Don’t reward mediocrity. You’d think that would be a no-brainer. But, think again.
Many larger companies and, especially, government, non-profits and public service organizations have unwritten policies protecting managers and employees who can’t be trusted to handle important, necessary tasks. Small companies usually do a better job of avoiding this trap because they simply can’t afford to keep deadwood around.
To deliver poor performance and low productivity – the mediocre, lazy slackers and bottom feeders. For example, when critical projects are due, they often take unscheduled leave or won’t come early or stay a minute extra. They produce sloppy, half-finished work. They assume other people will be responsible for cleaning up their messes. They do just enough that they’re not fired. But they’re incompetent enough that you can’t give them projects that matter or are hard. You’ll look bad when they fail.
Instead, reward and keep the solid workers as well as the shooting stars. They work extra, partner to meet difficult deadlines and push to get things right. Their personal and family time suffers because they’re dedicated but overloaded. You’ll give them the tough projects with tight deadlines because you know they’ll do whatever it takes to succeed. Everyone on their team and in other departments the team interacts with knows who can be counted on when the going gets tough.
As a co-worker carrying someone else’s burden, make waves and polish your resume. Don’t stay in a culture that rewards mediocrity and toxic behavior just the same as superior performance. Barely good enough isn’t good enough for long-term company success and job security.
Being open to suggestions from your team is an important part of being a good leader.
But don’t be bullied by whining complainers who always find fault, no matter what you do. They’re not interested in improving teamwork or performance in the workplace. They’re interested in feeling superior and in bullying and controlling you by getting you to try to please them.
Being judgmental has gotten a bad name and for good reasons.
Our whole world has experienced the horror wrought by people who felt superior and righteous in destroying other people they thought were inferior or even non-human. Also, in our personal lives, we’ve experienced the damage done by arrogant, righteous spouses, parents, relatives and others who always knew best and felt entitled to taunt, tease, harass, bully and abuse us or to cast us out.
However, it’s a mistake to use these examples of righteous people with poor judgment as proof that:
The process of making judgments is bad. It’s not. It’s necessary.
We should accept all perspectives and ways of living in the world as equal or as equally valid. They’re not.
But that’s all abstract. The real questions are whether we need to be more or less judgmental and which of our judgments are worth keeping and how. Take the quick quiz.
Before you take the quick quiz, see “Being Judgmental” as having four parts:
Discerning; making judgments, estimating what the consequences of some action will be, deciding what we like and what we don’t like.
Deciding which ways of behaving are acceptable in our personal space.
Making these boundaries in our personal lives stick.
Do people ignore, laugh, argue or avoid what you want when you insist that they act in certain ways in your personal space? ?
Do people trample over your boundaries? Do they get away with not changing? Do you let them stay in your life? Do they wear you down? Is life an endless struggle?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions – if you feel bossed and controlled, if you get taken advantage of, if you’re the one who almost always gives in or tries to make peace, if you rarely get your way, if you have to justify everything you do or ask permission before you can do anything – then you’re not protecting yourself enough, you’re not being judgmental enough and you’re not acting based on what you know in your heart-of-hearts to be true.
That way of thinking leads us no where. That way of thinking puts us under the control of someone else who thinks they know better than we do. There’s no chance for happiness down that path – only submission.
The path that has a chance of yielding happiness and joy and fulfillment is the path of being discerning, of having more and better judgments, and of making our judgments stick in our lives.
Getting angry, righteous and indignant are motivation strategies. We typically generate those feelings to get ourselves angry enough to act. The problem with that method of motivation is contained in “The Emotional Motivation Cycle” (See “Bullies Below the Radar: How to Wise Up, Stand Up and Stay Up). This method usually isn’t effective long-term.
That doesn’t tell us how to accomplish what we need; that doesn’t tell us how to get free from oppression we’ve previously accepted, but that tells us that we must. All plans and tactics must be designed to fit us and our specific situation. That’s why we need expert coaching and, maybe, legal advice. But now we know the direction we must set in our lives.
In the first scene of “The Last Samurai,” starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe, the Samurai has a dream in which he sees the tiger coming for him. He doesn’t know what it means, but he knows that it is important.
Later, in the first battle, where the Samurai army overwhelms the poorly trained Imperial troops, the Samurai sees Captain Algren (Tom Cruise) wounded but fighting with the lance holding a flag that has the same tiger on it. The Samurai watches God favor Algren. Algren kills another Samurai who is by far a superior sword fighter. At that moment, the Samurai could let the others kill Algren, which would be the normal course of events. But he stops them.
