Many well-meaning people believe everyone is good at heart and that strong leaders and great managers can rehabilitate any employee, including bullies, jerks, backstabbers and slackers.
In fact, the philosophical question “Can you rehabilitate everyone” is the wrong question. Better questions are “How long do you want to give bad actors access to their targets” and “What’s the cost to co-workers if you let bad actors remain in the workplace?”
Let’s look at two similar examples, with very different outcomes.
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You can’t rehabilitate all the bad actors in a workplace
How do you know an apology is sincere?
You can’t judge the sincerity of an apology by the tone of voice used, the body language or the emotion shown. That may be nothing more than good acting. An apology is sincere when the behavior changes. The opposite of a sincere apology is not one that looks insincere. It’s one in which there’s no behavioral change
Does Harry have a good heart? Can Harry be rehabilitated or is he a lost cause?
These are the wrong questions. And the focus is too narrow because it’s only on Harry. It doesn’t include Sarah, the target. How many times do you want to give Harry access to Sarah? Does Sarah get to vote on how many verbal lashings she must endure while Roger educates and rehabilitates Harry? Is Sarah and Harry’s company in business as a therapeutic organization for Harry while Sarah suffers?
If you focus only on helping the perpetrator, you enable bullying and violence. Initially, Sarah was a target of Harry’s abuse. But by not protecting Sarah, Roger converted her into a victim.
The best way to learn what to do to stop bullies is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and organizational consulting.
Design and implement an effective plan that eliminates the high cost of low attitudes. To get the help you need, call Ben at 1-877-828-5543.