Forgiving & loving your leader: From enemies to friends

 

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(Passionate Giving, 2012)

“You sure you want to work for her?” a senior administrator asked me point-blank.  “She is an absolute jerk.  She’s come into my office, this office right here, screaming and demanding things.”  Similarly, another senior leader told me, “I’m fond of you and she’s not someone I would recommend you working under.  I’m worried for and I’m warning you.”

But I went anyway.

And they were somewhat right.

But the thing is, we sometimes have to find out for ourselves.

Later, once in that work environment, people would ask me in passing, by phone and email, “What’s it like working for so-and-so?”

Or, “How can you stand her?”

And even, “You okay?”

That leader fired people when they messed up.  Course, when you know someone’s looking for your mistakes or focusing on them, and sometimes sets you up for failure, you tend to mess up more.

You also got fired if she didn’t like you.  And she went to great extents to ruin your reputation, credibility and career.  Once fired, and not under her micromanagement umbrella anymore, she still worked to sabotage any of your future success.

Funny thing was, she made mistakes all the time.  Yet, it was okay.  It was a classic, “Do as I say, not as I do” culture.

And when a “high pollutant” person (to her) came into our department, she did the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dance.  You know, where she became someone we did not recognize.  Trust me, the special treatment was envied yet, stomach-upsetting.

Shouldn’t, though, we all be treated with the same respect regardless of our position, last name, salary, popularity, history, status, or connections?

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(Brushfield, 2014)

Eventually, no one in our department felt their job tenure was safe or wanted to be at work.  And everyone I knew was looking for another job while they became a “yes” man and played “the game.”

And creativity and productivity?

Forget that. It was non-existent.

But let’s get to how I survived.

FOP_Logo_White_Med
(Somewhere Creative, n.d.)

I worked to focus on what was working.  What she was doing right because everyone does things right.  And her potential because everyone has potential.  And told her.  Over and over and over again.  Even while she reminded me and others of what we did wrong and held grudges.  Yet, “anger and blame are unproductive emotions that tie up energy in destroying rather than creating” (Kanter, 2013).

I also worked to love her (i.e., professionally and Christlike so).

And forgave her.  Which is something that was not reciprocated.

“Leaders must be firm and foster accountability, but they also must know when to forgive past wrongs in the service of building a brighter future” said Kantor (2013) in her Forbes piece, “Great Leaders Need to Know When to Forgive” (para. 1).  She explained “Instead of settling scores, great leaders make gestures of reconciliation that heal wounds and get on with business” (para. 2). Even Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi believed, “The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong” (Santa Barbara.com, n.d.).

Gandi
(Santa Barbara.com, n.d.)

To date, although it once appeared we were enemies, we are now friends.

I believe people are placed in our lives to teach us, and perhaps, them too. I do not believe it is by coincidence, but divine placement.

The real questions, though, are what will you do with the folks’ and circumstances placed before you?  Will you murmur or will you make and do good with them?

So the next time someone warns you not to work for someone, do think and pray about it.

Yet, keep in mind that it could be just what you need.  After all, explained church leader Monte Brough (2016), when quoting the Apostle Paul, “… tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope … ” (para. 11).

References

Brough, M. J. (2016, April).  Lessons from the Old Testament: Adversity, the great teacher.  Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/ensign/2006/08/lessons-from-the-old-testament-adversity-the-great-teacher?lang=eng

Brushfield, A. (2014, August 11).  Are you respected in the workplace?  Retrieved from https://www.thindifference.com/2014/08/respected-workplace/

Kanter, R. M. (2013, February 26).  Great leaders know when to forgive.  Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/02/great-leaders-know-when-to

Passionate giving.  (2012, April 30).  How to confront bad leadership.  Retrieved from https://veritusgroup.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/how-to-confront-bad-leadership/

Santa Barbara.com. (n.d.).  Forgiveness.  Retrieved from http://hindi.santabanta.com/sms-cat.aspx?catid=621&page=2

Somewhere creative.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://cargocollective.com/somewherecreative/focus-on-potential

 

 

 

 

 

You bully: “Stop it!” Be nice

Not long ago, when visiting relatives, I asked our granddaughter if she wanted to come to church with us.

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(Family Photo)

“No, thank you.”

“You sure?”

“No, I don’t want to.”

“How come?”

“The bullies are there.”

“The bullies are there?”

“Yes.”

“Who?”

“The same ones’ that bully me at school.”

A child won’t go to church because she doesn’t want to be bullied in a place where she should never be bullied?

Put church aside.  There is no place where bullying is okay.

Yet, it happens everywhere.

You know, an employee who doesn’t want to go to work for fear of being bullied by a boss and or coworker(s).

A child who doesn’t want to go home for fear of being bullied by a parent and or siblings.