The Samurai realizes that his destiny has just called to him. He doesn’t know the future, but he senses that his destiny is calling him. He spares Algren’s life and has him taken with them.
At that moment, he can’t know that Algren will come to respect and honor them, he can’t know that Algren will become one of them, he can’t know that Algren will save him from the evil minister’s plot to have him assassinated, he can’t know that Algren will help him fight and die gloriously, he can’t know that Algren will present his sword to the Emperor and that the Emperor will finally listen.
At that moment, all he can know is that his destiny is calling to him. And he chooses to hold the door open for his destiny to be slowly and eventually revealed.
As he says, “A man does what he can until his destiny is revealed to him.”
Whether we refer to it as a call to our destiny or a call for us to take up a quest, a hero’s path, we must hold the door open, we must let our destiny in or we must walk through and follow the path to our destiny. If we don’t open the door to our destiny, if we turn our backs because we don’t recognize it or are afraid to grasp it, our lives will turn into ashes, parched and burned, sifting through our fingers.
And we must follow our destiny even though we can’t know what the future holds. Winston Churchill said, “It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”
The Samurai reached for his destiny not knowing what it would be.
Stop for a moment. When has your destiny called, especially in unexpected ways? When have you had a sense that a new and glorious and possibly frightening future has called to you? When have you turned away? When has your reason or your fear turned you away from what your guts and accurate intuition wanted you to heed?
Amy Chua’s article in the Wall Street Journal, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior,” has gotten enough publicity to make her book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” a best seller. She’s clear that she uses the term “Chinese Mother” to represent a certain way of treating children that may be found in people from many, many cultures.
If many people adopt her style of parenting in order to make their children play at Carnegie Hall that would be a shame. Amy Chua is an abusive bully.
She beats her children into submission and claims that they’ll have great self-esteem as well as becoming successful in the competitive jungle of life because they can accomplish the very few things Ms. Chua thinks are important.
“What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences.”
“Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight “As.” Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best.”
“Western parents are extremely anxious about their children's self-esteem…Western parents are concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.”
“Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn't get them, the Chinese parent assumes it's because the child didn't work hard enough. That's why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child.”
There’s a grain of sense in what she says, but that grain is covered by a mountain of brutality that will be successful in creating only slaves or another generation of bullying parents, not in creating fully human beings.
What’s wrong with Ms. Chua’s ideas?
She lives in a kill-or-be-killed world of desperate striving for the most material rewards of success.
She’s rigid, narrow, and all-or-none with only two possibilities.
She allows only a few criteria for success – Stanford or Yale, violin or piano, maybe ballet. I assume only one or two acceptable careers like lawyer or professor.
She assumes that there are only totally slacking children (Americans) or totally successful children (with “Chinese Mothers”). If you give children an inch, they’ll become complete failures.
She thinks that the only way her children can be successful and happy and honor their parents is to be champions at her approved activities.
There’s almost no joy in their lives. Yes, there’s a moment when her daughter masters a difficult two-handed exercise. But the best that the rest of life holds is the thrill of victory and success at winning. There’s no possibility for joy in doing activities that thrill your soul and uplift your spirit.
Ms. Chua has only one value – compete and defeat; win at any cost.
This is a great and necessary value. It has made our society the first world. But if when the only value, when she ignores all the other equally great and necessary values she becomes inhuman – a barbarian, a torturer, no better than a Nazi or Communist or Fascist.
No wonder she’s aghast at all the personal attacks. She may be a brilliant law professor and accomplished writer but she’s completely out of touch with the world’s great traditions championing other values like great character, individuality, liberty, self-determination, love, beauty, compassion, spirituality and human connection. That’s why people take it so personally. Ms. Chua is attacking our most cherished values; cherished for good reasons. These values make us human in our most fundamental American, western ways.
Ms. Chua represents inhumanity justified by Darwin and Marx. She represents a revival of B.F. Skinner’s way of raising his daughter in a “Skinner Box,” as if she was a pigeon. When she grew up she sued him.
A better approach:
Have you observed your children individually and carefully? One approach does not fit them all.
