Friday, March 25, 2011

black sheep

Bullying is also called "harassment". Someone very close to me* has been targeted at his work. What he does about it is naturally his decision. I have been telling him to leave that workplace as it's infested with negativism. When people ask me about this company that's what I say, as it is my personal opinion. And I'll be happy to tell everyone far and wide. I'll them on twitter I tell them on Facebook I tell them in person.

It used to upset me a lot that a senior manager could mis use his power and along with other cronies start targeting staff just because he can, just because the staff actually give a damn and ask difficult questions. It's such a waste of time and energy this power play song and dance; it's unreal. Yet the good news is that we can choose again. We do not need to abide by rules just because 'we have done this that way for the past 100 years' and 'you just have to listen to me'. Come on this is 2011 already.

The truth is that of course there is probably more to the story and yes I have taken his story with grains of salt as one should do. I think the writing is on the wall though when all of his immediate colleagues are looking for other jobs, and one has left because of bullying already and another because he could no longer stand the depressing atmosphere. Mostly I find it sad, because without realizing it the senior manager has solely achieved this:
- adding more bad vibes to the company and sending the good people out the door first (they are the smartest and most talented and run quickly when they clue in.)
- less productivity and low morale, the least talented crew stays
- bad or worse results in production
- bad PR as news gets out so the company's image deteriorates slowly but steadily.
In effect: I see little benefits to the whole power play episode. Maybe a bully can help me out here to see reason.

And now for the good news:
People have a choice. He has learned a lot while working for this company both good and bad. I have to add that there are actually nice people there too. (One of them is Mary I love Mary.) Once he leaves he will be baffled and surprised he stuck with them for so long. Bullying kills respect and loyalty faster then a mouse can fart. The freedom to experience different working relationships will do this person good. He's already been approached to work for other companies so don't feel bad for him, we don't. It's very educational.

Instead of focusing on the bad let's focus on the good now;
you always have a choice in regards to what work environment you choose to be in. I'm not talking about the kind of job, but the vibe a place has, what is their behavior like? Do you feel happy there or most of the time? Are your colleagues supportive? Why do you come to work everyday? Do you understand your part in the equation?

Ideally we like to work in an environment that nurtures us. Why? Because that is human nature, to be part of a tribe, to belong, to work for something that is bigger then us. to believe in something good, to share a common goal and yes, to generate income. Research tells us that for most people the money is like a sideline, what we really want is to feel useful, to contribute and to be appreciated. 

Whatever it is you do, my vote is on doing it happily. The bottom line is: if you agree with it continue, if it makes you unhappy question your motives of being there. Oh and to the bullies: the game is up. We know why you do what you do and we choose another experience. Because we can.

*this person very close to me has asked me to withhold his identity until he resigns, and he has decided on a date to do so. I hope his 'chat' today goes well, in the sense that he will be able to stick by himself and not be tempted to sink to their level or be 'black-sheepie-fied'. Time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mirjam, this is a great blog, I sympathize with your friend having found myself in a similar situation very early on in my career. I made a choice back then, to ensure that when I'm given a role of responsibility NEVER to conduct myself like my old area manager. The problem is people can either rebel or conform to what they know, in this example if you conform, you ultimately become everything you used to hate about your awful management.
    Negative energy in the work place, unfortunately is developed through it's culture and the only way that will change is by changing the attitudes of those at the very top. Not an easy task.

    Thanks for a great blog!