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Showing posts from January, 2014

Incompatibility in the Office

Irreconcilable differences are a common reason for divorce, and while there might be jokes around squeezing the toothpaste tube from the top or the bottom, it is a fact that the smallest things become huge issues in an incompatible relationship.  (I have to admit that my husband of 32 years and I solved this one by using different brands).

At work, it is as difficult as at home.  Incompatibility is a rather vague description, because it is not easy to pin down exactly why two people simply do not get the best out of each other.   In a boss /employee scenario, it may have a serious impact on productivity, as well as making one or both extremely unhappy.  A junior person may even feel that he is being bullied.

There is also the possibility that they actually get on well together but their work styles are so different that their deliverables are not being achieved, anyway.

Years ago, I had a Services Manager who was a brilliant trainer of new software field consultants, but in all other …

Are you the host or a guest at the office?

This is a favourite topic of mine.   I started thinking about it, some years ago, when we hosted social events for our staff at the office.   There were those, both management and staff, who pitched in, but there were many more who had a wonderful evening, said thank you very politely at the end, and left the execs and senior managers loading dishwashers and generally tidying up.

Then I started extending my thinking to every day at work.   We had a robbery one evening and we found that one of our managers was the last in and out through the front door before the robbery (our +Accsys (Pty) Ltd Time and Attendance system proved very useful), so we asked him if he had noticed anything.   "Oh yes" he told us, "in fact, they let me in the door, there were 5 of them, 3 men and 2 women, but I didn't recognise them, so I thought they must be temps or new staff".    He was definitely a guest.

When we have a dinner party at home, the family all help, most of the real wor…

Workplace Bullying (8) - Damage to Self Image

When you are bullied to the point where you stop believing in yourself, the bully has probably achieved his/her goal.   It is true, though, that for most bullies, the effect on the victim is a side issue, it is all about personal power.

I have recently finished a novel called The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.   One of the central themes is that we carry the damage from our youth into old age.  Once our self image is unstable, the process to rebuild confidence in ourselves and our abilities, is intense.

The reality of low self esteem impacts every area of life.      When it hits you in your skills and abilities, day to day effectiveness is a challenge, let alone applying for promotions.

There is no "one size fits all" answer, and it really does require courage and commitment.   If it is financially viable, therapy is a key part of rebuilding self image.   If it isn't, there are steps that somebody who is being victimised can take.   However, it is a reality that people in…

Setting Goals for 2014

..or what used to be known as New Year's Resolutions.

Each year brings its highs and lows, and the eternally optimistic human race believes that we get a fresh start each January 1st.   Belief is a strong driver, and optimism is capable of delivering very good results.

So, with that in mind, I decided to try and give myself some good advice....
Enjoy more special family and friend time, have got a bit too chilled and lazy over weekendsRemain passionate about what matters, but not angry when things go wrong.Be upfront about issues, deal with them quickly, and avoid continual negative comments, frustration and feelings (mine)Delegate 3 business tasks that I have been hanging on toSet aside formal time to deal with personal issues every week eg doctor's appointments, checking bank statements, sorting out home maintenance, submitting medical claimsFocus more on strategy, and less on operational stuff, I have a great team that will ask for my input if they need itSet aside one hour …

Workplace Bullying (7) - Damage to professional brand

Professional brand and personal brand are difficult to separate.   Social networking has been a significant contributor to that.   Together, they create the image that people have of you, and both need to be carefully nurtured.

A strong professional brand brings you opportunities, promotions and a positive work environment.  Depending on what you do, the type of words people use about you, should be aligned with your career strategy.   So if you are an HR Practioner, words like trustworthy, keeps confidences, calm, great listener are good to hear.

When a workplace bully attacks your professional brand, you need to take quick and positive action.   Sadly, most people do not query the validity of the source.  Even if they don't repeat the negative message, it raises question marks and bias when interacting with you.   In addition, confirmation bias kicks in, and all your behaviours might be checked against a biased, inaccurate view.   Very scary!

Attacking the bully in return rarely…

Workplace Bullying (6) - Make a difference

People who are bullied or lonely at work are not really capable of changing the situation themselves.   If they do get included their reaction might reinforce negative opinions, because they might react by withdrawing or even by being offended.

It really is a vicious circle, although sometimes consistent kindness and positive attention can make a difference. Knowing that somebody is being bullied, and not being prepared to face the bully is possibly understandable, especially if the bully is the boss, but distancing yourself from the victim is not a solution, either.

When researching workplace bullying, I searched for articles on how colleagues can help people who are being bullied.   While most of what I found was aimed at children (and if we could stop it at school level, what a difference that would make), what was easily available focused on "don't participate in the bullying" or reporting the behaviour.   Both very valid, but could be considered high risk by both th…