Which children need you to provide more structure and which will be dedicated and determined on their own? Which children respond better when they’re encouraged and which respond better to having their imperfections pointed out? This is where expert coaching is helpful to design approaches that fit you and each child.
What are your children passionate about so they become energetic and determined on their own? Are following an artists path, playing the oboe, writing “silly” stories like “The Little Prince,” learning to program computers, studying bugs and strange sea creatures, mastering any sport, being a person who inspires others to be the best they can be, dedicating yourself to raising independent and creative children living rich and full lives, being a craftsman who makes great pianos or violins, coaching basketball teams at “minor schools” like University of Connecticut or UCLA to set winning-record streaks, being entrepreneurs like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, making movies, loving children and a thousand other endeavors worthwhile to you? How can you encourage and nurture your child’s dedication and skill in those areas?
Character is critical. All of the world’s great literature points to the deficiencies of social climbers, bureaucrats and people whose only focus is to win at all costs. What would Ms. Chua have created if she could have gotten her hands on the children who became, for example, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens or Alexander Solzhenitsyn? Or great figures in the world from Joan of Arc, Hildegard of Bingen and Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. or Aung San Suu Kyi, to name only five of thousands.
Don’t be a victim of your parents’ ideas about what constitutes success and how to achieve it. You can give your children the tools of the mind, will and spirit and let them create their own lives that they’ll love.
By the way, Ayalet Waldman wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek response in the Wall Street Journal, “In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom.” In part she defends her children’s choices and her catering to those choices. In part she also defends her selfish desires to discourage her children when their activities would inconvenience her. That’s not the answer either.
All of the poles in this discussion are the wrong places to be – being a wimpy parent or an uncaring, selfish parent or a brute.
One of the favorite tactics of sneaky, stealth bullies is to set traps for you. When you fall into their snare, they’re gleefully smug, “Gotcha! See, I told you!” Their hidden agenda is to prove you’re wrong, dumb and bad and they’re right, smart and good. They’re not interested in truth or equal relationships; they’re interested in putting you down and dragging themselves up.
For example Micky and Donald comment in the blog post, “Repeated Bullying Tolerated by School Officials,” (http://www.bulliesbegoneblog.com/2008/03/24/repeated-bullying-tolerated-by-school-officials/) “Just out of curiosity are you a single parent?” I don’t know them and their hidden agendas, but I’ll use their comments because their typical of that type of stealth bully. They never ask, “Just out of curiosity.” They’re always setting traps and they always have hidden agendas.
They’re waiting to pounce with, “I told you so! You’re over-reacting because you’re a single parent. Normal people wouldn’t make such a big deal out of their daughter being tormented, bullied and abused.” They think the bullying behavior was mild or negligible or normal and that we should ignore it, which to me means that they’re just like the school officials who ignore the torment, harassment, bullying and abuse.
But they won’t be straightforward and declare their opinion. They won’t get into a discussion in which they might be proven wrong and have to change their ideas. For example, they won’t say that they believe you’re over-reacting because you’re a too-sensitive, single parent or because your mommy and daddy were bad to you or because you’re afraid of the dark. That’s too open for them and doesn’t have the payoff they want.
Instead, because they’re sneaky, manipulative, controlling bullies, they’ll simply, almost innocently ask a leading question, “Are you a single parent?” or “Were your mommy and daddy were bad to you?” or “Are you afraid of the dark?”
They’re hoping you’ll say “Yes.” Then they can sneer and pounce – “See. I’m right. You’re merely over-reacting because mommy and daddy were bad to you” or “You’re only over reacting because you’re a foolish single parent.”
They feel safe and smug. Since they didn’t declare their opinions openly, if you say No” to those questions, they won’t have to admit that their theories or opinions were wrong. They won’t have to change their beliefs. Their harassment, bullying and abuse won’t stop. They’ll simply move on and try to lead you into another trap.
Pin them down to expressing an opinion before you answer the question. You might ask directly, “What’s your point about whether I’m a single parent? Tell me directly what you think.” Or, “What’s your point about whether or not mommy and daddy were bad to me years ago? Tell me directly what you think.”
Be persevering. Wait for an answer. Then follow-up with a statement about their belief and whether your evidence will change their opinions. “So you think I’m overreacting because I’m a single parent? So if I’m married, will you change your opinion and will you accept that I’m not overreacting?” Or, “So you think that people get upset about bullying because their mommies and daddies were bad to them? So if my mommy and daddy were good to me, will you change your opinion and will you accept that I’m not overreacting?”
