Patrick Reilly: Taming the Abrasive Manager

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Patrick Reilly tells BACN members how to handle abrasive high-performing individuals they encounter when on consulting jobs.

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Patrick Reilly: Taming the Abrasive Manager

  1. 1. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved0 Taming the Abrasive Leader: Keeping Your Consulting Projects from Going South Patrick Reilly Resources In Action, Inc. Member Boss Whispering Institute
  2. 2. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved1 Based on the Work of Dr. Laura Crawshaw
  3. 3. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved2 Abrasive Boss or Tyrant: Definition Any individual charged with managerial authority whose interpersonal behavior causes emotional distress to employees sufficient to disrupt personal and organizational functioning.
  4. 4. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved3 Why is this a problem?  There are many abrasive managers and leaders in organizations that impact employee job satisfaction and retention.  Organizational Impact: Abrasive leaders cause absenteeism, lowered morale and productivity, attrition, increased legal actions, and sometimes sabotage - even homicide.
  5. 5. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved4 What They Do  Overreact  Over control  Threats  Public humiliation  Condescension
  6. 6. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved5 What Does This Man Have to Do With It? TAD T= Threat A= Anxiety D= Defense
  7. 7. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved6 Impact of Abrasive Bosses  CCL survey: 74% of successful executives had at least one intolerable boss  Gallup survey: Main reason people quit  Absenteeism  Lowered morale/productivity  Increased legal actions  Retaliation: sabotage, homicide
  8. 8. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved7 Success Requirements: Consultant  Tough and firm  Data driven  Compassionate  Caring  Asking and telling
  9. 9. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved8 Success Requirements: Team  Expert with abrasives  Involve Team of Abrasive Manager  Boss/Sponsor  HR
  10. 10. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved9 Success Requirements: Process  Build trust with the client  Gather data  Review feedback confidentially  Help them develop insight with the TAD dynamic  Test new approach  Support focused practice
  11. 11. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved10 Is this your story?
  12. 12. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved11 Abrasive Bosses: Common Assumptions  Fully aware of nature and impact of abrasive behaviors  Intent: to harm  Means: dominate through aggression/intimidation  Behavior is intractable
  13. 13. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved12 Abrasive Bosses: Research Findings  Little or no awareness of nature and impact of their abrasive behaviors - they’re clueless  Intent: “do what it takes to get the job done” (they are defending against the threat of being perceived to be incompetent) - they’re afraid.  Means: dominate (exert control) through aggression/intimidation  Behavior is treatable
  14. 14. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved13 What Adequate Bosses Do  See a problem  Explore cause of problem – Employee is unable – Employee is unwilling  Address problem – Provide resources, training – Make adjustments/set limits
  15. 15. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved14 What the Abrasive Boss Does  See a problem  Diagnose incompetence – “stupid” – “lazy”  Attack incompetence – Dominate through intimidating “threat displays” (bullying) – Can be passive-aggressive
  16. 16. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved15 In The Wild: The Survival Dynamic THREAT ANXIETY DEFENSE (TAD)
  17. 17. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved16 At Work: Another Option THREAT ANXIETY RATIONALLY “WORKING THROUGH” THREATENING ISSUE
  18. 18. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved17 Abrasive Bosses Perceive a THREAT to their competence Feel ANXIETY DEFEND their competence with aggression (“Fight” option)
  19. 19. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved18 Blinder Than Bats: Why They Don’t See  Lack “social sonar”, (empathic capacity)  Don’t “read” emotions  Discount importance of emotions
  20. 20. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved19 Management’s Flight Response  Denial  Displacement  Delay  Referral
  21. 21. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved20 What to do about it?
  22. 22. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved21 What Management Has to Do  Make them see the impact of their behavior  Make them care enough to want to change  Offer help INTERVENTION
  23. 23. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved22 Step 1a: Make Them See the Impact of Their Behavior  Investigate & document reports of distress by co-workers  Present chronic pattern of distressed perceptions to abrasive boss  Don’t get pulled into defensive “fact battles” of “what really happened” or “who’s really at fault.” Instead…. The fact is that we don’t know and cannot know exactly what happened — we weren’t there when the incidents occurred. But we do know one fact: your co-workers feel they are being treated disrespectfully
  24. 24. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved23 Step 1b: Make Them See the Impact of Their Behavior  Evaluate employees on their performance and conduct  Present pattern of negative perceptions as evidence of unacceptable conduct “We’ve had a steady stream of complaints from co-workers about their experiences interacting with you – we don’t see this with other managers. This is not acceptable and cannot continue.” I can’t be “bugged” with this!
  25. 25. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved24 Step 2: Make them care enough to want to change  Set limits  “The way you interact with others needs to change.”  Set consequences  “Failure to do so will result in…
  26. 26. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved25 Step 3: Offer help  Individualized Approach: Internal mentoring and external specialized coaching (Boss Whispering)  Partner with him or her.
  27. 27. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved26 Step 4: Offer help as a Consultant  Use what you’ve learned to partner with HR and project Sponsor(s): Team game  Escalate  Partner with the client
  28. 28. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved27 What to Do if the Abrasive is Your Client or the Sponsor  Follow the process for success  There is always someone higher in the organization  Approach with the Team
  29. 29. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved28 Success Requirements: Consultant  Tough and firm  Data driven  Compassionate  Caring  Asking and telling
  30. 30. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved29 Success Requirements: Team  Expert with abrasives  Involve Team of Abrasive Manager  Boss/Sponsor  HR
  31. 31. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved30 Success Requirements: Process  Build trust with the client  Gather data  Review feedback confidentially  Help them develop insight with the TAD dynamic  Test new approach  Support focused practice
  32. 32. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved31 Advantages of Intervention: Everyone Wins  Employee suffering ends – they have the right tools  Employees respond favorably to their “new boss”  Employees regard employer positively for intervening  Formerly abrasive boss is grateful to employer for a “second chance”  Employer reduces potential for litigation, attrition, anti-management sentiment  Employer retains boss’s technical expertise
  33. 33. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved32 What if the abrasive boss can’t change and has to be terminated?  Risk reduced  Employees believe company did the right thing  Employer has the peace of knowing that they did everything in their power to remedy the situation.
  34. 34. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved33 America’s First Chief (Abrasive) Executive “Every action done in company ought to be done with some sign of respect to those who are present.” –George Washington
  35. 35. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved34 Patrick Reilly is President of Resources In Action, Inc., a firm specializing in executive coaching and consulting. He has worked extensively with leaders in the health care, financial services, technology, and utility sectors for more than 25 years, internationally and in the US. His passion is getting leaders into action for success and satisfaction. About the Presenter
  36. 36. © 2010 Resources In Action All rights reserved35 Questions? Patrick Reilly Resources in Action, Inc. 510-524-4934 www.resourcesinaction.com

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