Thursday, January 15, 2009

Great Quotes from Great Leaders

This came from Nightingale-Conant, one of my favorite enewsletters and places to get inspiring information.

Sit back, relax, turn up your speakers, and enjoy about three minutes of inspiring quotes from great leaders of the past.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Take back control of your life

This morning I came across a wonderful website, The site belongs to an organization devoted to resolving bullying in schools and the workplace (Plug: Sign up for their newsletter), and I found one of their articles to make an extremely good point.

Sometimes the best way to deal with a bully is to quit your job. But to most that's not an option, especially in this economy. points out, though, that while your bills are one thing, your mental health and physical state are much more important. While you're thinking, "Can I afford to quit my job and still pay my bills?" what you should be thinking is, "Can I really afford to be this unhappy?"

The fact of the matter is, you don't just shut your feelings of hurt and anxiety off when you leave for the day. They remain with you at all times.

I became a workplace bullying consultant because of my own experiences. I was bullied by another Director-level peer. And... as the HR Director I was fighting for the rights of all of the staff members the bully was bullying. I found myself fighting wars for them in order to ease their own pain, because that's what HR professionals do - take the brunt of the wrath of management if they can.

I left that job not because I quit, necessarily. I left that job because my boss came into my office one day, after about a year of my perpetual tardiness and extremely reduced productivity (normally way out of character for me), to point out that while I was once the highest producer and full of life and ideas, I was not putting in any effort at work anymore. We decided the best option for me was to leave - right then.

So, with my tail between my legs I packed my boxes, and left without warning. Scary... or so you'd think.

When I think back to that day I don't see fear and saddness, I see beautiful rainbows and sunshine. My drive home from work that day, the day I was essentially asked to leave because my tormentor had ripped my self-esteem to shreds, was one of the best days of my life. Over the course of the next few weeks, I could physically feel the monkey climbing down off my back. I could stand up straight again and everything seemed brighter, literally, not metaphorically. My physical state changed - I felt happy and vibrant again. My mental state changed - I could see the world with clarity.

And where there's a will there's a way. I went out and immediately got another job full of life and fun. I loved going to work everyday. I was ultimately laid off, unfortunately, and that's when I decided to start my own consulting firm.

While finding a job immediately may not be so realistic during this time, the economy will change - and you want to be ready when it does.

So start your planning now. Get the ol' resume out and start filling in the gaps. You're lucky because bullies target the smartest people with the most ideas, and the management favorites, so that means you've got a good chance at finding something new.

Keep in mind resumes should contain lots of tangible accomplishments with only a few job tasks that summarize your position. Be sure to keep the resume neat and clean, and use bullet points to make it easier for the resume reviewer to scan. Resumes only get 2-20 seconds of time, so you want to be clear and concise. For more tips on resume writing click on "In the Media" at You'll find some great information there.

Also remember that there is no need to bind yourself to another 9-5er with a paycheck every 2 weeks. We often do, because it's steady and it's easy.

But if you want to leave now many companies are hiring consultants to do a little work here and little work there to cover the stuff that a now-laid off person may have been doing. Start asking around and using your business contacts - you may find there's more demand out there for your skills than you thought.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Stretch your mind

Wayne Dyer, infamous self-development author and speaker, once stated, "What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds."

Think about that for a second. And then think about this: Things are the way we think they are because we think they are that way.

I've been writing a book chapter for a new book coming out in 2009, called Understanding and Addressing Workplace Bullying (keep your eye out for it). As I've been reviewing my what feels like millions of research articles sprawled all over my office, I find myself becoming more and more annoyed.

One article mentioned that researchers hesitate to include targets in the research on workplace bullying because that would mean targets play some part in a bully's antics. Another mentioned that we should be careful to include targets because they are not necessarily part of the equation, and that research should focus on the bullies and organizational factors specifically. I've also noticed most of the websites out there claim that victims are just that. One in particular mentioned that there's nothing wrong with you, victim, but everything is wrong with the bully.

But here's the thing. It takes two to tango. It takes two people to interact. And why do some people go home crying and wailing that they are bullied at work, while others simply go home feeling like their boss is a jerk? The answer is perception, the ability to stand up for yourself, to maintain self-confidence even when something is pushing you down, and to verbally match a bully. Those things mark the difference between a victim and someone who doesn't feel bullied.

I know this might be harsh. But I was once a victim. I can look back on the scenario and blame the bully. I can hate him and what he did to me for the rest of my life.

But I'd rather learn from my experience. What could I have done differently? Why did I let him take my self-confidence? During those arguments in his office what could I have said to change my situation?

The answer is a lot of different things. But the answer is certainly not that it wasn't my fault. I certainly wasn't an innocent bystander. What I felt about my situation determined how it played out. In order to change my life, I needed to stretch my mind, my assertive communication and my ability to stand up for myself.

And moving forward, I intend to do just that. I hope you will join me.