Laugh at the hidden connection. “That’s really silly to think that only single-parents get upset when heir children are bullied. You sound like a person who thinks bullying is fine.”
Simply ignore the question. You don’t have to answer every question that someone asks you.
Reverse the question onto them. “Oh, so you think we should ignore the pain inflicted on that defenseless target. Were you a bully when you were younger? Were you bullied when you were younger? Were you afraid to fight back?”
Laugh at the entrapment. “Oh, you really got me with that question. You look smug, superior and righteous. As if that means you’re smart and right. How childish and silly to play that game at your age.”
In her article in the New York Times, “The Playground Gets Even Tougher,” Pamela Paul points out that Mean Girls begin their nasty, vicious harassment, bullying and abuse on the playground and in pre-school. They don’t wait until fifth grade or junior high school.
In my experience, mean girls put down targeted kids for whatever reasons they can find – from poor, discounted, unfashionable clothes or the lack of the latest cell phones and bling, to race, religion, physical differences and hair color. Mean girls also form cliques that ostracize, exclude and cut-out their targets or scapegoats. Mean girl behavior cuts across all socio-economic categories – inner-city, rural, suburban and expensive, private schools. The movies, “Mean Girls” and “Camp Rock,” give some graphic examples.
Mean moms who ignore mean girl behavior at home, on the playground and in preschool. These moms have many opportunities to step in and teach their daughters how to do better in age-appropriate ways, but they don’t. I think of these as absentee moms, whatever their reasons – whether they’re simply uncaring or not paying attention or don’t want to deal with it or not physically present. Nannies can be even less responsible, especially if their employers don’t want to hear about it.
Mean moms who set a bad example by acting mean to their extended families, to their children and to helpless servers in all forms – waiters, checkout clerks, nannies, maids, etc. Mean girls imitate what they see and hear from their mean moms, not pious platitudes or empty commands thrown at them.
Mean moms who encourage mean girl behavior. They enjoy watching their daughters be popular, superior and controlling. They may think it’s cute and a sign of leadership potential, but whatever they think, they train their daughters to be mean.
Mean moms who protect and defend their mean daughters when they get feedback about mean behavior. Of course, one-in-a-million children will be sneaky enough to be mean only when their parents aren’t looking. Sneaky, mean girls can bully targets by acting as if the target did something to hurt their feelings and get their protective moms to get the target in trouble. Or mean girls will simply threaten a target by saying they’ll get their moms to get the target in trouble. Mean moms collude and often encourage this behavior. Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series is an example of a mean boy protected by his mean father.
Suppose you’re the parent of a child who’s bullied by a mean girl, what can you do? If you’re convinced that your daughter was not a provocateur who tried to get the other girl to react and get in trouble, should you talk to the mean girls, their moms, teachers and principals?
Know your daughter; will she assert and defend herself? Since she might not talk about the meanness, you have to watch carefully on the playground and look for signs after school. Mean girls are bullies who try to assert themselves over less assertive and less aggressive children. Don’t ask your daughter to suffer or “rise above” because a mean girl and mean mom don’t know any better or have difficulties in their lives.
You might encourage your pre-school or kindergarten daughter to stand up for herself, but you should give plenty of encouragement and specific direction. Even though your daughter is young, champion her inner strength, courage and perseverance. She might be a target but she doesn’t have to become a victim. Never believe mean girls’ opinions and don’t give in to their demands.
Intervene rapidly when your daughter seems unable to defend herself. Don’t let the behavior continue. Say something strongly and firmly to the mean girl. Girls who were merely experimenting with a mean behavioral tactic will stop and not repeat it. That’s a test of the girl – nice girls stop when you set a behavioral standard but mean girls don’t. Mean girls think they’re smarter than you and that they have their own mothers’ protection.
If the mean girl doesn’t stop, test the mean girl’s mom one time. Calmly detail the behavior and listen carefully for the response. Is the mom appalled at her daughter’s behavior or does the mom blow it off or explain it away? Just as in sports and childhood, your daughter might have been provocateur and then looked innocent when another girl retaliated. So it’s natural for the other girl’s mother to try to discover the whole context and behavior before the incident. But does the other mom immediately get defensive and angry, and twist the facts in order to blame your daughter? Does she insist that her daughter is never wrong? Is the mean girl’s mom too busy with her own life to educate her daughter or has she turned her child over to a nanny who won’t correct the child?
