Bullies, Narcissists, and Sabotage


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Humanity can be a strong force for value and productivity in business. Leaders who embrace humanity can build highly effective, loyal teams that can work really effectively to drive forward business progress.

But humanity of course, can present itself in negative ways as well.

And unfortunately the workplace is scattered with negative people — managers and peers who are bullies, and random, insecure, but diabolical individuals who set out to sabotage you.

In my own life and career, I have had a lot of practice enduring and dealing with bullies, and figuring out how to thrive in unwelcoming work environments by taking the high road.

I developed some ways of thinking about this and some very effective counter-approaches to not only defend against these behaviors, but to make forward progress in spite of them.

Bullies, Saboteurs and Narcissists (oh my!)

There are three types of negative people you need to watch out for and have a plan to defend, protect and overcome.

Basic Bullies: People with power who are unkind, dismissive, diminishing to your face.

Saboteurs: Those who seek power by undermining you and discrediting you behind your back.

Narcissists: Those who must abuse others to fuel their psychologically damaged ego.

Bullies: It’s never about you

The most important thing to remember, a lesson I learned at a very early age from my mother, is that bullying is never about you, it’s always about them. Bullies have a need to diminish others.

To effectively deal with a bully, you need to do 3 things.

1. Remember it is never about you
2. Practice not having an emotional reaction – make yourself no fun to bully
3. Remove yourself from the room/situation

It’s so important in the heat of the moment, when you are feeling hurt and angry, to practice not having an emotional reaction. Try really hard to recognize it a “bullying” not “truth,” and let it go by. Don’t let it hurt you.
This is not easy, but it is the foundation for dealing with bullies.

You need TO make yourself no fun to bully — By not giving a bully a reaction, you become no fun. Don’t give them a target. They will move on.

If for example your boss is berating you for something in a very mean and dismissive way, and you feel hurt, go through these 3 steps.

1. This isn’t about me
2. Say, very briefly, “I understand you are not happy with this work” (non emotional)
3. Say, “Let me go away now and rework it” (get out of there!)

A bully is always in search of a target. There can be no bullying without a target.

Saboteurs: Eliminate their secrecy

The reason sabotage only happens behind the scenes is because that’s the only way it works.

If someone is spreading rumors, saying bad things about you that aren’t true, or sharing data that is unfounded to make you look bad, you can begin to worry that others might start listening to them.

But these unfounded attacks do not hold up to scrutiny.

So if you suddenly shine the spotlight on what saboteurs are saying, they lose their power. Saboteurs need to work in the shadows.

If for example you start to hear that someone is saying that your business results are questionable and that your team is unmotivated, go to the person and say, “I’ve heard that you have some issues about the performance and motivation of my team. I’m going to schedule a meeting with you and our boss so that I can make sure that we all understand the important information that you have, so that I can address it. Please be prepared to share your facts with us. Is Tuesday OK?

When you even just threaten to get the false information out into the open, they will get nervous.

When you confront a person like this they will almost always back down because they simply can’t support what they are saying. They will move back into the shadows where they feel comfortable and realize that you are someone who will always shine a spotlight on what they are doing, so they will back off.

When you get the false information out into the open it can’t hurt you. It can only hurt you in the shadows.

Narcissists: Protect Yourself

Narcissists are a different matter entirely. They have a pathological problem that makes them need to hurt others.

They themselves have an enormous gap in self confidence and it causes them great pain.

Unlike people who are not narcissists, a narcissist only has one way of dealing with the fear and pain — they must hurt someone else.

Narcissists always need others to pump them up and make them feel good and important. But when that wanes, watch out.

A narcissist whose ego is feeling deflated will respond with an irrational sudden burst of anger that leaves everyone around them injured and wondering “Where did that come from?”

Where it comes from is the natural reaction of a narcissist who has had a lull in admiration, and needs to boost their confidence. It’s their only move.
Only by putting someone else down, can they build themselves up. It’s kind of like a being bully, but magnified greatly, and with no room for negotiation or remorse.

If you are dealing with a narcissist, just know that there is no way to win. They will never change or improve.

You only have two moves:

1. Protect yourself: Stay if you must, but prioritize protecting yourself. Have a specific plan.
2. Get away

Be aware, and have a plan

At one time or another we all end up facing this kind of person. If you are dealing with someone in any of these categories who is undermining you and putting you down, you must have a proactive plan to preserve your sanity and confidence.
And you must have a plan to counter the attacks in a productive way to protect your career.

Make sure you are planning your interactions with this person with great intention. Don’t leave it to chance and see what happens next time. Be ready.

And as always, it helps to have mentors and sponsors in the mix so you have both emotional and practical support.

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About Patty
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Read MOVE

I’m really excited to share all the important ideas and tools I put in my book MOVE to help you get your team (at any level in any kind of organization) to execute your strategy more decisively.

