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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2000 7:54 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 538
Location: Charlottesville,VA,USA
Friday, 5:15pm, in the office building of a moderately-sized corporation. An easygoing, hard working, technical editor (TE) sits at his computer giving a little extra effort for the good of the team.

Upper-middle manager-not the editor's boss (*****) appears in TE's office door. Administrative procedural misunderstanding is the reason for the visit. TE is subjected to a verbal berating, laced with obscenities, for an hour and a half, according to the two others on the floor who heard the whole thing. TE tries to remain calm and objective, to no avail, ***** will not be denied his release. TE's supervisor is present and does nothing. TE and supervisor take up matter with regional VP, everyone's boss and meeting of parties is scheduled.

***** apologizes if he was misunderstood, TE is told to have a more positive attitude.

TE is my office mate and friend. I was leaving for the weekend as the conversation was beginning (it was still quite civil) and clued our supervisor to the misunderstanding that he might be of help.

TE was verbally assaulted while people watched. I have found through some personal investigation that ***** is known for carefully picking his victims for these sessions. These sessions tend to occur when the light of day is about to shine on *****'s latest display of incompetency. All seem to be aware of the high level of this incompetency, but founding partner loves ***** and nothing is ever brought out.

I HATE bullies, I want his behavior to stop. I want to kick his flippin' behind, but he doesn't play this junk with me. Given the situation, this seems a valid forum for discussion, advice, admonishment or whatever. I am under control, but pissed. Anybody have anything to say?

Heavy bag's gettin' hurt these days,

ted


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2000 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 177
Location: N.H.
I'm no expert on this type of subject except "kick his ass" and that's not the right thing to do. I've had a similar problem. Mr. Testa might have a better idea.

First climb the ladder and let EVERYONE know that there is a problem and document everything said. Wait to see any changes in attitude, then confront the person to settle things the hard way.

This worked for me because this wasn't the first time the person attacked someone verbally. It never made it outside for an ass whoop'in.


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2000 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 538
Location: Charlottesville,VA,USA
First, let me apologize for my choice of nicknames. I am happy to have my post made civilized. I am still ticked off at the situation I mentioned, however.

The desire to get physical with this guy is my problem. The situation that occurrred is presented because, for the vast majority of us, this is the type of assault we are subjected to. I am very interested in developing my abilities at the front end of the "force continuum" (great term, by the way) such that they can match those I am developing at the bloody end.

Is one able to be more effective at the front end if one has something to "back it up with" so to speak? Alot of people I know who have the "back-up" are less skilled at the verbal stage and more susceptible to the "Highjacking" yet possess the self-control not to act on it, I include myself here. They/we then just go away mad/frustrated and end up depressed and/or having extra intense workouts. I want to learn to be effective without feeling the need to be physical unless I must.

I really enjoy these forums for the intelligent, non-passive, experienced approach that is generally displayed. My practice is improved by what I learn here.

thanks

ted

[This message has been edited by Ted Dinwiddie (edited September 19, 2000).]


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2000 6:07 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 1051
Location: Brockton, MA, USA
Hi Ted

Thanks for posting this topic and for giving us another category to add to our VSD Kihons.

I have also been the target of a corporate buffoon (not my boss but the project leader) who tried to blast me in front of other co-workers while we were in a different company’s meeting room. The whole time he went on his tirade, I just sat there with my mouth wide open as if I could not believe he was actually speaking to me that way. When we returned to our company (I had the support of my co-workers) he was reprimanded severely and was transferred to another job a few weeks later. The main reason was the non-professional attitude he had displayed in front of the other company’s personnel whom we were trying to but software from. Of course, it helped that the Department Manager did not get along with this guy.

In the case of your corporate bully, the first mistake that he made is not taking the time to go behind closed doors. He should have called the TE into HIS office, not go down to the TE's office.

But this is not what happened, and therefore should address how to handle it the way it did happen.

The way I would have handled it would have been to invite the Bully into the office and closed the door.
The discussion should have been between him and the TE only, not for everyone else to hear. If the Bully is a boss then all the criticism he unleashes at his subordinate (minus the profanity) is within his rights as a boss. He has no professional right to berate any employee in front of his co-workers. If he is not the boss of the employee then he should have taken the matter up with the employee’s boss, and let him handle it. This is corporate professionalism. However, as everything does not always work perfectly in the real world, the corporate world is also part of the real world and therefore situations will arise where people will act out of anger instead of thought. If there is any chance of losing your job or the TE losing his job over this, then I say forget it and do not pursue any retaliation upon this guy.

If this guy is no threat to you (can fire you) then you can stick up for your friend the next time he tries to berate him and tell him how unprofessional it is for him to act this way. Verbal attacks such as these can be handled with VSD. When there is no chance that the attacker will get physical, there is no way that you can bring physical defense into the situation. If you do, you may get fired. Remember this is the livelihood for you and your friend. Do not jeopardize this because of one idiot.



------------------
Len Testa


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2000 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 538
Location: Charlottesville,VA,USA
Thanks for your excellent advice.

