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How to Kill a Workplace Vampire

Burning_Vampire_aaronsimmscompany

Good morning John. Good Morning Paul. How was your weekend?”

Oh mine was great. I got a chance to spend some time with the family at a water park. Let me tell you, they had a blast, but I think I probably enjoyed it more than they did”, Paul blurts out obviously still excited about the weekend and just waiting on someone to ask as he sips his coffee.

What about you John?”

“It was way too short”, John says as he smiles. “No it was good. I just sat around the house and relaxed. It was really refreshing. It made me ready to get some stuff done this week.”

“That’s how mine was also…relaxing.”

A man walks in with his shoulders slumped with a look of agitation already on his face and steps between the three people talking to each other and begins to pour himself a cup of sugar with a little coffee sprinkled on top.

“Ralph, how was your weekend?” Paul asked. John immediately exhaled a long sigh, almost exactly predicting how the conversation was about to go downhill.

Ralph begins to complain about his weekend, then having to come back to work to a job he doesn’t like, then how the government can’t get their crap together, then finally how bad the coffee taste.

Ralph is a VAMPIRE!

Vampires suck all the energy out of the room the moment they appear. They always have a reason something won’t work, usually accompanied with a quick anecdote reinforcing their negativity. To them it is futile to even try.  This mentality leaves them with an endless list of unsolvable problems that they are more than willing to share if given any opportunity.

Vampires however, aren’t depressed! On the contrary, they get great enjoyment and pleasure from destroying the positive feelings of those around them.  The only time you will truly see them smile is when they’ve driven everyone else into a sulk.  They wish to bite anyone with positive promise and convert them to joining the evil brood that annihilates a positive atmosphere.

Once bitten, if you don’t hold the anecdote, you yourself can turn into a workplace vamp.

How to kill a vampire:

Traditional vampires shrivel and die when exposed to sunlight. Workplace vamps react similarly when exposed to reason and reality.  Here are some practical saying you can use as wooden stakes when facing a vampire:

  • “Wow, that’s pretty negative. Anything else terrible we should know about?”
  • “Ralph, I see you’re not a morning person.”
  • “You’re a bright ray of sunshine today aren’t you?”
  • “You know, it’s a bright and beautiful day outside…but in here there’s a dark miserable cloud. I hope it changes soon.”

Make sure you smile after you say this. (See The Art of Smiling and Scolding). Then move on as if the negative comment wasn’t made. As long as you refuse to get caught up in the negative vapor they are releasing, they will get frustrated and move on to suck the energy from somewhere else.

If implemented correctly they will move on but may throw one last dagger they sound something like this: “I’m not being negative, I’m just being real. Some people don’t like reality.”

Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to respond to their departing hail-mary but if you do, I suggest telling them that is THEIR REALTY, not yours!

 

DISCLAIMER: I’M NOT NOW NOR WOULD I EVER ACTUALLY SUGGEST ANYONE BE KILLED LITERALLY!!

 

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I will be the master of my emotions!

Today I will be master of my emotions.

Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts. Each day when I awaken, I will follow this plan of battle before I am captured by the forces of sadness, self-pity, and failure-

If I feel depressed I will sing

If I feel sad I will laugh

If I feel ill I will double my labor

If I feel fear I will plunge ahead

If I feel inferior I will wear new garments

If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice

If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come

If I feel incompetent I will remember past success

If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals

Today I will the master of my emotions

-Og Mandino

 

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Stories Get Your Point Across

cross leafI’m an amateur on the bible but I came across an interesting section in 2 Samuel that teaches how to make a lasting impact and truly influence others.
King David was a powerful king. He had conquered many cities and won the heart of his people. He even slayed a fully armed giant with only a strap of leather, a stone, and the giant’s own sword. He was a man after God’s own heart and God granted him favor in all he touched.
However, David was still human and like humans often do, he strayed off the straight and narrow pathway looking to fulfill his own desires. He lusted after another man’s wife. So much so that he ordered him to fight on the front lines in the upcoming battle where he would surely be killed, and killed he was.
Soon after David married the woman and no one dare spoke a word to him about his actions, after all he had just ordered a man to death. Who would dare confront the king or stand in the way of what he wanted?
Then there’s Nathan. Nathan was a prophet who had a message for the great and powerful king, a story more or less. The story goes like this:

“There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”
David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!”

Stories have a way of cracking that hard defensive shell. They get people to open up to hear the real message. If Nathan would have just came in telling David how wrong he was waving his finger, he would have been thrown out on his ear and King David would have continued on his path.
As a leader, if you want your message to truly resonate, attach a story to it that reinforces your point. People of REAL influence are the ones who can tell the best stories!

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in To be a Strong LEADER

 

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The Three Types of Incentives

Incentive

When you think of how people internally operate, you might think that it’s a vast and complex system of variables and obscure inherited traits that each person has genetically encoded. You might be inclined to think that each person is motivated by something different. You may even think that YOU are motivated by something different.

