“Stress at work is common, but it shouldn’t come from employee relationships”
Dealing with stress arising from the tidal push and pull of working with other people should not be detrimental to the work that you are trying to achieve.
If you are encountering resistance or friction from co-workers; whether they see it a perceived jostle for position or they feel the need to scramble to be seen by the higher management, that insecurity comes from within them – not you and you should rise above it.
There’s an arrogance attributed to bulls that is self perpetuating.
Very few people want to go head to head with a bull which results in giving the bull power and a superiority complex.
The bull quickly learns that no matter what it does it won’t be challenged which leads to more bullish behavior and even less likelihood of being challenged or held to account.
What is a ‘bull’?
In the workplace, the bull is not a team player. They are only in it for themselves and are confident in their ability to stare down any challenge when their attitude or behavior is contrary to the team objectives.
To the bull their projects are the only important work going on,
they demand preference on all the resources,
their opinion is the only one,
they may pretend to consider others,
they don’t respect authority,
they require all the information yet share nothing.
When challenged a bull will sidestep a discussion, when being held to account for behavior- quite likely will stomp their feet and charge away, gets extremely defensive in an offensive manner, will be dismissive.
In short, a typical bully.
How do you deal with this?
You have to become something similar to a cross between a mule and a matador.
Knowing a bull will distract and deflect in a behavior challenging discussion you have to be mule like and stick to addressing and dealing with one point at a time in order to get resolution.
At the same time you need to be matador agile to defend against ‘blame’ being scattered like wild flower seeds, “whataboutery” and probably as hominem attacks.
Holding the conversation to one point at a time will infuriate the bull but you can’t allow them have the power in the discussion.
At some point you may have to decide on either “breaking in” the bull ( never trust or turn your back to the bull even if you think they’ve changed) or putting it out to pasture.
Sometimes putting the young bull out to pasture is the safest way to deal with it.
What has been your experience of dealing with a bull in the workplace?
In case you are unaware, for many of us now, working remotely or ‘offsite’ is made possible by working in the cloud. The tools that enable us to be effective in this work are SaaS or Software as a Solution which is essentially the distribution model of internet hosted applications which are used on a subscription model.
What are the benefits of SaaS?
SaaS offers many potential advantages over the traditional models of business software installation – trialling, buying, installing, licensing and updating.
Some of the advantages are:
Lower up-front cost – SaaS is normally subscription-based and has no up-front licence fees resulting in lower initial costs and ease of adoption.
Quick set up and deployment – SaaS application is already installed and configured in the cloud.
Easy upgrades – The SaaS providers deal with hardware and software updates, deploying upgrades centrally to the hosted applications and removing this workload and responsibility from you.
Accessibility – All you need is a browser and an internet connection. This is generally available on a wide range of devices and from anywhere in the world, making SaaS more accessible than the traditional business software installation.
Scalability – SaaS providers generally offer many subscription options and flexibility to change subscriptions as and when needed.
There are some disadvantages for sure – no access if network coverage is poor, slower speeds than installed software but the biggest gripe I hear is the lack of ownership and the perceived passing of oftentimes sensitive information to the control of others.
What happens to my data if I end my subscription? Who owns the information? Will my client data be secure?
These are valid questions especially in light of recent data breaches and security issues globally. The reply we give is double edged, lesser of two evils really.
You need this particular software and the options are:
Cloud access – outbound traffic from devices, desktops, mobile etc to a portion of your business information that enables operations
Internal hosting on servers – inbound traffic through a VPN from the same mobile devices but also opening up the risk of accessibility to all other business information hosted on the same servers by hackers.
We always prefer Option 1 and that’s without going into the cost considerations of internal network, bandwidth, IT services etc.
The norm in software is becoming SaaS for most operational management, which is why we refer to it as Software as a Solution (SaaSaaS is a bit longwinded).
Finding the right software to provide you with the solution comes from identifying the requirements and needs of your business first. That is where we come into the picture. We can help you find the right fit, chose your SaaS solution and develop the system to work for you.
Making mistakes in business and learning from the lessons are what make us better people and leaders.
When we make a mistake, how we address it will make or break our relationships with customers and others. Our actions can create and reinforce trust or eliminate trust altogether.
Many of us as children learn, from fear of getting into trouble, the bad habit of trying to deflect blame and cover up when we make mistakes. That doesn’t work as adults, it shows a lack of honesty, integrity and simply that you are incapable of being trusted to do the right thing for your customer.
