Can passive aggressive behavior in the workplace = Psychological Bullying”?

Image Source: Divorcedmoms.com

Can passive aggressive behavior in the workplace = Psychological Bullying”?

The Definition of Bully “to frighten, hurt, or threaten a small or weaker person clarifies how an individual can prey on the vulnerable or weak.

But what if an individual does not know he is being hurt or threatened?

Or, what if this scenario is happening in the workplace, to you, by a close coworker without your knowledge?  Yes, there is no recognizable threat now, but as the truth unfolds, there is a possibility that you’ll realize that the motives of some whom you have trusted are not pure.

Unfortunately, this form of workplace bullying has the potential to damage your emotional and psychological state (as you cannot face the fact that this deception has happened to you).

Bullying is not always physical or verbal abuse

Officespace

On more occasions than I care to admit, I have witnessed individuals manipulate others (sometimes unknowingly to the victim) to obtain information, to pile on excessive work (as in clever movies like “Office Space”), to rise above in the ranks, or to coast through without having to do much work. Just because bullying does not contain overt verbal or physical abuse does not mean that mental and emotional abuse is not happening as an effect of bullying.

Manifestation of the Passive aggressive mask

Passiveaggressive apple face

Passive aggressive behavior manifests as polite comments and gestures and inferior body language, although the individual can be thinking the direct opposite.  It’s all a part of a game of manipulation to allow a person to believe that they are maintaining one relationship with a co-worker or management when this fake relationship is being conquered up only for gain. Behavior’s that emulates passive aggressiveness are used to get closer, gain ground, with one’s motives going unnoticed.

Due to the non-threatening attributes of passive aggressive behavior, it can be used as a tool or weapon to deceive other co-workers.  Their demeanor and actions fail to impact with the same intensity as an aggressive physical bully, so it is often overlooked, or even questioned (with non-sustainable proof).  As a result, many do not see passive aggressive individuals as someone that can cause harm.  In fact, they never see them coming. “Passive aggressive” individual’s wear masks.

Merriam-Webster’s definition

Merriam-Webster states that passive aggressive behavior is “of or denoting a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.”

It is in this nonaggressive behavior that individuals feel “safe” to state and do as they please.  In their eyes, it is not a terrible thing, because their behavior and actions are non-confrontational.

“Oh, I’m sorry, would you like to take the lead on this project Alice? (knowing that they are offering just so that Alice can offer it back to them, “thanks for offering Linda! If you will like to take the lead on this project, that is no problem, but if not, I can take it!” (Alice has hopes you will decline, she’s just too shy to admit it), “Thanks, Alice, I think I will take it!” (Just like that Alice lost out). Linda received the lead and did not have to display any aggressive behavior to get it.  Her deceptive behavior allowed Alice to offer it.

As Webster’s definitions denote, procrastination is another way a crafty individual can prey on the weak.  Management has been known to enlist the ideas of others as if they are going to use the feedback to make changes.

After receiving loads on top of loads of valuable feedback (generally from face to face feedback sessions) nothing comes of the situation.  Various employees ask about its progress just to realize that this particular manager either drags their feet or never does anything with the information at all.

Now employees are left with the sour taste that they have been lied to or used. Morale takes another hit.  Employees were transparent in hopes for the greater good, but they have gained nothing in return.  In fact, these individuals often use that information that they elicited to rise to another position.  The knowledge given to these particular managers by frontline workers allows them to sound “in touch” with the plight of the frontline employees and customers.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Have you encountered this in the workplace? If you are not sure, begin to watch those with their pleasantries after more times than not, an offense has taken place.

How can you protect yourself from such behavior?

Begin to watch the consistency of another’s actions.  Do not rely on what’s verbal cues; it is that easy. Watch their behavior.  Over and over again, it is their behavior that will tell the tale. Watching carefully for such behavior can help you avoid much corporate heartbreak that can ultimately be damaging to your psychological state or career.

Fandango MovieClips (1999). Office Space.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsLUidiYm0w

Office Space (1999). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjJCdCXFslY

Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2017). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=webster+definition+of+bullying&*&spf=1

“Using interviewing tips to get the job can be the downfall to the employee as well as the organization.”

Do job interviews raise your anxiety levels?

Do you polish your apparel and try to recall all the interviewing tips that you learned so that you can appear confident?