You can download a free preview or order your copy now.
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Coping with a difficult business situation



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“Courage does not always roar”

I really like this quote from Mary Anne Radmacher.

I write this in a week when all of my best laid plans and commitments have been washed away by the flooding rains and power outages in California.

This, the week before my new book MOVE is released…when there were many important things to do.

One of the themes in MOVE is that leaders need to have Valor. And sometimes Valor is the patience and willingness to cope — to simply show up and try again tomorrow.

Authentic Success

My first book RISE was about individual effectiveness and success. It focused on building career success in an authentic way, that respects others and the fact that you have life outside work that matters.

MOVE is the next step. It’s about organizational effectiveness and success.

People have asked me, “Were you able to keep the authentic theme in MOVE too?”

Absolutely! That’s the point.

The Middle is the hard part

Here’s what I mean.

A primary theme in MOVE is about “The Middle,” meaning that while the kick-off of a new strategy is exciting and well supported, and the end goals are very motivating, it’s the Middle that’s the hard (and not most exciting) part. Strategies tend to fall apart and lose momentum in the Middle.

As a leader it’s important to keep showing up every day because:

The Middle is where literally everything needs to happen!

And the Middle is fraught with surprises, changes, challenges, short term pressures, apathy, skepticism, boredom, and sometimes even personal attacks.

The strongest leaders are often the ones who are willing show up again tomorrow — to try again, and to keep going, and to continue to engage their team in an authentic way — throughout the whole Middle.

Leadership takes courage, patience, and often stubborn persistence.

Coping is adding value

A mentor of mine taught me a very important lesson. He said to me, “Patty, never underestimate the value of simply coping”.

Courage does not always roar.

Don’t underestimate the value of coping — coping, and being willing to show up again tomorrow.

Authentic success is a wonderful thing

In MOVE I give lots of practical strategies for coping, having Valor and preserving your energy and sanity as a leader throughout the entire Middle.

Because if you keep showing up, you can really do great things together with your team.

Every manager should read MOVE. And I’m not saying that just to sell books. I’d really like to help.

MOVE is a practical handbook for dealing with the reality of how hard business execution is, and for mastering the things that can make the difference between success and stalling out. I’d like to help every leader gain the business and personal success they desire.

Keep going!

Download a free preview of MOVE

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About Patty
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Everything is impossible and everyone is a shark


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The Monday MOVE Idea

Each Monday until the launch of my upcoming book MOVE, I’ll be sharing an important idea from the book. This week: Everything is impossible and everyone is shark.

Leadership is supposed to be hard

There will be times when you face ugly challenges and personal attacks.

I coach a lot of senior executives and with pretty much everyone we reach a point where I tell them,

You’ll be better off if you start your thinking with the idea that, everything is impossible and everyone is a shark

Treat it like work, not like injury

If you can get your head around the fact that everything is supposed to be hard/nearly-impossible, and that you are likely to be swimming with predators, you can start using the same talents and energy that you use to solve sensible business problems, to address these personal challenges too.

It’s possible to treat this type of obstacle like any other project or program and get busy working to overcome it.

If instead you spend energy thinking, “But this is totally unreasonable and others are out to get me,” (while that might be true) that line of thinking doesn’t give you an action plan to deal with it.

Waiting for the rest of the world to get reasonable is a bad strategy because it doesn’t happen.

Once you embrace the fact that YOUR JOB = Your job description PLUS all the crap that gets in the way of delivering on your job description…You will feel (and BE) in a lot more in control.

Read MOVE

I’m really excited to share the important ideas, and all the tools I put in my upcoming book MOVE to help you get your team (at any level in the organization) to execute your strategy more decisively.

MOVE will be available in February, but you can download a free preview now or pre-order your copy now.
Click to download
Click to Pre-order
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What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Who else would like to see this?

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About Patty
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Burn the Ships at the Beach


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The Monday MOVE Idea

Each Monday until the launch of my upcoming book MOVE, I’ll be sharing an important idea from the book. This week:

Burn the Ships at the Beach

Leading Transformation is Hard

One of my more challenging leadership assignments was to lead a transformation in a software development organization for how we developed products. It was a process improvement initiative.

As we got into it, people would tell me, “You are being stupid, you are killing our business, we’re going to lose our top people over this”, and I’d say, “I understand your frustration, but this is what we are doing, and I am committed to it. I promise you in the long run it will be good for the business, as we discussed at the beginning.”

I would go to my boss and say, this is really hard, everybody hates this, and they argue with me every day. And he would say to me, “Patty, you have to burn the ships at the beach”.

There is no turning back

He taught me that you have to make it very clear at the beginning of a difficult journey that there is no turning back

If you go back, there is nothing there for you. You can’t get back. The only way through is forward – Even though forward may appear threatening.

And he taught me that the way you “burn the ships at the beach” is to be completely consistent in your message and your decisions.

Don’t undermine yourself

There were so many times it was tempting to cave in to the pressure and go back to the old way. It takes Valor (V=Valor in my MOVE model) to not undermine your forward progress by making inconsistent decisions about it.