A kid who doesn’t want to walk home from school for fear of being bullied by a neighborhood gang.

A athlete who doesn’t want to attend sports practice for fear of being picked on by a coach and or teammates.

And so-on-and-so-forth.

Point blank, it is never okay to bully.

Period.

Workplace Bullying

Some years back, when I lived in Washington state, I had an opportunity to hear Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie, founders of Workplace Bullying Institute, speak at the Oregon Health Science Center in Portland.  I had been following them through their institute and had purchased their book,  The Bully at Work.

The Namie’s define workplace bullying as:

… mistreatment severe enough to compromise a targeted worker’s health, jeopardize her or his job and career, and strain relationships with friends and family. It is a laser-focused, systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction. It has nothing to do with work itself. It is driven by the bully’s personal agenda and actually prevents work from getting done. It begins with one person singling out the target. Before long, the bully easily and swiftly recruits others to gang up on the target, which increases the sense of isolation. (Workplace Bullying Institute, 2015).

The Namie’s got into the workplace bullying business after Ruth was bullied when she was working as a psychologist in California.  Similarly, a friend of mine was bullied at a college.  Get this, her boss would actually look in her trashcan to try and find mistakes she had made; this is how toxic the department at her college was.

Can you imagine?

Aren’t there better things to do?

Like finding what people are doing right, seeing the good in them and building them up?

Anyway, my friend’s boss also had favorites who received promotions, outings and special privileges.

I have been bullied as well.  At work, in school, by a roommate, former spouse, and even at church.

It is not fun.  It doesn’t feel good or right; after all, how can it since that behavior is far from Christ-like.  And forget performing at your best.  When you know you are being watched like a hawk, and you feel like you are walking on eggshells, where someone is waiting for you to mess-up, and then focuses on everything you do wrong, you mess-up even more.  That then gives the bully justification to bully you further.  It is a sick, toxic and destructive cycle.

But bullying actually says more about the bully than it does you.

Workplace Bully Behaviors

To identify if you are a bully (i.e., what one might think, say, or do if a bully) take a look at this “Workplace Bullies” infographic:

What Bullies Say
(dmangus, n.d.)

Does any of this sound familiar?

If so, keep reading, there is hope for you.

Workplace Bullying Statistics

Additionally, here is another infographic from CareerBuilder (2014) with “statistics on bullying in the workplace”:

Bullying Statistics
(Workplace Bullying, n.d.)

As you can see, it includes various types of bullying behavior that was reported by employees.

If You Are a Workplace Bully

Comaford (2014) believes bullies act in “ineffective and appropriate way[s]” because they desire one of three things: “safety, belonging and mattering” (para. 14).  Abraham Maslow wrote about belonging in his Hierarchy of Needs model which I alluded to in a previous blog post: ‘Watch me, daddy’: How to overcome the need to be validated   “Safety, belonging and mattering” are good things.  Everyone wants to be needed and included.  But being a bully is not the way to accomplish that longing.

If you have identified yourself as a bully, the formula to quit is common sense, “stop it!” said church leader, Dieter F. Uchtdorf (2012).  He also provided a little more direction, as he declared, “When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it! It’s that simple” (para. 13).

After you “stop-it” I would add just love people, find what they are doing right, and see the good in them.

Maybe then, my beautiful and sweet granddaughter will attend church because she feels safe.

References

Comaford, C. (2014, March 12). How to stop workplace bullies in their tracks.  Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2014/03/12/bust-workplace-bullies-and-clear-conflict-in-3-essential-steps/#780df5c87912

Deseret News Faith. (2017). Memorable sermons from LDS leaders in fewer than 10 words.  Retrieved from http://www.deseretnews.com/top/2354/0/Memorable-sermons-from-LDS-leaders-in-fewer-than-10-words.html

dmangus. (n.d.). Recognizing workplace bullies for what they are is the first step [Blog post].  Retrieved from http://dmangus.blogspot.com/2016/01/recognizing-workplace-bullies-for-what.html

Namie, G. & Namie, R. (2009).  The bully at work: What you can do to stop the hurt and reclaim your dignity on the job.  Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Bully-Work-What-Reclaim-Dignity/dp/1402224265

Workplace Bullying. (n.d.). Statistics on bullying in the workplace. [Pinterest post).  Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/explore/workplace-bullying/

Workplace Bullying. (n.d.).  Workplace bullying [Pinterest post).  Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/explore/workplace-bullying/
The Running Mormon (2016, June 29).  I was bullied at church.  Retrieved from  http://www.therunningmormon.com/2016/06/i-was-bullied-at-church.html

Uchtdorf, D. F. (2012, April).  The merciful obtain mercy.  Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-merciful-obtain-mercy?lang=eng