals. If you want 2012 to be a year of growth, we suggest you:
Let’s delve in 2012, and explore each of these in more detail:
Your thoughts and actions created the results you achieved. You literally behaved your way into the outcomes you got. We read an article recently which suggested that if you behaved yourself into the current box you’re in, surely you can behave your way out of it.
True, but let’s also remember that all behavior is driven by your beliefs and values, so it stands to reason that unless you make a shift in your thinking and your core motivation, ‘behaving your way’ to better outcomes is the long path. For a faster and more sustainable approach, you must…
Most of you are manifestors, or you would not be reading this article, and yet, how consistent are you? You get to a point where you are disgusted with the results you’re achieving, so you adopt a change in thinking, and take massive action.
Three months later you are on a high and the results and funds are pouring in. At this point you cross a threshold, and FEAR creeps in; ‘I can’t maintain this, this is too good to be true’. Now the downward spiral starts and three months later you’re under pressure to perform. This roller-coaster between feast and fathom becomes the pattern.
Sound familiar? If so, you need to re-visit known but regularly forgotten universal laws of manifesting:
i) Everything must be created mentally before it can manifest physically – the sales results, business KPI’s, your salary/commissions – it all operates on a vibrational energy. If you’re thinking is centered on ‘struggle, stress, its hard work’; that’s what you will continue to attract. If you’re thinking is congruent with abundance, possibilities and strong cash-flow, that’s what you can expect. Where your focus goes, energy flows. Here’s the formula…
(V + F) + A + C = Sustainable ‘Vibrational’ Manifesting.
(Visualizing + Feeling) + Action + Consistency = SVM
In summary, you must see it in your head, feel the feelings you will experience once you have achieved it, and then take consistent ongoing action. And you must be consistent with the first two parts of the formula. Action done without doing the V & F work beforehand will yield less productive result. It will feel like one step forward and two steps back. You must also appreciate that:
ii) There is a lag factor between doing the energy work (the V & F) and the results manifesting. In the sales world we talk about the lag between doing the activities and getting the results; it’s the same with manifesting. You must consistently do the activity of visualizing and feeling like it has already been achieved (the inputs), and then appreciate their will be a lag before you see evidence of the results (outputs).
iii) Turn downstream and go with the flow. Are you working with the current, or pushing against it? We are currently opening our retreat and Day Spa on the Gold Coast. You can imagine the expenses and start-up costs… and our focus/energy and self-talk turned upstream ‘Boy, this is a lot of work’, ‘Funds are becoming tight’. And before we knew it, cash-flow and funds dried up.
Clients who owed us money took ages to pay, and the bills started mounting. We realized we were pushing too hard to force it to happen with a massive launch and all the fan-fare. We decided to walk before we run; to open in a small way and bring more of the therapy rooms online later. We turned downstream – ‘This feels better’, ‘We can manage this level of start-up costs more effectively’, and ‘We have the resources to grow in phases over time’.
Within days of turning downstream and going with the flow, outstanding invoices were paid, unexpected revenues turned up, and one client even wanted us to invoice her for training which would not occur until next year, but wanted to pay it now before the year end. Amazing? Not really, just the laws of manifesting in action.
Finally, to fast-track your desired outcomes for 2012, you must…
Goals without actions are the equivalent of expecting outputs without inputs. We spend the lead up to New Year’s Eve gaining clarity on what our goals, dreams and aspirations are for the year ahead. We then spend New Year’s Day creating our Action Plans to get there. And by the way, plans are nothing – implementing is everything. Step 4 in ‘The 7 Step Pathway to Mastery’ is all about ‘Implementing’. Nothing happens until something happens. You must absolutely get clear on your goals, and have a very specific plan of activity (inputs) which will WHEN IMPLEMENTED create the desired results (outputs).
Call to action: For a copy of our Action Planning template to support your 2012 goal-setting, e-mail us at email@example.com
We would wish you all the best for 2012, but let’s finish by getting real; our wishes are external to you. The best way you can fast-track the results you want is to go internal. It all starts with your thinking and actions. Repeat after us… “If it is to be, it’s up to me”. And “Nothing changes until I change!”
Ian and Karina Stephens are directors of Enrich Management Group and co-founders of ‘Enrich Retreat & Spa’. They co-facilitate the ‘Enrich Experience’ weekend and other seminars to enrich your life and your relationships. They equip people with simple everyday tools to manage their mind and ‘state’ during times of uncertainty. For further information visit the web-site www.ianstephens.net.au
Fiji, and Fijians perplex me! I’ve only been here two days and already their culture perplexes me. And I guess on reflection, this occurs because I’m confronted by what I see, hear and feel, and I need to take on board some of their messages.
I have just arrived on the beautiful island resort of Muscat Cove for a well earned holiday. Fresh from the hectic schedule of ‘Get-everything-done-and-squared-away-before-we-leave’ syndrome, I am greeted by the island staff who tell you outright, in a joking but very serious way, that they operate according to ‘Fiji Time’. ‘What’s that?’ says I, thinking it is a Pacific Region equivalent to GMT, or Eastern Standard Time!