In the end the change we were driving worked. (The whole story is in the book)

Everything was better.

We began to deliver on time, the quality was higher, the product was more competitive, the customers were happier and the morale of the team skyrocketed — Because we finished our transformation and it paid off.

But it’s can be really hard as a leader along they way through the long Middle (M=Middle) when people are discouraged. You need to have the Valor to stick to it.

**The brief historical reference: 1519 AD, during the Spanish conquest of Mexico Hernán Cortés, the Spanish commander, scuttled his ships, so that his men would have to conquer or die, no matter how hard the mission became and how much they might have wanted to turn back. There was no turning back because the ships were gone. Forward was the only choice.

Read MOVE

I’m really excited to share examples of moving from Situation Discussions to Outcome Discussions and all the tools I put in my upcoming book MOVE to help you get your team to execute your strategy more decisively — including building your own confidence and courage as a leader.

MOVE will be available in February, but you can download a free preview now or pre-order your copy now.
Click to download
Click to Pre-order
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What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Who else would like to see this?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Using Your Strengths to Thrive More at Work



This month’s Professional Development webinar was on the topic of Using Your Strengths to Thrive More at Work.

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If you missed it you can download the recording.

Members of Azzarello group can download this webinar for free.
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Don’t take your strengths for granted

As humans we tend to take our strengths for granted because when we are working in our area of greatest natural strengths, what we are doing feels easy. And because it feels easy, it doesn’t seem impressive — so we fail to value our own strengths, and focus instead on the things we are not good at.

In this webinar we talked about the value and the magic that happens in your career when you recognize your strengths and start to build on them instead of focusing so much on your weaknesses.

Once you learn how to build upon your strengths your performance will increase, your career will progress more naturally, and you will be much happier!

I shared practical ideas for how to build on your strengths to put yourself in a position to truly excel.

Find your strengths: There are also pointers to strength assessments and exercises to help you discover your strengths included in the worksheets for this webinar.

Build your confidence

Never disqualify yourself from an opportunity because you are scared. Everyone is scared!

By using your strengths as a platform you can step outside your comfort zone with more confidence. Your strengths are the key to finding a more secure and confident place to work from.

We talked about how to build your confidence to take on new and challenging situations successfully by starting with your strengths

Tune Your Job

The most successful people figure out what they are really good at, and then put themselves in a position to do that most of the time!

It’s up to you to negotiate your performance objectives in a way that puts you in your power alley. Change your job over time. We talked about how to negotiate a business case that lets you use your strengths more.

Also, volunteer. Find and create opportunities to use your strengths — and get famous for doing so. You’ll find that you will attract more of that type of work over time (because you are good at it!) We discussed some examples of how to do this.

Build a team

No one person can be good at everything, but a team can! Learn to develop a team where you are all using your strengths and benefiting from each others’ contributions.

Like your job and life more!

When you are using your natural strengths, it feel great because your are succeeding without torturing yourself! You are making big gains and big wins. You feel proud. The crowds are cheering…

When you are thriving at work, when you have energy for your work, when you are confident at work because you have found a way of working that really suits your strengths and you feel appreciated, you will have much more energy to enjoy your life.

Also it feels great when you don’t need to turn yourself into someone else on Monday morning when you go to work. The more you can focus on your natural strengths the more your true self will feel welcome at work.

You have more control than you think

You have the opportunity to define how you work. By focusing on your natural strengths, you will feel happier and more confident, and you will succeed more.

Want some help?

To get some help with this and learn the specific ideas and techniques that we talked about, download the webinar: Using Your Strengths to Thrive More at Work, now.

Members: Download the webinar for free.
Non Members: You can purchase this individual webinar or podcast (links below).

There are some other really useful webinars in the Member Library related to this topic.

Members get these additional webinars for free:

So if you are not yet a member, you might as well join and get them all for free!

Let me be your mentor

Members of Azzarello Group basically get me as their mentor.

Every month you get new insights and tools in the form of these webinars, as well as the chance to call into a monthly members-only coaching hour where you can get direct personal coaching from me.

People tell me that membership gives them a totally new way of thinking about their career, getting promotions, solving difficult problems with bosses, peers, employees, and other annoying people, communicating better, being more influential, becoming a stronger leader, and enjoying their work more. I love to hear this, and I love to help!

If you join now, you’ll not only get this webinar, but all the other webinars in the Member Library.

AND you’ll get the opportunity to participate in monthly Coaching Hour conference calls with me.
Check out what we talk about.

AND as a member you’ll get to download your copy of the Career Year of action Guide (a $30 value) for free.

Membership is a great resource (and a steal at $179 for a whole year) to help you advance your career.

Join Now
Join Now.

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Other Options:

Purchase just this webinar ($19.99)
Purchase just this podcast ($9.99)


ABOUT PATTY:

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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor.
She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

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