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This article was written by Glory Borgeson, an executive coach, author, and speaker. Schedule her
to speak at your organization's next event:
Personal Branding Speaker; Emerging Leadership Speaker; Entrepreneurial Speaker
In Part 1 of this article, I wrote about seeing this article's title on
the t-shirt of a man at a football game. It made me chuckle.
Sometimes truth is spoken in jest.
Whenever the U.S. economy has a greater number of layoffs,
I tend to hear a greater number of workplace stories from
people who feel somewhat beat up. Some workplaces sound
more like college fraternity houses. You could swear you
heard someone say, "Thank you, sir. May I have another?"
What can a person do if they find themselves at a company,
or in a department, where morale is low because the
emotional "beat-up factor" is high?
The quick answer is, "Find a new job." The slow answer is,
If you are in a position to effect change, then you can
choose to set the tone and put measures in place to bring
about the morale changes you want to see. Do your employees
bring each other down? Are there managers reporting to you
who treat their employees like fraternity pledges? Are
these managers redeemable? What can a leader do?
Consider 'workplace civility' as a great place to start.
Being civil to one another at work is much more difficult
to achieve when morale is low. Therefore, focusing on
workplace civility is important in good times as well as
bad, in order to set a good precedent and tone.
A consultant who specializes in workplace civility issues
is Giovinella Gonthier of Civility Associates. She has
written a book titled "Rude Awakenings". In it she reviews
typical workplace incivility, and then outlines steps and
measures to take to implement a civility program.
What if you're not in a position to effect company or
You need to know your limits. When experiencing
"the beat-up factor", drawing a line for someone is a
good thing to do; after doing that, do they still
cross the line?
One of the gurus of coaching, the late Thomas Leonard, was known
for a phrase he would ask those he coached:
"What are you tolerating?" In other words, if you are
tolerating something at work, you need to do something
about it. How long do you think you can tolerate the
"beat-up factor" if it doesn't change? What is your
If you see no lasting changes coming, will you look
into an inter-company transfer, or even to a new company
My own limits depend on the type of "beat-up factor" I
encounter. I was once consulting at a company where an
employee (whom I'll call Ken) was a grizzly-bear-type who
did not hide that fact. One day Ken was very angry about
something; a co-worker told me that he thought Ken was
going to hit me. My plain response was, "No he won't."
Ken really didn't bother me. Two weeks later he was
eating out of my hand. Even though other people felt
stressed by Ken, I really felt no stress and did not
feel beat up by him at all.
In contrast, I left that project about 3 weeks early
due to a different "beat-up factor". A handful of people
on the project were involved in back stabbing and
tattling. After several days of feeling my eye twitch,
talking to the lead back stabber, and seeing no change,
I had to leave that environment.
Everyone has their limits regarding the workplace
"beat-up factor". Know what your limits are. Decide
what to do. Then take action.
If you have ever been in a "beat-up factor" in the
workplace, please let me know and tell me what you
chose to do. I'd love to hear about it!
I appreciate your thoughts in response.
Glory Borgeson, President
© 2008 Borgeson Consulting, Inc.
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