One of my clients recently had an incredible success…I’m going to share it with you (with his permission, and some of the details have been changed to protect privacy!)
My client, let’s call him John, works at a high-profile charitable organization. It’s a very prestigious and somewhat high-pressure place to work, but worth it!
Except…When John starting having issues with a new boss, Bob. Bob was controlling, demanding, irrational, and incompetent. He was verbally and emotionally abusive, especially when he recognized he “didn’t know” what to do or the answer to problems.
Things were going in a very bad direction for John. The direction that has all the indicators of the build up to getting fired. Being required to account for every moment of his time. Being blamed for things that were not his fault but having no opportunity to explain himself. Being sidelined and outcast.
Things were complicated by John’s own self concept. “Maybe Bob is right…Maybe I am slow and not good enough to work at a place like this.” “Maybe I am a bad communicator.” “Maybe it is all my fault.”
Thankfully, logic, and a little coaching, helped John see that it wasn’t all his fault. There was objective evidence that he was performing his duties as he was supposed to. There were objective things that Bob that were doing that reached the level of abuse.
It was still an agonizing decision, though. What could be done about this situation? This was a very prestigious job and John didn’t want to lose it. John came to a crucial decision that was core to his success. He’d rather work somewhere else than put up with this treatment.
Once he accepted that, and all of the ramifications of that, he was fully empowered.
Fully knowing that it may lead to his swift firing, John scheduled a meeting with Bob’s boss. He brought objective written evidence of Bob’s behavior. He made it clear that there needed to be an immediate cessation of the abusive behavior or John would leave the organization. John gave Bob’s superior two weeks to come up with a solution.
(Now, for anyone reading this that is in a similar situation…I know there are many of you. The caveat here is an action like this may very well lead to the end of your time at this job. You must be ok with that as a possible outcome. If that does happen, you’ll most likely soon come to see it was for the best in any case. It is never a good long-term plan to let yourself get abused.)
Back to John. It’s almost like a miracle happened. Bob’s boss spoke to everyone in the department, everyone that was too afraid to speak out, and learned the truth about Bob’s behavior. Everyone confirmed exactly the same experiences that John was having. The truth was known.
The organization immediately started to work with Bob to improve his management skills and make it clear to him what behavior and language will not be tolerated.
Things were immediately better for John. It was made clear to him that he was highly valued, and there certainly were no plans to fire him. John feels secure in his job and he’s even taking on some new projects that he really loves and excels at. And, he is being supported, not sabotaged. John is back to LOVING his job.
John’s boss, Bob, has shown REAL change. He interacts with John, the rest of the department, and his peers, in a fair and professional manner. He seems to be really “getting” how a great manager can be. And, you know what, Bob has even become a happier and more balanced person himself.
The whole department is happier and healthier. All because one person was willing to honor themselves and no longer put up with abuse, no matter what the cost. One person was willing to tell the truth, and let things evolve from there.
Good things always evolve from truth and doing what is right. It may not always go as “smoothly” as it did for John, but it is always the right thing for all concerned. In this case, the great outcome is a perfect reflection of the courage it took for John to speak the truth and be willing to let whatever happened happen.