No. 113 – 14 Ways to Spot a Business Bully

Four out of five of us will experience a coworker who tries to bully or backstab. In all walks of life, there are people who suck time away in political maneuvering, grabbing resources, and creating distractions. These people can get your eyes watering:

  • They secretly present your ideas as theirs.
  • They take credit for your work to help them get ahead.
  • They attempt character assassination.
  • They provide you misleading information to their own benefit.
  • They step over people, you included.
  • They fabricate to try to save themselves.
  • They endeavor to bring you down with disrespect.
  • They create conflicts of interest.
  • They try to trick you into badmouthing the company.
  • They share private peer conversations.
  • They go over your head and behind your back.
  • They work to get your job away from you.
  • They disassociate from you after you help them.
  • They undermine you with micro-inequities, such as not returning phone calls and leaving you out of meetings, and generally make you feel, as one CEO put it, like “a sharpened instrument is being eased into the fleshy portion of your body.”

Do I have an answer to dealing with these people? That’s not so simple. First, make SURE by asking questions and not relying on hearsay as to whether the bullying is really happening. Secondly, address it early, privately, and make clear how you want it stopped and any damage corrected. (You may not get it, but unless you ask you definitely won’t.) Watch for more of the egregious behavior and elevate your response to an appropriate manager, including the bully in the conversation.

And most importantly: after reading this list make sure YOU don’t do any of these to others!


No. 112 – Make Apology When Necessary

Posted on January 4th, 2017 by in Best Leadership Practices

When you need to make an apology for something:

  • Take action sooner rather than later.
  • Don’t avoid and skirt the issue (the way some politicians do when they routinely refer to their mistakes as “oversights”).
  • Think through what you want to say.
  • Phrase it carefully, write it down, and rehearse it.
  • Plan where, when, and how you’ll say it.
  • Be genuine and sincere when you express regret.
  • Take responsibility. Don’t try to justify, find a scapegoat, or shift culpability.
  • Explain the change that you will make to remedy the wrong: “Here’s what I’m doing. . . .”
  • Make amends and reparations, and make the situation right.
  • Explain the actions to be taken going forward to prevent a repeated incident.
  • Explain the likely penalty if you don’t carry out your commitments.

It my seem like a lot of steps but it will 1) help you remember your mistake so as not to repeat it, and 2) show the depth of your sincerity to those offended.


No. 111 – Leaders Project a Good Attitude

Posted on December 27th, 2016 by in Best Leadership Practices

It’s okay to wear an enthusiastic, upbeat attitude on your sleeve. That’s a constructive and productive point of view when coupled with plans to make it happen. A positive, optimistic approach will improve the outcome of any situation you are in, even if you’re the only one who has one.

Yes, I know that life is frequently one darn negative thing after another. It isn’t for sissies. However, you survive it by being emotionally resilient and limiting the negative things that you add to it. No doubt, there is a risk to your optimistic perspective; sometimes a naysayer is right. Still, I would rather drive into my brain days of upbeat thoughts and actions than allow harmful, unhelpful, downbeat, and destructive thoughts to seep in.

Overly optimistic beats overly pessimistic any day. As my long time friend and mentor, Curt Carter, says, “I’m always positive; sometimes justifiably.”


P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 110 – Why Appearances Matter for Virtual Professionals

Posted on December 21st, 2016 by in Effective Communication

First, appearances matter whether they see you or not, because YOU see you. I had more than one female executive tell me they slip on a pair of high heels before they write an email and put lipstick on before making a phone call. One male executive says he brushes his teeth before he leaves a voicemail message to make it cleaner.

When using Skype or FaceTime: check the lighting, check the backdrop, check the volume, your posture, clothes, hair, etc. In other words, plan and practice before you go live.


P.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

No. 109 – What Pitfalls Should Virtual Executives Beware Of?

Posted on December 13th, 2016 by in Best Leadership Practices

Thirty-seven percent of all U.S. workers do some form of telecommuting according to Gallup, which means that many executives are managing employees virtually at least part of the time. What should managers watch out for in the digital realm?

Thinking they can get away with sloppy thinking, writing, responding, dress, planning, integrity, disposition, etc. — because no one sees. Wrong. Everything that goes on behind a monitor can be sensed, felt, surmised by the other person.

If a growing plant can respond to someone’s attitude (as Prince Charles believes), a horse can sense fear running down the reins, a dog can feel your attitude towards it — then a fellow human being can perceive your true intentions, even through electronics. So, we can’t assume we can get away with lower performance or less effort just because we’re not always face to face.


P.S.  If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.

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