I have never had any intention to get physical with this individual, just desire.

It is a boss's job to criticize a subordinate when necessary. The quality of this criticism determines the quality of the manager. I respect and invite constructive criticism from my superiors as well as coworkers and subordinates. I cannot learn to be better if I do not know what I'm doing wrong.

But there is another issue here: that of venting frustration. A superior should not subject a subordinate to personal emotional venting. That is abuse. A superior does not have the right to abuse subordinates. It becomes an issue of personal power over another individual and the proper implementation of it.

Consider the relationships of sensei and student or sempai and kohai or with one's uki. An atmosphere of mutual respect, courtesy and fairness with respect to the conduction of potentially deadly business is critical. The chain of command relationship in a corporation falls into the same structure. If, as a sensei, one of your shodans is behaving as the aforementioned middle manager did how would you handle it? How would the other shodans handle it? In my dojo there are individuals of kyu rank who have considerable prior experience and training and are more than capable of handing some dan ranks a serious lesson in respect. It has never been an issue.

Am I asking to much for any organization to exist within a similar framework of expectation?

If one gets in another's face in a disrespectful manner (redundant?), irrespective of rank, the other is within his rights to respond in kind. Tactically speaking, that may not be the best response, but the threat is there and needs to be dealt with. Under this type of assault what are the alternatives? Is it possible to respond in a manner, mano e mano, that alleviates the situation and maybe prevents its recurrance? In the absence of an effective chain of command and or a very sneaky abuser it may be necessary.

Any thoughts?

ted


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2000 6:22 pm 
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In my work I handle lots of “emotional injury” Worker’s compensation claims.

This is a common occurrence in the work place. The first impulse is to want to kill the bastard, and I have had lots of those incidents where the offending corporate bully “smug” in his powers, was met outside the building, leaving late at night after his long day, and severely beaten.

But the continuous “hazing” if allowed to continue is not healthy to the employee’s state of mind and productivity, as well as to the financial “well being” of the corporation.

In addition of a real good chance of violence in the work place, the employee could lodge a complaint with the State board of abusive and hostile work environment, perhaps discrimination if the shoe fits, and the offending manager could be accused of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Once that line is crossed, it will only get worse as time drags on. The best way is to draw a line in the sand in spite of fears of losing the job [you can shove that job] by first writing a letter of complaint to the human resources department.

In my cases what happens is that the employee, desperate and emotionally taken down, goes home saying he is not feeling well, chest pains and the like, then goes to see his doctor, and ends up in some sort of therapy. Under State laws, when an employee alleges a work related physical or emotional injury [such as this] the Employer is required to file a first report of injury with the State board and its compensation carrier. If it doesn’t it is subject to a fine.

The employee can also file a notice of injury directly with the State. This is best done by retaining a worker’s compensation attorney.

That triggers a close investigation by the insurance company’s claims agents and or State investigators, which includes a recorded face to face interview of the @#$% manager and witnesses, which is very intimidating to the manager because now the very top echelon is looking down at his unbecoming conduct.

Emotional injury claims are expensive to the employer and its worker’s compensation experience rating adversely affects premiums.

Usually this promotes “religion” in the corporate bully.




------------------
Van Canna


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2000 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 1051
Location: Brockton, MA, USA
Ted:
Van knows all about this subject and we should be thankful that he is willing to share his knowledge with us.

I am in the process of taking courses for the Safety and Health Administrator position in my Division of the company I work for which will be vacated in a couple of years.
Employee cases such as these cause OSHA recordable incidents which alerts the senior managers of the company. As Van has stated, "the shoe will be on the foot" if this should happen. The upper manager will get more than a reamming if your friend happens to file a workmans compensation claim.

As far as respect in the dojo...my instructors, senior students and I earn the respect of the lower ranked students. While sparring we will fight with them at a level just above their own level. I will say to a green belt, I will spar with you using only the moves that a brown belt knows. Of course I still have the power and knowledge of the rank I hold, but I do not use any moves from any kata that is higher than the one the green belt is practicing. If they get too cocky, I will start using some of the more advance moves and usually (with a smile after I had hit him a few times) say, "Remember I cannot bring you to my level that is why I spar near your level. If you increase your intensity I will keep increasing mine to stay just above your level".

This method gets them to respect you.

I do not become revengeful, if a student thinks they are gaining the upper hand, I show compassion while also showing I had the ability to really hurt if I wanted to.



------------------
Len Testa


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2000 2:24 am 
I've seen something like this happen recently to a friend a number of times. It took its toll on micro-inches of stomach lining, but he held on through it all pretty well and came out the stronger because of it.

Why a person would take that kind of bull**** is beyond me, especially when he doesn't have to take it.

Somehow, while being accosted, even if outsized and out-powered by a large margin, a person must strongly assert himself in some way, fashion, or manner, even if he doesn't realize he is doing so at the time.

I would like to think that sticking your face right into the face of the abusive boss and focusing on every little spec of color in his eye is enough body language to make him get the hint and fluck-off.

I don't think anyone, whether weak or strong, can take brow-beatings too many times before he does something about it.

