Hateful People at Work

I saw this license plate in front of me at a traffic light this morning while I was stopped in front of a church, talking on the phone with my daughter who is experiencing “mean girl” behavior at work. I decided it was a sign  and sent her the photo. (Also, it's not often that we see a car from North Dakota in Pittsburgh.)

Happy people don’t hurt one another. Never lose your executive presence and get emotional with hateful people. They hate themselves far more than they hate you. Their internal barometer is far more angry than you could ever feel toward them. Don’t become them. Don’t defend against them. You’ll only look small. Smile and say, “Help me understand what you mean by that” as you give yourself space to remember that you’ve got this.

If you want more executive presence tips here’s a link to my FREE report: 31 Success Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World 

Your coach,

Mary...

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At first I didnt believe this.

At first I didn't believe this graphic. Be careful how you interpret your responsibility for an unhappy person’s environment. I do believe as leaders we have to nurture our team culture and provide a safe place for mistakes to happen without shame. I believe we must encourage and be accepting. But when someone is stuck and their behavior is disrespectful and uncalled for boundaries are necessary. We don’t own or placate someone else’s bad behavior or it just enables more bad behavior. If we constantly need to rescue someone from themselves by making excuses for them or declaring that others do the same and cater to them we’ll be rescuing and enabling for a very long time. And the person being rescued’s behavior will only get worse as will their unhappiness.

It’s not our job to fix the flower. It’s our job to create boundaries around what we will and will not allow for ourselves. We can’t change them. Only our own behavior. That...

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Their Ego Versus Your Ego in the Executive Office

You know that leader who annoys you more than anyone else – the one you can’t believe got to their level? He likely has a primitive and impulsive ego that needs to be repeatedly reminded of how wonderful he is to feel good about himself or he’ll erupt, pout, manipulate or control. Inside is a little child screaming for attention who feels very unsafe. When that child gets triggered to feel the feelings she desperately tries to avoid, her behavior turns hurtful and dangerous. She’s tired – exhausted from the lack of self-acceptance that haunts her. He’s shattered at the thought that someone might actually discover how unworthy he is. Unconscious defense mechanisms are deployed. And worse yet, without mindful self-awareness she might not even realize any of this. So, she keeps putting on the take-no-prisoners exterior, feeling less than enough, drained and victimized. Sad. 

Don’t engage. They are in the fight-flight-or-flee mode of a...

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Six Steps to Protect Yourself from Drama

When there is drama in our lives it involves other people and our emotional reaction to them. If you are miserable at your job, the situation likely implies a boss, colleague or group of people is at its root. If you repeatedly avoid situations you most likely dodge a person who you feel strips your power. If you commonly find yourself angry with someone, it is probably because you feel a need to defend against how they make you feel.

Don’t Personalize Their Behavior

We think people cause our sorrow. Not so. Our interpretation of another person’s actions - our emotional response to having been judged - is what really makes us unhappy. We personalize their conduct. We make it about us. We judge back. We feel left out. We become needy for approval. Right now, there is someone personalizing your behavior that you’re not even aware of. 

Recognize Your Own Ego 

If you feel that another person’s conduct makes you feel less than you are, that’s your...

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This Week My Clients Are Struggling With This

As I look back on the challenges my clients are dealing with this week I see two common themes - difficult people and lack of clarity. 

First, people are difficult for one reason - they are insecure and unhappy. That shouldn't become your problem, but often difficult people exude what looks like confidence. This gets them promoted to high level positions. That perceived confidence is a smoke screen to hide what is behind the sand they kick up. Underneath they feel unqualified, ineffective and ultimately that they may lose respect, their job and be alone. Knowing this your goals are:

  1. Consistently, make sure they know you have their back even though they will never have yours.
  2. Be in alignment with what they value. "Since I know this is important to you......."
  3. Stay off their radar screen. Don't play into their chaos. Don't meet with them unless necessary. Give them choices as it underscores their power. Don't posture to be favored. Let others live in the chaos.
  4. If...
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Six Steps When You've Internalized Their Bad Behavior to be About You

So often we internalize people’s negative behavior toward us as something wrong with us. If your uncertain about someone's pensive perspective on you follow these steps.

1. Schedule a meeting with the other person with the purpose of creating a better working or personal relationship. Do not handle this through email.

2. Tell her you hope you are wrong yet you sense judgment from her. Ask him what you could do to improve the relationship.

3. Listen for opportunities for self-improvement. Ask her what she believes her role is in aligning the relationship.

4. If after you have done this her behavior doesn’t change, she doesn't own her part in the misalignment or she won’t even meet with you it’s time to let go of your expectations of her. Unrest always lies in expectations. Having them is useless and out of your control. Goals you can affect are far better.

5. Release your desire for a healthy relationship with him and start managing him like a difficult...

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