In the past, you might have been successful with this feat. Other times you may have walked out the interview knowing you were ripped to shreds as soon as you exited the room.

Next time around when a potential job is at stake, and if your livelihood depends on it, it may be a clever idea to follow the interviewing tips and convey that air of confidence. No doubt you may be successful at landing the job.  However keep in mind that if you mimicked interviewing tips, you might find yourself hired because of your acting abilities, and not because you were the most qualified for the job.

You got the job! Yay!

Firm handshakes, direct eye contact, smiling, no fidgeting, sitting up straight, answering the questions in a way that is acceptable to the interviewer, may carry out its intended motive. Yay! You got the job!

For organizations, this is important. Every day a role is unfilled costs a company money. So it is not surprising that they would like to hire and fill those roles, as quickly as possible. But, can you say unequivocally, you were the most qualified for that job or did you just pull off the best acting job of your life?

Or, did that organization reduce the reputation of their brand, by hiring someone who will be damaging to it?  Hiring according to an image a person portrays, is not an indicator that they will be successful on the job.

 

Sociapathlovefraud

Image source

Sociopaths in the workplace

Many organizations are accepting of various “interviewing tips.” Business articles reference emulating professional behavior, almost to the point (in my opinion) of wearing a mask. However, there is a caveat to such tips; interviewing tips at times become a ploy to the interviewee. Therefore the hiring manager must be prepared to peel back the layers of deceit (if there is any).

Training individuals on how to interview until it is clear that you have located an individual who embodies the competencies and skill set necessary for that particular job, may be the better route to go.

Sure, it may be more time consuming and require additional resources, but in the end, you would have “built your organization on a strong foundation”, not sand.

Also, with all the talk of sociopaths in the workplace, hiring managers may want to think about learning how to read actions, word choices, and behavior, as accurately as possible.

Deception is difficult to identify when the interviewee is wearing a mask. Therefore, in my opinion, these interviewing tips should be disclosed to the public with caution (to cut down on those who strive through deceit).

The Aftermath

Deceptive behavior does not stop at the interviewee.  If the hiring manager is “playing a part,” the interviewee may incorrectly believe this organization is a good match for them.  When in reality, they may be “selling their soul to the devil.”

The aftermath of hiring under false pretenses can not only bring stress to that employee, but that stress can and almost always does, trickle down to all who interact with that employee, poisoning the work environment.

Still not convinced it’s a bad idea?

One more thing that I have witnessed are employees that ask themselves a few months into the job, why in the hell they accepted that job in the first place. Organization’s culture are impacted majorly increasing turn-over rates.

Organizations have the opportunity to vet employees properlyand not just buy into an act, when individuals are able to “be” themselves.

Am I missing something here or do you feel the same? It is preferable that a person comes into the interviewing room being their authentic selves than acting a part. Consequently, the interviewer and interviewee can determine if this will be a viable relationship.  Hiring prematurely or going by the act a person portrays on the outside no doubt can result in the organization doing more damage to their brand.

Many may not agree with me, and that is totally okay, but I if were looking to hire a competent employee I would prefer for someone to be honest, as opposed to playing a part. What do you think?

Reference:

Elliott, M. (2017). “10 Body Language Mistakes to Avoid in a Job Interview”. Psychology Today.  Retrieved from http://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/body-language-mistakes-to-avoid-in-a-job-interview.html/

(2013, September 29). “Are You Working With A Sociopath? 4 Signs That Your Co-worker Could Have an Antisocial Personality Disorder”. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/digital-leaders/201309/are-you-working-sociopath

 

 

The use of “Unconscious Bias” Training to counteract diversity in the workplace

“Unconscious bias training” are launched by organizations to conquer the “unconscious” workplace bias and stereotypes that take place more often than not.

Indian employees have complained of being mistaken as the “tech guy” instead of the owner of the business, or an African American woman categorized as an “angry black woman” because she was passionate about her viewpoints.

Fears such as these need not enter the workplace, but hey, they are seen and experienced in everyday life, so why would the workplace stand the chance of anything different?

As organizations grow and become larger, it becomes difficult to remedy such biases.  Therefore on the ground level, no matter how small the organization, these safe guards deserve consideration.

Communication

Keeping the lines of communication open and going, is one major way of battling workplace bias.  To begin the conversation, one suggested tool are assessments. The utilization of assessments are used to measure the state of the organization.

