Stop Bullies and Jerks At Work With This One Question

The bullies and jerks at work are people who are running scared. They attack and try to keep you off balance so that you don’t notice that they are off balance and insecure as all hell. They are wounded and they don’t understand it or why they feel the way they do.

It is not your job to fix them but it is your job to set your own boundaries (think of boundaries as STOP signs) and standards of how you choose to be treated and how you will treat others. It is also your job to respectfully call out those who do violate your boundaries and standards. But be careful here. Do it according to your own values and standards of civility. The jerks and bullies gain power and momentum when they trigger you and you respond just like them. You might feel entitled to lash out because people like this have shown complete disregard for your values. But all you do when you react instead of respond is let the jerks win the day.

The most effective leaders practice and exercise self-management. They know what triggers them and who triggers them (self-awareness) and they have well-developed ways to neutralize the trigger so that they can respond from a place of balance. (self-management) Their measured responses teach the bully and others present how things should be done.

Try this. Approach with genuine curiosity and the desire to inform and correct, not slam back.

Next time someone is being a jerk to you or someone else, respond right away (don’t wait or let it go on because it builds strength). Simply ask in a strong and balanced voice “Excuse me, but do you hear how hostile and degrading your words and tone of voice are right now?”

Wait for them to answer.

If they don’t answer, follow up with, “Seriously, I am genuinely asking you, can you hear it?”

Wait for them to answer. 

If the answer is “No” then say what is true for you. Something like, “Well you’re being harsh and using language like (insert language) that is insulting and it is impossible to hear anything constructive in your message. I would appreciate you taking that language and tone out of it and tell me what you are really trying to say.”

If they answer “Yes” then ask for the same thing. Something like, “Good. Please stop it. I am willing to hear what you have to say but I need you to say it with respect.”

The reason bullying and being a jerk at work is getting to be an epidemic is because those who act this way spur our anger or embarrassment or whatever and we go into defensive mode. The second this happens we have lost our power and influence and most important, our ability to stop the behavior.

Whoever has the strongest momentum wins. Shift the momentum to respect with your response and behavior and the jerks and bullies lose their power.

Sheila Madden is CEO of Madden Coaching & Consulting. If you like this blog and want to receive more like it, please sign up on the right of this page.
Copyright 2017, Sheila Madden. All Rights Reserved.

6 Things Courageous Leaders Never Fail To Do

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90% of the problems that leaders face, and their subsequent solutions, are ambiguous, according to a study done by Korn Ferry/Lominger. To deal with this ambiguity requires spaciousness in thinking and being. It is not about always having the answer and proving to be the smartest person in the room. Rather, it requires having humility and respect for the responsibility of creating an environment where people can learn to  think, innovate and problem solve successfully while navigating through the unknown.
Continue reading → 6 Things Courageous Leaders Never Fail To Do

5 Questions Leadership Teams Should Be Asking Themselves Everyday

 

womenexecconvoLeadership = Fierce Conversations Required

Our lives are a series of relationships, the success or failure of which happens one conversation at a time.  The same is true for our organizations. The quality of the conversations that executive teams have among themselves will either help  their organization succeed, under-perform or potentially fail.
Continue reading → 5 Questions Leadership Teams Should Be Asking Themselves Everyday

5 Things No One Will Tell You About Being A Great Leader

10871528-leadershipLeadership failures are failures of the soul. They are always the result of people losing sight of who they are, what their real job is and what the right thing is to do. We tend to make leader heroes out of those who have the sexiest products, the most successful innovations, the best financial results or IPO’s. Those are all great results, but they are just that: the results of great leadership.  But what is the actual secret leadership sauce that is the catalyst for creating results like these? There are lots of combinations of things, which definitely include external as well as internal factors. But when you examine those stellar leadership stories, you will generally find individuals who understand that these 5 building blocks are key for creating a foundation for great leadership. 
Continue reading → 5 Things No One Will Tell You About Being A Great Leader

3 Truths That Will Make Or Break You As A Leader

Sheila Madden, CEO, Madden Coaching & Consulting
Sheila Madden, CEO, Madden Coaching & Consulting

The Cost Of Leadership Failure

These 3 truths about leadership are important to understand not just because they make for a successful leadership career and joyful experience of work. The fact is there is a staggering  financial reality associated with poor leadership that can mean the difference between enterprise success or failure.

Research done by the Center For Creative Leadership indicates that approximately one-third of new managers and executives will fail within 18 months. The cost of those failures can be as much as 5X the executive’s salary.
Continue reading → 3 Truths That Will Make Or Break You As A Leader

10 Ways To Succeed As A Leader: Coach Madden’s Top 10 for 2012

Sheila Madden, CEO, Madden Coaching & Consulting

Do you ever notice that genuine leaders never stop saying “yes” to life? When good things are happening they celebrate but continue moving forward and no matter what adversity faces them, they find a way to transform it and create something good.

Fundamentally, that is what leadership is. It has nothing to do with titles, paychecks, spans of control or expectations.  It has everything to do with who someone is on the inside. It has to do with the character, creativity and promise with which they approach every single person, situation and day.
Continue reading → 10 Ways To Succeed As A Leader: Coach Madden’s Top 10 for 2012

How Extraordinary Leaders Communicate: 7 Principles of Fierce Conversations

Sheila Madden, CEO, Madden Coaching & Consulting

As I watch the staggering inability of the world’s leaders to communicate with integrity and to engage people in solving the problems we face, I am reminded of one of the best leadership books I have ever read: Fierce Conversations, by Susan Scott. 

Does the word “Fierce” scare you? It shouldn’t. The lack of it is what should scare the living daylights out of you.  As defined on the book’s cover “fierce” means “robust, intense, strong, powerful, passionate, eager and unbridled.”
Continue reading → How Extraordinary Leaders Communicate: 7 Principles of Fierce Conversations