Well believe it or not; all incentives can be grouped into only three categories:

Economic Incentives – Sales are down. So a money reward is put in place. Anyone who increases their sales gets and extra $500 added to their paycheck.

Social Incentives – This is a simple caparison of one person to everyone else. It can compare activity and accomplishments. The best social incentives offer recognition for great work. The second best is to recognize the lowest performer. Although very painful, it is a rather effective form of negative reinforcement.

Moral Incentives- A moral incentive is one that touches your heart strings. You want to do the moral incentives because you know overall; it’s the right thing to do. “Green” and “environmentally safe” products have been on the rise in the last few years.  Why, because people feel a moral obligation to do what’s right for others. Moral incentives are directed to the good of the whole. You may remember lines like, “Your team needs you!” or “The team’s success is more important that your success.” Moral incentives can even keep a company from making layoffs by increasing performance.  Kennedy said it best, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

When thinking about incentives remember THERE IS A TRICK.

No one responds to just one type of incentive for very long. For long term sustainability, there must be at least two incentives working hand in hand.

Let me try to illustrate. Let’s say you put on a contest with an economic incentive. The first month the contest is a big hit. Numbers across the board are up. You tell yourself, “If it worked one time, it will work again.” So you put the contest on again. The results are okay but not like the first month. You do it one more month and results are back to the normal grind, however now the people have a sense of entitlement. They think you are supposed to offer an incentive for doing a good job.

Or look at it this way. You are in the store looking at cleaning products. You notice a new product with a fancy label. It says it’s green and part of its proceeds go to local underprovided schools and cancer research. You are all set to get the product right before you notice your normal brand and it is more than half the price cheaper than the green bottle. So you put your moral compass away and get the normal product.

If you are putting on a contest or trying to lead a group of people daily your job is to recognize these incentives and who responds to each type and who doesn’t. If you’re lucky enough and have enough skill to offer all three types of incentives be ready! Be ready for performance that will knock your socks off.  You don’t have to be great to lead or even the most talented. You just have to know the right type of incentive to use and when.

 
 

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Why People Lie Under Pressure

under-pressure

Have you ever asked someone a legitimate question and been met with a confident answer? You had no reason to doubt their response because their words sounded so rational only to find out later that it was just…….well ….made up.

This person has just outright lied to you and it doesn’t really make logical sense. It would have been better to just say, “I don’t know” or I’m not sure” or “Let me check and get back with you”.  But instead they just made something up.

Why do people lie under pressure? If the consequences of pretending to know can be so damaging, why do people keep doing?

Because in most cases, the cost of saying, “I don’t know” is higher than the cost of being wrong, at least for the individual.

They know that when you discover that they were bluffing and are completely full of it, they can just plead ignorance or shift the blame to someone else (especially a subordinate). But you finding out the truth is a risk they will take because the bluff may never be exposed. People would rather look wrong than ignorant.

 

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How to Tame Jerky Behavior without Having to Say a Word

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It’s morning and the whole department is gathered up talking about the previous day and doing a little small talk about current events. Overall the atmosphere is positive and exciting. Everyone seems to have a smile on their face and in a good mood. Even the manager is happy. Sales are good. Production is good. Life is happy.
Meanwhile…..
Sitting at his desk one particular person is not feeling the vibe of positivity. He is sitting in silence with his elbows on the top of his desk and his chin buried in his knuckles. Looking down at the paperwork sitting in front of him, he takes a couple long deep breaths. The laughter and small talk about last night’s television shows are physically nauseating to him.
When he finally thinks to conversations are about to wind down so he can sulk in peace, his boss comes out of his office and joins in the chatter. He looks over and the manager has just propped against a coworker’s desk, as to settle into the current conversation.
That’s it! He has had it. He stands up abruptly, sending his chair flying into the wall. He grabs the paper he has been staring at for the last ten minutes and marches over to the group on chatter boxes. He demands, “Whose bright idea was it to set these accounts up like this?”
The conversation comes to an immediate halt. Every quickly turns so they can see both the boss and the employee who made the demand but slow enough not to gather any attention to themselves. The manager gives up propping on the desk and stands straight up. With a stone face he just stares straight in the eyes of the irritated man.
There is nothing but silence for what seems like an eternity. He waits and still nothing but silence and a icy glare. The man making demands realizes he has obviously crossed a line. The manager is stoned face. The irate man’s anger leaves and is replaced with worry. The only thing that comes out of his unintentional opened mouth is hot air. The only thing he can hear is his pulse beating what seems like right behind his ear.
Although he doesn’t have to say a word he does. With an stone cold look, the manager simple says, “Try again.”

If you like this lesson, be sure to get a copy of my upcoming eBook.new book cover

 
 

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Coming Soon!

Originally posted on How Leaders Manage:

new book cover 

I’m happy to announce the publishing of my third eBook coming very soon.  When thinking about what I have learned and what I could share with other people, the thing that comes to the very front of my mind is how to deal with people who are …. well…. simply put……Jerks!!!

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