By introducing tools such as assessments, organizations can tailor make the sort of information that is to be imparted to employees as well as quickly gauge the temperature on diversity and cultural differences.

Pre-survey assessments & Training

A pre-survey assessment (provided to the employees before the training sessions) identify the baseline or starting point, as well as the sort of content necessary to implement into the training sessions.

Various training sessions instituted and illustrated through webinars, workshops, and e-learning can introduce topics where any deficits lie. The administering of post surveys (taken directly after trainings) can determine how effective training was to the learners.

Moving forward assessments administered to employees over a 30, 60, 90 day period, can provide valuable information about growth.  Assessments evaluate what was learned and if it is being practiced and integrated into the everyday culture or thread of the organization.

Evaluating Change

If change is not substantial enough, the pre-assessment, training, and post-assessments (provided yet again), will be administered until diversity and cultural awareness is eminent and sustainable.

Another way to fight bias and stereotypes is to ensure that the Human Resource department is truly interviewing and reviewing applications without discrimination.  The more diverse the workplace, the more likely bias and stereotypes are eliminated.  Nothing can deteriorate or build an organization reputation more than being culturally sound.

Can you think of more ways to create a culturally sound organization?

Retrieved from https://finance.yahoo.com/news/what-it-s-like-to-be-a-minority-in-the-workplace-today-222855417.html

Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/gaudianohunt/2017/02/27/workplace-diversity-tips-for-leaders-part1/#588541ea33db

“Meditation for healing the workplace ill’s” -The Imperfect Org

I read this enlightening article on the OCAI website that carefully detailed “Practical tips for positive leaders” (Bremer, 2016, para. 13). One of the statements that was made was,

“Practice openness of mind with a method such as mindfulness: train your brain to notice details but not judge. Simply mindfully notice what you observe” (Bremer, 2016, para. 13).

This is great advice when wanting to warrant a positive atmosphere inside the workplace, (as appreciative inquiry and positive psychologist promote).

However you should know that “will power” alone will not always conquer such “mindfulness”.  Some of us, like myself, need a little extra help.  Trust me, oh judgmental me has tried it in the past (without meditation) and came back unsuccessful.

Once you have made mindful observations in meetings or with co-workers think of how you can use this to build strength to your team. For me I have begun using positive attributes and meditating as a way of nourishing relationships.

When my work day is done and I am home relaxed, I practice focused meditation. By “meditating” and replacing any ill willed thoughts I’ve had towards leadership or employees, and refocusing my thoughts to something positive, I found myself more eager to go to work.

Instead of being judgmental, I take those details that I have mindfully noticed, and use them to generate positive thoughts that helps me better understand my coworkers (instead of being so ready to ridicule and point the finger).

Over time I began to notice I softened towards my coworker’s. And that major issue I had previously focused on, that made me sick to think about, was replaced with a healthy working relationship.

I am learning that in life there are many disappointments. As a result sometimes you just have to grieve an issue and keep it moving. Meditation helps to place a lot of that in perspective so you know when to utilitze what you have mindfully noticed, and what to simply let go.

Check out this great article from Marcella Bremer.  She has many, many more wonderful tips that can be utilized in the workplace.

Reference

Bremer, M. (2016). Positive Leadership: How to open up to Positive Possibilities?Retrieved from https://www.ocai-online.com/blog/2016/11/Positive-Leadership-How-to-Open-up-to-Positive-Possibilities?utm_source=ws20170312&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ows

“Using Behavior modification methods to increase employee effectiveness”

Managers are almost always aware when their employees treat them as that parent who “nags,” harping about employees low-quality scores or performances. Since this is a common theme among various organizations, managers should understand why they are not getting the workplace results they believe their employees can warrant.

From a Behavior modification standpoint, managers can increase the desired behavior or workplace performance by identifying the gap between the current and preferred performance and behavior. Raymond Miltenberger characterizes in his book “Behavior Modification, Principle and Procedures,” that “Behavior deficit is a desirable target behavior the person wants to increase in frequency, duration, or intensity” (2008, p.5).   For example, a manager and employee may desire to increase the number of quality accounts processed in a day.

“The major goal of behavior modification is to replace undesirable behaviors with acceptable ones. An underlying theme is the belief that how people react to an object or event can be modified by learning”.

