Facing off with your Passive-Aggressive Managers

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You might be a C-Suite level boss with many managers below you. Many in your management pool may carry over their personal dysfunctions into their work life. Truly, “Who you are is how you lead”.

Not sure if the employee is passive aggressive or just passive? Passive Aggression is an indirect way to express hostility. You could compare it to a stab in the back vs. a slap on the face. It can be confusing, at first, to identify what’s going on because it can be so subtle. Some common identifiers of passive aggression:

  1. Not showing up at meetings, being habitually late, or leaving early when others are pressing in
  2. Calling in sick at key times
  3. Making lots of excuses and blame-casting for poor behavior
  4. Withholding information from other team members
  5. Making inappropriate remarks and then passing it off as a joke
  6. Sarcasm
  7. Dragging out simple processes from approving forms or dispensing reimbursements to approving transfers and promotions
  8. Feigning ignorance about the impact of their behavior on their colleagues and subordinates

These employees and managers can be your in-house saboteurs. This behavior sets a negative tone at work, builds walls between departments and politicizes the environment. It also amplifies other employees’ negative feelings, thus becoming a  contagion of discontent. We become complicit when we allow such behavior to go unaddressed. Continue reading

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Prop or Drop? 7 Last- chance Fixes for Poor Performers



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Some employees do such poor work, have such miserable ethics and are so obviously misaligned with the values of a company that they are relatively easy to fire. There is no second guessing by HR or your management peers. The subordinate’s colleagues are saying, “What took you so long?!”

Most often, however, giving a series of poor evaluations presents another dilemma; while they may deserve to be fired it seems to final, too fast. You wonder if this would be a big mistake.

Here are 7 interim solutions: Mix and match and buy yourself time both to re-evaluate your position and give the employee a chance to make a turnaround. Continue reading

Managing Your “Meeting Pouter”

You’re in your monthly strategic meeting when for the umpteenth time, Feng makes a snarky comment to a new suggestion. Everyone either glares at him with annoyance or audibly sighs. Here we go again! Will the boss ever say something to him??

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While it may seem like a simple case of poor work ethic (which it sometimes is), this lack of proper meeting decorum is also a symptom of poor emotional intelligence (EI). Koman and Wolff identify  four overarching clusters of EI skills: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management (Goleman, 2001; Boyatzis, Goleman & Rhee, 1999). The lack of any of the cluster of skills mentioned can present in inappropriate behavior with a damaging impact at your meetings.  I call these resulting behaviors – for simplicity sake – “pouting”.

Categories of “pouting” we may observe at meetings Continue reading

Why everyone labels you “aggressive”

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I enjoy the coaching that accompanies my role as a training facilitator for mid to large-sized organizations. As an outsider I can see behaviors and dysfunctions objectively. As a sensor/perceiver, I notice things like eye twitches and subtle flashes of annoyance as they cross participants’ faces. And because I genuinely enjoy people, even the most offensive, outwardly hostile employee doesn’t offend me. They fascinate me.

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A Tiger in the Forest – Taming Your Team-Busting Employee

Thomas Friedman in  Friedman’s Fables tells the tale of “The Friendly Forest” , a place where all of the animals live happily together until a new neighbor, a ferocious tiger, moves in. The very presence of the tiger disrupts the calm, peaceful atmosphere, especially for the lamb that seems to be the object of the Tiger’s growling obsession. The frightened lamb is advised by his friends not to leave the forest just because of one new inhabitant; he’s counseled that ‘the tiger is just being a tiger – that’s just how they behave’. Perhaps the lamb is being too sensitive. In fact, perhaps the lamb, itself, is contributing tho the aggressiveness of the tiger!tiger-emerald-forest-koyeq_085123 Perhaps the Lamb needs to give concessions to the tiger and accept his behaviors. Meanwhile the stalking continues until finally someone had the wisdom to say, “This is ridiculous. You don’t try to make the lamb and tiger communicate better. If you want them to coexist in the same forest you have to cage the bloody tiger!”.

And so it is in business when one or more employees, by their attitudes or behaviors, poison the work environment, demotivating the whole department. And haven’t we all been like the other animals in the forest at one time or another, wishing someone would just cage (or shoot) that tiger?

What are some of the reasons we allow such behavior to continue?

Continue reading