Honesty is the fastest way to prevent amistakefrom turning into a failure.
Always do the right thing. Own your mistakes. Be genuine in your apology and do the right thing and rectify if possible.
I’m currently slap bang in the middle of “Leaders Eat Last” (paperback version as my Kindle is due a replacement) by Simon Sinek.
It’s got me thinking about other books that should be on my shelf. Apart from the occasional distraction by a Stephen King novel most of what I read is informative – whether business informative or life informative I’m constantly curious and eager to learn.
Here’s a list of other books that are recommended:
Bottom line, none of us are perfect and to quote a favorite expression of mine about ‘failure’ – if we are not making mistakes we are not taking risks and definitely not learning anything.
Sometimes projects go buttery smooth with everything falling into time and place EXACTLY as planned. However, more often than not, we hit speed bumps along the journey and from time to time even project failures.
It’s how you react to the failure that marks you out as the professional. Here’s some advice on how to make that failure into a win..
Speak wisely about project failure & be winning:
BY LINDSAY SCOTT
Q: I want to make a great impression in an upcoming interview for an internal role in a different department, but my current department has had major project failures this year. How can I best use the bad experience in the interview?
A: If the project failures have been high profile, the interviewers will be interested in learning more about them. Your response should be akin to how you answer the traditional interview question, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Everyone knows people aren’t perfect, and the same goes for projects.
First, when the question about failure arises, relax. Your answer can demonstrate you’re ready for the position. I always look for project managers who have experienced failure. Without that learning experience, how can they ever be prepared for when it inevitably happens?
Actively demonstrating the lessons learned is a great way to talk about project failure—but do it professionally rather than emotionally. Avoid the blame game, because your interviewers are likely to know the employees involved. Instead, talk about people in more generic terms such as “the client,” “users” or “management.”
Then get more specific on project details, such as risk management issues or process problems that show the causes of the failures. And finally, describe what you did to right the ship—or portray what you would do to correct the same problems in the future.
Never guarantee similar issues won’t happen again. The interviewer wants assurance that you can handle projects that are not all smooth sailing and that you can draw on your experiences to navigate choppy waters.
Don’t hide from ‘failure’
A debrief of a project failure is an opportunity for you as a Project Manager to display your skills at figuring out where things did not go as planned and provide you with the knowledge and experience to establish systems that will prevent a repeat of the occurrence.
“RPA is a promising new development in business automation that offers a potential ROI of 30-200%—in the first year. Employees may like it, too.”
— Xavier Lhuer, McKinsey and Company
The line “Employees may like it, too.” is so simple and understated yet sums up possibly the biggest stumbling block in any Change Management process.
Employees. Their reaction to change can be driven by many factors including a fear that their job or position is under threat.
“What’s wrong with the way we always did it?”
People hear ‘Robotic Processing Automation’ and think of auto factory production lines. RBA applies to any process or production that can be automated, not necessarily ‘robotized’.
Robotic processing automation promises a substantial return on investment that has attracted the attention of business leaders. While the ROI can be impressive, the majority of cost savings are realized by reducing employee headcount. Find out how a change team can identify and mitigate employee resistance to an RPA implementation and create a successful change initiative.
Again a line that is worth addressing “..reducing employee headcount.”
In my experience change management is NOT about reducing staff numbers. It is in fact about removing the human element from mundane repetetive processes and empowering the staff to become more productive and efficient at other tasks more suited to their skills.
Just like any other process in project management, effective change management involves clear planning and communication of what the process means.
Focus on the positive side of things:
you may not have to work late or through lunch anymore
you are able to duplicate your time on data entry by engaging more people in a simpler process (webforms)
you will engage with techno phopes who shy away from noraml data entry due to spreadsheetaphobia – empowering and motivating
your company will be SO much more productive as back office and admin tasks are smoother releasing more time for overwatch and analysis
you can centralize data making it easier for key stakeholders and management to access and inform themselves without absorbing hours of others time
Don’t forget to be in front of the negatives:
there will be people who expect a magic wand approach – change is an iterative process. Roll out steady, sandbox and stress-test .
there will be retraining and many repetitive questions and answers – you are the person with the plan and in the know, you MUST be patient with people, they are willing to learn.
it will take time and you may feel there is no end. Well, there isn’t! At some point your process will gain critical mass and others will take it forward and be ambassadors for your process.