Tag Archives: sabotage

Gimmicks, Gadgets & the Buzz Factor

Gimmicks, Gadgets & the Buzz Factor

At a recent three-day convention, I was slated to present the opening keynote for the next day and a workshop on communication the third day. It has always been my practice when time permitted, to come in a day early so I could hear other speakers, feel the energy of the group and if there is another main speaker, to make sure that I hear him or her.

It allows me to observe audience reaction to the speaker and the topic as well as the opportunity to link what I say with some theme within the speaker’s talk. Sure enough, I did alter part of my presentation—her theme was all about change. My keynote would be around the title of one of my books, Stabotage! How to Deal with Pit Bulls, Skunks, Snakes, Scorpions & Slugs in the Health Care Workplace. Within that talk, I always reference change—it’s one of the factors that seeds conflict.

The speaker had looked good. Loved her colors and the way she interacted with others before she began her program. And then all the gimmicks came out. Special lighting, video, hiding gadgets within the audience, audience participation and moving around—lots of bells and whistles.  Now, I love gadgets and gimmicks … I just don’t want to be OD’d with them. What was cute in the beginning became downright tiresome, almost boring. As I watched and listened, I felt that her talk had been given so many times and that the choreography of it and her body movements were so canned that she could be having an out of body experience and still do her talk. I came away with, “I’ve heard this a zillion times feeling.” Hmmmm.

The next day, I was up early and so were 400 attendees. They were energetic and enthusiastic. Some were life-long friends within the nursing profession and multi-meeting attendees; others were new to the conference. I loved their buzz and watching them with their greetings and interactions with each other. What I did notice, though, was there was no buzz about the previous day’s speaker. Nothing, almost as if she hadn’t been there.

Because of what she covered, I knew that I would only have to “kiss it” within mine, deleting a good 10 minutes and allowing me to add tidbits to a key point that I would like to spend more time. In doing this, I would reference her presentation the day before and move to the point that I could expand. What I did do, was add in something that wasn’t even covered or hinted in her talk about change and did it with a couple of slides that I put together after I heard her.

The buzz after my talk lingered until the conference ended. Attendees would come and speak to me at my book table and share that they had just been talking with their friend and they loved it when I said ______fill in the blank. The Buzz Factor … it’s important.

Because the group was running late from their lunch, which preceded my keynote, I had to cut up 20 minutes of my presentation. As a speaker, you must be flexible and adapt to just about anything, including chopping your own talk if necessary. Which I did … still, the audience listened, adsorbed and came away with relevant info for their workplaces.

To create the Buzz Factor, you can leave your audiences laughing, crying or thinking … but you can’t just leave them. I didn’t—my goal as a speaker has to always have entertainment, lots of humor but lots of meat that can be chewed on, processed, regurgitated—all loaded with ideas and concepts that can be implemented. Gadgets and Gimmicks can be fun … but they are like Chinese food—great during the meal, but after processing and gone too quickly.

Women, Sabotage & Bullying … Oh My!

 

Women, Sabotage & Bullying … Oh My!

Workplace … We have a problem … still.

Women aren’t soloists when it comes to sabotage and bullying behaviors. Men do it. Women do it. But, and it is a “but,” men do it differently. 

For co-workers, the fear of potential harm from a saboteur or bullier to them personally or professionally creates an environment that is highly stressful and toxic.  That means they are less productive, morale takes a dive, and common goals within the organization suffer. 

When times are good, employees start looking for a new job—the toxicity isn’t worth it—no matter how much they get paid.   Employers lose money because work doesn’t get done. Over-time, temp help, lost time because of grumbling amongst the staff or the energy that is put out to avoid the saboteur at all costs. When the economy is not so hot, it actually breeds the saboteur–bullying increases. People are less likely to jump ship, which creates fertile ground for the bullier in the workplace.

It’s impossible to be fully productive when you’ve got a back or front-stabber lurking in your midst.

When times aren’t so good, like in today’s economy, people don’t entertain an exit strategy.  And the bully/saboteur knows it. Bad times can be the perfect elixir for the nasty people in your workplace to step up to the plate.

Whether you are a manager or an employee, ignorance isn’t bliss.  You’ve got to deal with sabotage and undermining activities in your workplace.  If you don’t, you can lose big—your reputation, your position, and your bottom line.  Money. Lots of it.

Sabotage is the act of undermining or destroying personal or professional integrity; it creates mayhem in personal or professional lives;
and it damages
personal and professional credibility.  Sabotage can be done intentionally or unintentionally and it can be delivered overtly or covertly. 

 Women don’t own the art of sabotage, men do it too. Quite well.

Women, though, are different in their targets and methodology.  They are more inclined to be covert and deceptive as they unravel it.  A factor that has been consistent with every study that I’ve conducted, as well as those of others, is that women discriminate—their preference for undermining and bullying their own gender is the method of choice.  In contrast, men don’t discriminate—either gender is target material.

Men are more inclined to be overt when they create conflict, sabotage or a bullying act, even letting you know the day and time it will happen.  It’s the difference between backstabbing and front-stabbing.  In one case, you’re unsure who caused the action; in the other, the perpetrator is blatant and bold. If they could garner a badge for their deeds, they would wear them.

Because of the distinct differences in sabotaging behaviors of men and women, it’s wise to know how to identify a saboteur in your workplace midst.  Ask a few questions—

• Does anyone encourage gossip?  Saboteurs are superb messengers and can hardly wait to pass on discrediting information.

• Does information pass you by?  Are you out of the loop?  Saboteurs isolate their targets from regular communication links.