By introducing behavior modification in the workplace, managers create new avenues and tools to interject and bypass the undesirable performances and behaviors to get to achievable results.

Set expectations

The lack of well-established expectations are one of the main reason that employees and managers do not see eye to eye.

Waiting until employees make significant errors in performance or behavior is not the time to set an expectation.  Expectations are to be laid out like the foundation for a new home.  Believing that employees will follow the rules just because they know how to perform does not equate to the desired performance and outcome being carried out by the employee.  Before reprimanding employees for not doing what, you expect them to do, please save time and do yourself a favor and make it clear what you desire from your employees.  Hopefully, this will lessen the blowback if that difficult conversation is necessary for future conversations.

Do what you say you will do

As in most situations that include children as well as adults, it is necessary to not only establish expectations but the consequence as well.  Alone, a threat is not an indicator of behavioral changes to come.  Without consequence, change is not eminent.  Until it is applied and felt by an employee, they will consistently perform the behavior that you as a manager will most likely find unacceptable. Now, that is not an instruction to “crack the whip,” but it should encourage you to set consequence along with expectations plainly.

Measure Performance

“No matter your method, the process of behavior modification starts by identifying a behavior you want to increase and the circumstances around it. There must be a measurement of the desired behavior/performance, to receive a clear distinction between what is and is not acceptable.  To obtain measurable results, review and watch the performance for about three weeks before you begin to measure the desirable performance.  Carefully gathering data beforehand that will paint the picture of the type of performance or behavior your employee is rendering, and reveal the sort of behavior or performances that are not acceptable.  Once established, you as well as the employee will have clear indicators of the baseline (where you are starting from) and the progression towards the projected desirable behavior.

Celebrate wins — punish fails through Reinforcement

“A commonly used element of behavior modification is positive reinforcement or a reward system. An example of positive reinforcement is giving a child a hug when she does a good job or providing money for good grades. Negative reinforcement, which takes something away to reinforce good behavior, is also an effective tool to modify habits or other behavior”. An example of negative reinforcement is eliminating an employees’ ability to work from home (they must now come into the office) because of low-quality assurance and performance scores.

Celebrating the wins can come in a package such as an end of the year bonus, through gift cards, adulation, titles, promotions, days off, etc. Whatever it takes to motivate the sort of behavior you desire inside your organization (of course within reason) should be utilized to ensure that other employees recognize the consequence of desirable behavior.

Punishment

“Behavior modification can also discourage unwanted behavior through punishment, which can also be positive or negative. In this theory, the term positive refers to something added — such as a consequence. An example is placing an employee on a verbal warning for being late to work. “Negative punishment is when something is taken away, such as the removal of video games if chores have not been completed.”

Punishment is not an avenue to berate an employee.  However, the performance that is not up to par needs to be handled successfully to ensure more of the performance and behavior you desire.

Do you want to see more of that performance that you and your organization desire?  Well, begin to teach employees how to gain the attributes that are necessary to be successful through Behavior modification.

Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/105661-behavior-modification/

Miltenberge, R.G.  (2008). Behavior Modification, Principle and Procedures  4th ed(.). Wadsworth: Belmont CA.

 

 

What does a Human Resources Organizational Development Consultant do? (YouTube video)

This is an interview with a Human Resources Organizational Development Consultant, in where the interviewee is asking about the potential tasks she accomplishes throughout the day. This is a great link to a Youtube.com video from drkit.org that really gives you a real life look at the various tasks the Consultant is responsible for, and goes beyond average text book definition that we all learn about.

Here is the video called : “Human Resources Organizational Development Consultant, Career Video from drkit.org” please click the link here:

Happy viewing and learning from the Imperfect Org!

Organizational Change (YouTube video) -The Imperfect Org 

This is a text video by Mavim that explains Organizational Change very quickly, (2 minutes) the music helps keep you awake, unlike most videos that go on and on this is very brief and I feel that the animation helps present the point very effectively. It explains how change is necessary, in a global market and how its implementation affects all its stakeholders. This video also gives brief explanation on why change is so important.

Here is the video called: “What is organizational CHANGE?” please click the link here:

Happy viewing and learning from the Imperfect Org!

 

PS: I will be adding this to the “The Imperfect Org” Youtube playlist as that you can easily find it online!