Things like that can end up in court real fast and can be a big embarrassment for the company and the boss, especially when it hits the papers. You have to stick up for yourself, because no one else will, especially if everyone else is afraid of him!


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2000 2:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 538
Location: Charlottesville,VA,USA
Thank you every one for your input on this subject. The individual I mentioned has had another incident with another emplyee. This employee has a more influential and supportive supervisor, so things are stirring a bit now.

I suppose there is little one can do, one to one, with a superior who behaves in this manner. Some have a personal bearing that precludes this treatment I think. Those who do not are best served by letting the aggressor dig his own grave, by assuring his behavior does not go unnoticed.

It seems as though the legal response is another route in the "force continuum." A route that is certainly not available in some situations. It may also be the eventual result of the force continuum in some situations. I'm a beginner in this arena and I very much appreciate the availability of these forums.

Mr. Canna, thank you.

Mr. Testa, thank you. Your school sounds like a very good one. My instructors follow the same methodology with students and sparring. But we do have a percentage of students who have started at the beginning in our school for the purposes of learning our system, but who already hold rank in another style, or were NCAA wrestlers or successful amateur boxers. I, as a 1st kyu, have been responsible for teaching basics to individuals such as these as have two of my friends who just reached shodan. We all spar each other in class and some of these guys can flat kick my butt if they want to. Respect and control are key. "We're all here to learn and we all have to get up and go to work in the morning" is the saying (Kun?). Again Mr. Testa, thank you.

Alan, you are dead right. That is my point about personal bearing. For some reason this individual does not take this approach with me, yet I hold no more authority than my friend T.E. And he waited until I was gone to start his tirade with T.E.

Thanks again everyone, (I still want to kick this guy's behind) Image

ted


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2000 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 538
Location: Charlottesville,VA,USA
As a matter of information on the situation I began this thread with— The responsible individual, at the apparent urging of the Regional VP, has personally apologized to all concerned. He did this with sincerity and humility. It took great fortitude on his part and I have alot of respect for that. I pray this is the resolution, for it is a good one.

Again, thank you to all who responded.
ted


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2000 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 1051
Location: Brockton, MA, USA
Ted:

You are most welcome, and I Thank YOU for your contributions to this forum. Please join in on the other threads.

AND PLEASE call me Len.

------------------
Len Testa


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2000 12:54 am 
I'm glad the situation was defused and everything worked out ok. I was thinking earlier today that shortly before I started working at Grumman Aircraft, a disgruntled employee held it all inside until one night in the parking lot he blew his boss away. Going Postal [sorry Greg], right?

Some people, you think they can take it, but the emotions build inside them like a big painful boil that begs to be burst open to reliece the hurt. There always must be some sort of escape mechanism to let out the pressure in a controlled fashion else there could be trouble big time. "Whatever evil lurks in the hearts..... "


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2000 3:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 12
Ted:

As I read, I had some ideas only to find them better expressed by later posters.

Alas. . . .

However, document, document, document. Document everything this copulation says and to whom. Collect it all. Then leave it aside for when he does it again. Get others berated to document or at least tell you about it.

It is very hard to ignore a volume of complaints like that.

Hopefully it will prove unnecessary.

--J.D.


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2000 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 32
I agree with the good doctor. Having documentation and preparing for the possiblity of this individual being reprimanded for his behavior is a good plan. Be prepared, then attack when the opportunity presents itself.


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 Post subject: The Corporate Bully
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2000 7:07 pm 
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Posts: 32
Not to beat this to death but, I'm dealing with a more subtle but similar issue with a new boss they hired for my dept. She is very confrontational, abrupt, and unempathetic. Examples (and you can let me know if you think I'm off base):

I'm out sick for a day. I come back, still sick but making it, and she says "I still come to work, even when I'm sick." She mentions to another coworker while I was out sick that I was a "wus" for taking off. She describes work I've done as: "This is unacceptable." She never complements on anybody doing a good job and is generally not a nice person to be around. It's not personal, she is this way with everyone.

A perspective I've learned to take from obtaining a Masters degree in counseling is to look at what is causing this individual to act this way. I then combine some martial theory with this and attempt to determine how I can use this informaiton to my benefit. We are all human. We all have hangups and problems and don't always deal with them directly. In these cases, (as probably was the case with the corporate bully) this misdirected repressive emotion comes out in other ways the person may not even be cognizant of. Especially if they have been this way for a long time.

My take on my new boss is that she probably did not have a very empathetic parental role in her life and probably has, as the only source of self-affirmation in her life, her success at her job - which she does very well.

With the corporate bully, since he has apologized, he may have been having a lot of personal issues that he wasn't directly dealing with. Perhaps after something happened with them that forced him to deal with them, he was able to clear his head a little.

In either case, I find it interesting to utilize conversation as a tool to better understand people in these positions to give me insight into their behavior. If I can determine the cause behind the behavior, I can possibly use that to my advantage to help the person gain what they need in another less abtrusive manner (providing a win/win situation - of course only in the most idealistic of circumstances could this happen, though).

End of rambling.


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