Some people like to fight to the death about everything. Sometimes that’s a useful quality, but in general, at work you must remove those people. But since they’ll enjoy a lengthy and nasty legal fight, what’s the best way of doing it?
You know people who are relentless bullies. If they’re overt, they’ll criticize, harass, yell, threaten and abuse their targets in public. If they’re sneaky, covert bullies, they’ll bad-mouth, back-stab, misinterpret everything, spread rumors and get other people fighting. They’re enraged and seeking support against the latest perceived injustice. They enjoy turmoil, chaos and drama.
You also know people who resist everyone else, especially authority. They’re negative, critical and demeaning. They always know why other people are wrong and delight in pointing out mistakes and faults. They want to be in absolute control of their own turf. They love a fight to the death with no-holds barred.
All these people feel wronged, righteous and outraged. Someone will pay.
Don’t consider excusing their behavior with platitudes that they grew up in horrible families and had to fight to get free, or that they grew up in New York City where everyone fights about everything. Focus on their individual choices and simply on the behavior that you must have in order to maintain a highly productive workplace.
You must terminate them. But you know they’ll create hostility, dissention, fighting cliques and chaos all around them. Work will grind to a halt while their fight becomes the center of attention and emotions. Then they’ll file a hostile-workplace suit.
Your task is to eliminate the high cost of low attitudes. So how to proceed?
- If the case against them is clear-cut, you have good documentation and they’re universally disliked you can walk them out as soon as possible and let the lawyers deal with them.
- But if there are some problems on both sides and they’re merely very difficult people with a few friends and a few of their charges are accurate or debatable, I don’t recommend a protracted legal fight. These fights drag in everyone to testify. They focus everyone on the fight, not on work. Productivity will dry up and there will be huge emotional debris. The aftermath usually takes 9-12 months to sort out and the bad blood will lead to significant turn over. Avoid the carnage. Buy out the trouble if you can and let the lawyers write a clause preventing further problems. You’ll save much more money by bargaining to a generous severance package. Don’t worry about setting a precedent. You’ll have time and productivity while you improve management.
Sometimes you get lucky. These hostile, angry people sometimes lose control, explode and publically quit. Immediately accept their resignation in writing. Don’t think 10 seconds about it.
You know you’ve done the right thing when everyone in the office heaves a huge sigh of relief. They can get back to work without the on-going tension, hostility and bad blood.
The best way to learn how to create a highly productive and bully-free workplace is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:
- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
- Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the productive workplace culture you want.
Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert coaching and consulting by phone or Skype.