‘No worry, no hurry’ comes the reply. ‘Slow down, chill out. Fiji time’, says the Fijian, followed by little giggle. They giggle a lot here. Probably a message in that too!
Then I picked up the daily resort newsletter and read the Fijian quote of the day… “The day will happen, whether you choose to get up, or not!”
Now you can probably see why I am perplexed. Is it just me, or are these two philosophies contradicting each other. And yet, when you have time to sit on the beach and watch the most amazing sunsets in the world, you have time to dig a little deeper and reflect on the wisdom in the messages.
Here’s what I think this gentle and wise race of islanders are suggesting to us Westerners…
It reminds me of that saying that not to many people on their deaths beds, wish they had spent more time at the office! These first few days relaxing in Fiji have caused me to reflect on how I lead my daily life.
Now, finally, comes the dawning, that we were designed to work, rest, and play. I have been working 25 years now since leaving school, and I think I have forgotten to balance the last two!
Which one are you?
As a true sales professional, I hope you identify with the latter. In my travels around the world speaking and training (just back from Auckland last week) I would have to be a certified idiot not to notice that success leaves clues! The sales professionals at the top of their company, industry and market, are those who simply don’t sell. Instead they create a ‘buy-from’ environment. They don’t get many objections and they don’t need to apply the technique-ish stuff – they don’t sell or flog products. They value-add. They go through a consultative approach…yes, and yet they do it in such a relaxed and conversational way that the potential client wants to do business with them. No one likes to be sold to… but we all love to buy!
My advise… get serious; the only product a potential client is really interested in… is their own… and selling it. So shift your focus onto demonstrating how your product or service will make them more productive or profitable at selling their product.
That’s when you notice your own sales soar….
Yours in Sales Success
I have recently finished a 1-1 sales coaching project on actual customer interactions. What I noticed is a pattern of bad habits concerning sales people. The result – missed sales, profit and bonus opportunities.
Success leaves clues, as do mistakes. After 20 days and approximately 80 one-one coaching sessions and joint field visits, it was easy to see a pattern forming. Time and time again, sales reps would make the same mistakes, and sales opportunities walked out the door.
The 7 deadly sins of retail sales people are:
Anyone doing three or more shouldn’t be on the team – fire them – they are costing you sales and profit. Touch base if you want the full article where we explore each of the 7 deadly sins of selling and re-connect to the skills and behaviours we should be doing to maximize sales, profits and/or commissions:
If no one sells, no one else in the organisation has a job. So where do you get off criticizing the sales department or team when you don’t understand the complexity involved in managing key accounts, landing new business and securing opportunities in the pipeline. Sales is one of the most noble and hardest professions in the world, and everyone elses pay is dependant on them doing a great job. If you don’t agree it’s hard, then I suggest you pick up the phone and try doing some cold calling, or get out there and pitch a proposal to a key account. You’ll soon see the sales team in a different light instead of thinking they are just out in their cappuccino land all day!
I look forward to your contribution.
Yours in success
Hi all, and welcome to my blog. I have decided it is time to join the 21st century and get blogging. In my travels, and work with various companies around the world, in all forms of industry, I notice issues and/or common themes coming through. Now I have a forum in which I can share them, so you don’t have to wait until I’m next in town working with your team.
Over the last 2 weeks, I have worked with 4 different organisations spanning different industries, and yet suffering the same complaint! They have a massive DIS-CONNECT between marketing and the sales department. There is no clear marketing direction which has been well communicated to the sales force… and/or acted upon by the sales force. When I interview senior executives and sales leaders/managers, they seem to be able to tell me the company vision, strategies and marketing direction, but when I start questioning the Sales-force level… the silence is deafening. They don’t seem to have a strong feel for it. My major concern is that we now have a sales-force out their busy doing sales activity that is not aligned with the companies marketing direction; you know, Sales Reps or Key Account Managers selling old and dying products which they are comfortable with, but isn’t going to help increase sales in the new service or product area the comapny has invested $ 000’s.
So, this leads me to ponder a statement made to me by my 1st Managing Director in the Sales Training and Development arena. In his 20 years experience across 40 odd countries, he said “The most successful organisations have the marketing function under the control of Sales Director… not the reverse!” So, before I sign off on an opinion one way or another, I want some feedback for inclusion in my new upcoming book, The 7 Step Pathway to Sales Success (I’ve got the pages numbers done… I just have to fill in the content!)
Should the marketing report to sales, or vice-versa?
I would appreciate any contirbutions to the debate.
By the way, anyone interested in retaining talented employee’s – Why dont you go to my web site at www.ianstephens.net.au, click on ‘Programs’ and double click on “The 7 Essential Life Requirements”. Great leaders make sure they are serving up at least 5 of these requirements thus promoting staff loyalty to want to stay away from the weekend classified section!
Looking forward to your contribution to the great sales vs marketing debate!
Yours in sales success