Last week I wrote about messages we’re given that don’t mean exactly what the person delivering them would like you to believe. A few of you wrote in to say that you appreciated me calling out bad behaviors.
I once had a job where my manager’s bad behavior was the norm. He routinely lost things that were sent to him, he routinely didn’t listen to what he was told on the phone (we could hear him typing while we were talking-and he wasn’t taking notes) and he needed us to repeat things. We missed conferences because he didn’t make plans he said he would, and perhaps worst of all, he started making us responsible for his mistakes.
I spent a lot of time comforting colleagues. Finally, I’d had it and got my colleagues together to decide what to do. We told our manager we were going to his superiors. He begged us to wait because he said he would do better. So we waited. Very little changed.
Eventually we went to his superiors. They were shocked and appalled. It turned out that they were having similar problems with him, too, but assumed it was just their experience. When we let them know the problems we were having, it empowered them to confront him. He left of his own accord. The whole process took about six months.
The moral of the story? Bad behavior shouldn’t be free.
I’ve heard from a few of you that there are behaviors you feel are unacceptable in a work situation. However, everyone tells you, “Oh, that’s just the way s/he is…”
That’s only the way things are because everyone’s decided to accept them. It could be that the person inflicting that behavior on everyone else is completely unconscious about the effects of their behavior. But whether the person is conscious or not, it’s not doing anyone any favors to simply tolerate it. It’s not helping that person, their co-workers or the organization.
If you’re suffering from someone else’s bad behavior, I encourage you to seek help. If you’re pretty sure it’s not just you suffering, I encourage you to reach out to colleagues or friends first and come to a group decision. There truly is strength in numbers. And if no one is prepared to listen or help, or if you’re afraid of retribution, please remember that you’re responsible for yourself, and you don’t have to take it. Quietly start looking for another position elsewhere.
Don’t remain in a situation if you’re miserable.
May we pursue our paths, listening to our inner guidance and not tolerating situations that are intolerable,