• Is anyone’s job in jeopardy?  Change is in the air. When change occurs, anxiety and fear becomes its companion.  Either creates a breeding ground for sabotage.

• Does anyone routinely take the credit of others or discount them (or yours)?  Saboteurs don’t bravo anyone else’s contribution to a project or idea.  The only thing that really counts is that they get credit, who cares if they did the work or not.

The work place is a breeding ground for saboteurs and bulliers. Men and women at all levels must learn to recognize the action, who creates them and learn how to confront them.  If the bullier/saboteur isn’t, it’s tantamount to giving approval to continue with the offending and abusive behavior.

Not everyone lands in the national press when set up.  But feelings of personal betrayal are no less devastating.  When a woman shafts another woman, there is a sense of violation—how could you do this … to me … to “women”?

Managers routinely ignore this problem, more out of fear for charges of sexism than anything else.  The question becomes, “Why do they fear this?” It’s because when businesses hold programs about sexual harassment, since they don’t consider themselves as harassers. This is because it’s assumed that the male is the harasser.

Women are more likely to sabotage other women, rather than harass men.  It’s a form of gender harassment.  Why should women be treated any different?  Harassment—whether caused by men or women—is a problem.

American businesses lose billions of dollars each year in lost productivity because of its unwillingness to deal with this issue.  Verbal and physical abuse, sabotage and bullying should be in no workplace. Ever.

Carefronting Employees in Your Midst …

Carefronting Employees in Your Midst …

 You’ve been recently promoted to manager of your department.  You loved being on staff, but the management role hasn’t been what you expected.  Your pre-management department friends seem to have new expectations from you (as you do from them).  The camaraderie you relished for the past two years has almost disappeared. 

 On top of that, Bertha, one of the best employees you’ve ever worked with seems to have had a personality transplant.  She routinely challenges your authority, grumbles about anything and everything, and appears to be the creator of some of the conflict your department is experiencing.

The quickest way to reduce red ink culpraits is to address them when inappropriate behavior surfaces. Your reward for resolution is increased retention, higher productivity, increased patient satisfaction and a less stressful workplace. 

Your solution cycle starts with observation, communication, confrontation and spelling out clearly what the consequence is if the behavior continues.

  1. Recognize that soft skills—effective communication and conflict resolution— are as critical as clinical skills.
  2. Make effective confronting a habit, not something that is done as a last resort.
  3. Teach communication and conflict resolution to everyone on staff.
  4. Identify Red Ink styles and behaviors and confront them immediately.
  5. Let marginal employees go.  Learn to de-hire.
  6. Create a no tolerance zone—bad behaviors are not tolerated or allowed.  Period.

 Don’t concentrate on being the “employer of choice.”  Instead, become the Employer of Choice of Choice Employees.  The real choice should be to keep the keepers and lose the losers.  The end result is a healthier workplace . . . a win-win for all.

Bullying Behavior Is Still in the Air … Clear It Out

Nasty and demeaning behavior is alive and well in the workplace today. It’s not exclusive to gender and breeds easily. In fact, the bad economy acts as a breeder.The Susans (and Sams) of the workplace who practice the art of being pit bulls, bullies and jerks are the latest topic of author and management consultant Robert Sutton. In his best-selling book, The No #$%hole Rule (Warner Business Books), he identifies his “dirty dozen”—common, everyday actions that #$%holes typically use:

 Personal insults
 Invading one’s “personal territory”
 Uninvited physical contact
 Threats and intimidation—either verbal and/or non-verbal
 Sarcastic jokes and teasing used to insult
 Withering e-mail flames
 Status slaps intended to humiliate the recipient
 Public shaming or “status degradation” rituals
 Rude interruptions
 Two-faced attacks
 Dirty looks
 Treating people as if they are invisible

So, what do you do with a Susan or a Sam—who may be a boss or a co-worker?

If you are a manager, and not the pit bull, start quantifying what the behavior is costing you. How much time do you spend dealing with the employee that is an outcome of their behavior? How much is spent with staff that is the recipient of the bully’s output? Have HR professionals been called in—what’s their time worth? Have you had to interact with those senior to you? Is overtime paid out that could be tied to last minute demands or not getting things done? Has counseling been required? Have others quit because of the bully—what are your recruitment, replacement, and retraining costs? Could this person’s behavior contribute to lower productivity among other workers, even causing some to toss in the towel and transfer or quit?

The moneys mount up. Just replacing someone can cost you between one to three times an annual salary! Loss productivity factors in both reduced output, the need for overtime or temp help and added stress to staff. Few people say that the reason they are terminating is because of a specific person, it’s usually “a better opportunity,” “more pay” (even if it’s a nickel an hour more), or “less of a commute.”

Pit bulls (with and without lipstick) and bullies are key causes of good people exiting a workplace. Keeping them can have staggering costs. In the multiple worklace studies that I’ve done for my books (the latest is in Stabotage! How to Deal with the Pit Bulls, Skunks, Snakes, Scorpions & Slugs in the Health Care Workplace), over 51% reported that they had quit jobs because of the toxic behavior of their co-workers and bosses.

Unless their contributions are worth mega millions to your workplace and it would vaporize without them, it’s time to end it. The sooner, the better

Sutton advises, “Don’t hire #$%holes and don’t let them get away with it.”

For employees, he encourages them to change the “norms”—what’s acceptable and non-acceptable among co-workers; to get out; or create an attitude of indifference toward them.

In my own research and work with organizations, I know that the more confidence you display (even faking it), the less likely these creeps will attack you. Why?—it becomes too much work on their part to bug and/or pull you down.

When a company allows and enables rotten behavior, they support bad business practices and tell their workers they don’t count. Dumb.