If these attempts change the girl’s behavior, you weren’t dealing with a hard-core mean girl and a mean mom. But mean girls and mean moms aren’t stopped by the easy tactics. Now you have to cut off after school activities including parties, despite the ramifications. Also, get the pre-school teachers and principals involved. Some will be helpful; they’ll keep it confidential, they’ll monitor to get their own evidence and then they’ll intervene. They’ll get the mean girl out of your daughter’s class, they’ll break-up the clique, they’ll stop the behavior at school and they’ll have proactive programs to talk about mean girl behavior. Depending on the age of the girls, they’ll teach witnesses what to do. Unfortunately, unhelpful, uncaring, lazy, cowardly teachers and principals will look the other way or condone or even encourage mean girl behavior. They’ll put you off with excuses. Don’t let this happen. Remember, principals fear publicity and law suits.
Teach your children what’s right and also how to defend themselves. Don’t convert your daughter into a victim. Don’t sacrifice your child on the altar of your ignorance, fear or sympathetic heart. Protect and defend your child even though there may be a high cost socially.
Verbal harassment, bullying and abuse; put-downs, lack of respect and cutting out can destroy confidence and self-esteem. Disparaging and demeaning remarks; ostracism, backed by righteous, sneering, superior judgments can be devastating to children. But they’re no less severe when done by adults to adults.
A Mother’s Day article in the Wall Street Journal by Amy Henry, “What Cards Never Say on Mother’s Day,” complained about the lack of respect that dedicated, full-time mothers often get from other women, “even after four decades of feminism.” The article had some suggestions for dedicated mothers who still struggle to get respect from working women.
While the article was accurate in pointing out the problem, I think it totally missed the solution.
Bullies have used the put-down tactic forever. Remember all that cutting out with nasty, sarcastic comments, especially through junior and senior high school? Girls master this technique and boys wield it effectively also. If you’re not in the “right” group you’re scorned and shunned relentlessly. Even current celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Taylor Lautner talk about being the targets of this type of bullying in their school days.
Of course putting-down and cutting out rotten. But it’s not only kids who do it. As Amy Harris points out, working mothers often give no respect to women who stay home to be full-time mothers of their children.
Don’t waste time analyzing why people put-down others. That path won’t get you anywhere. Don’t waste time wanting laws to prevent people from putting down others. A legal solution also won’t get you anywhere except in the case of public statements about people in certain protected categories.
The real solution lies in you. When other people don’t respect you, look at the source and the possible consequences. Don’t take it personally, but also don’t let it go by without saying or doing something in return.
So, what can you do? First, you have to be strong in your own judgment of the path you’ve chosen. Being a full-time mother is a wonderful path. Work is necessary, but for most of us raising children is our most important and fulfilling task. I hope your children will grow up wise enough to appreciate your dedicated mothering when they’re adults. Not because you made a great “sacrifice” but because you made a wonderful, life-affirming choice and the children you love could reap the benefits.
Instead of taking other people’s judgments personally, go through the world testing other people to see if they rise enough in your estimation for you to keep them on your island. I hope you find wanting anyone who puts you down for choosing to be a full-time mother. Their choice to put-down mothers shows their lack of good sense. Don’t allow the judgment of people without good sense to be important to your confidence or self-esteem. Don’t let their judgment cause you self-doubt or negative self-talk. And don’t let them stay in your life. Instead, surround yourself with people who champion mothers.
I also said that you shouldn’t let their put-downs pass. Stopping bullies begins when you understand that real-world bullies don’t take your politeness or minimizing or ignoring them as a sign that you’re morally superior or inviting their friendship. Relentless bullies aren’t stopped by minimizing, ignoring, begging, bribing or appeasement. Dedicated bullies take the Golden Rule as a sign that you’re weak and also as an invitation to prey on you more. Doing nothing when you’re the target of relentless bullies is like holding up a sign saying that you’re a victim.
Almost every woman I’ve ever talked to who was taught by a well-meaning mother that she should feel sorry for the inner emptiness, low self-esteem and inner pain of the nasty girls who hurt them that she should ignore and rise above the catty remarks and hatred, now regrets their passivity. They feel keenly their lack of empowerment and bear the scars of their supposedly virtuous martyrdom. They wish that their mothers had trained them to fight back skillfully; verbally or physically.
There are many tactics you might try in response to put-downs; depending on you, them and the situation. Some mothers form their own cliques of supportive mothers. Others write responses on cue-cards and memorize them for delivery at the right moment. Some responses are sarcastic put-downs directed toward the women who don’t appreciate mothers or who aren’t satisfied and even joyous with the opportunity to raise children. Others merely comment on lives wasted at work. Others use pity: “I’m so sorry that you’re the kind of person who’s not fulfilled and doesn’t set a better example for your daughter (or son).”
I want to recognize an important truth that we often overlook. We know that we’re doing the right thing successfully when some people (“jerks) don’t like us and scorn our work and its value. People who put-down full-time mothers fall into that category. Don’t care what they think; don’t desire their respect. Instead, get them off your island and let them know it.
Iris’s manager knows everything. He bullies Iris and her co-workers by being right and righteous; he’s sarcastic and demeaning. He destroys teamwork by his constant criticism. There’s never a word of praise, only correction and put-downs delivered in a haughty voice. Every sentence starts with an unspoken, “Well, stupid, you should know …” or an exasperated, “I’m so frustrated; you’re so incompetent.”
He acts superior while he runs down each employee to the other managers or bigger bosses. He lists their faults and every mistake they’ve ever made. There’s never a word of praise for their many accomplishments. He seems to enjoy making each critical, hostile remark. He says that it’s for their own good; it’ll help them become perfect.
Iris feels chastised, like she’s a child being corrected by a harsh parent. She’s worked at the company for 15 years; her boss for 5.
What do you think should she do about his bullying?
Iris’s manager’s style of leadership is like the statement attributed to Captain Bligh of the Bounty, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” His verbal abuse creates a hostile workplace and it destroys her confidence and self-esteem. She wonders if there’s a kernel of truth in what he says. She’s also afraid of protest because he is her boss and she should respect his position, confrontation is distasteful and she might lose her job.
Iris is in a tough spot. Her boss is a well-known type. First, he’s a know-it-all who enjoys putting down people. Second, he’s also the town gossip, dishing the dirt on everybody. Bullies like him rarely change because of pressure from below. After all, he does know best.
Doesn’t he sound like some parents we all know who think that the best way to help their children is to pound them relentlessly and embarrass them in public? Deep down, these merciless parents do feel self-satisfied and righteous.
Know-it-all bullies and town-gossips sometimes change when there’s strong, consistent pressure from above. The pressure must be coupled with, “Change or you’re gone.” But Iris’s manager has made himself seem indispensible to the bigger bosses, so Iris will have some difficult choices:
Be as straightforward as she can with the bigger boss, knowing that her manager will find out and try to get her fired.
Go to the bigger boss with most of the team, in hopes that the weight of numbers will sway the bigger boss.
Find a bigger boss that she thinks will act wisely and keep her from getting terminated.
Transfer to another department or look for another job – which is hard since Iris’s been there 15 years.
Take it as best she can until she retires.
Iris should realize that her manager will take whatever she does as mutiny and will try to strike back. I’ve rarely seen know-it-alls and town-gossips change. Iris’s in a tough fight.
Coaching and the book, “How to Stop Bullies in Their Tracks,” helped Iris see her boss as a bully. She realized how skilled she was at work and that she could get other jobs. She refused to waste 8 hours a day for the rest of her life in workplace-hell. Her determination and courage soared.
She used the five-step process and decided to go to the big boss. But the big boss only gave Iris a lecture on how valuable Iris’s manager was. The big boss wouldn’t even let Iris make her case.
Two bullying bosses were two too many for Iris. She resigned. She was surprised when she rapidly received a number of better job offers.
Iris said that the big inspiration for her came when she had a name for what was happening – “bullying.” That freed her from her self-imposed restraints. She said that she felt the weight of the world lifted from her shoulders. She now feels free and alive like she hasn’t for years.
I think that self-esteem begins with actions. Strategic action (whether it works out the way we hope or not) increases confidence and self-esteem. Iris got herself out of a situation that she couldn't change.
She was successful. Notice I say that without any knowledge of the future – whether her new job will be better in the long run. Success is measured by the right actions you take, not by how wonderful it works out each time. In the long run, as you keep taking the right actions every day, you'll get more of the results you want. And your personal and work space will have fewer bullies to bother you or waste your time.